Western Dharma has only recently begun to acknowledge that anger can contain necessary wisdom, that it can be an expression of wholeness and a call to right-action. Does grief have its own unique and powerful awakening potential? Versus a mental-emotional state to be transformed, can we recognize extended grief as an especially persistent teacher?
In this moving presentation, Belvie Rooks shares with us her exploration of the Dharma of immense and intersecting griefs. She draws on Thích Nhất Hạnh’s prediction of a collective Buddha, on her grandmother’s generosity and wisdom, and on the poetry of Alice Walker in this talk on reconciling the irreconcilable.
I’d been on a journey of intersecting griefs. I was grieving the loss of the very hopeful possibilities that Dr. King had faith in.
But for such a time as this that you were born—to take responsibility for the whole.
The very act of planting a tree is an act of commitment to a future. Trees grow.
This teaching is excerpted from No Time to Lose: A Dharma Response to Climate Change, a daylong event hosted in September 2019 by Spirit Rock Insight Meditation Center. Participating teachers included Joanna Macy, Belvie Rooks, Jennifer Berezan, Venerable Anālayo, James Baraz, Thanissara, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, and others. View the video from the entire day here.
Belvie Rooks incorporates meditation and stillness as part of her youth/elder, intergenerational wisdom circles. Co-founder of “Growing a Global Heart” along with her late husband, Poet Dedan Gills, she has engaged in ceremonial tree plantings along the Trans-Atlantic Slave Route in West Africa and the Underground Railroad in the United States and Canada.
Her new book, I Give You the SPRINGTIME of My Blushing Heart: A Poetic Love Song is co-authored with Dedan. SPRINGTIME is a poetic memoir dealing with love, grief, loss, and transcendence. She and Dedan are also featured contributors in The Power of Love: A Transformed Heart Changes the World, edited by Fran Grace PhD. Her essays are included in a number of anthologies including My Soul Is a Witness: African American Women’s Spirituality, Ecological and Social Healing: Multicultural Women’s Voices, and Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, with an introduction by Jane Goodall. She is a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award winner as Senior Editor of Paris Connection: African American Artists in Paris.