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I used to think if I sat on my meditation cushion, did some yoga, and generally paid attention, I was doing my part. That still feels important. But now, for me anyway, it also feels like it’s not enough.

The ancient texts say we should practice as if our hair is on fire or there’s a snake in our lap. And I guess that’s what feels important for me these days: to remember my hair is on fire – or at least the planet is on fire, and that there really is a snake in my lap – the snake of hatred and separateness.

It’s got me interested in the Eightfold Path of mindfulness from a new, maybe bigger, maybe more urgent perspective. It’s got me asking what it could look like to walk that Path like a firefighter doing what I can to quench the flames, or like some kind of fearless human (which I’m not!), willing to tame the snake or, if that’s not possible, cut off its head.

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