The work of Joanna Macy has flitted in and out of my consciousness many times over the years. I first encountered her in 1982, when she penned a series of guided meditations for Fellowship, the magazine of the ecumenical pacifist group Fellowship of Reconciliation. These appeared as “Taking Heart: Spiritual Exercises for Social Activists,” in the July / August issue, which followed the massive march and rally in New York City for a nuclear freeze (I was there).
Later, my brother was to give me a copy of her book In the Footsteps of Gandhi: Conversations with Spiritual Social Activists (1997), by Catherine Igram, in which Macy is featured. Still later, he was to describe to me the Buddhist practice of tonglen, which in the Fellowship article Macy called “breathing through.”
Lastly I was to meet her again in an episode of “Krista Tippet on Being” a podcast to which I listen just about every week now. In this interview the two talk much about environmental spirituality, but also a lot about the poems of Rilke, which Macy has translated. I especially love “Widening Circles” which Macy recites so beautifully during the interview.
It is with great pleasure that I reblog this post from The Jizo Chronicles, a blog of Engaged Buddhism, or “bodhisattvas in the trenches.” While Buddhism is not my path, I have great affinity and respect for Buddhists. I have learned much from them, and I suspect, have much more yet to learn.