‘We Are Stardust.”

I mentioned last week that I had signed up for an 18-day virtual meditation retreat that started on Election Day.

It was the smartest thing I’ve done all year.

I was a little stressed as I watched returns on Election Day itself; I remember 2016 all too well. But on Wednesday, when it started to become obvious that the Biden-Harris team was going to win, I got calm.

And I’ve stayed that way.

It’s not that I’m sanguine about all the challenges ahead. I already sent money to Fair Fight Action for the Georgia Senate runoffs.

I’m worried about a lot of things. The Republicans seem to have become a cult. The moderate Democrats seem to be under the illusion that we can just go back to “normal” even though it’s obvious that ship has sailed.

And while our local races here in Oakland went well — we’re going to have a more progressive city council this time around — that just means that we’ve got a better chance of getting our voices heard. It doesn’t mean we don’t have to work to get something meaningful done.

I’m concerned about a lot of things, but I’m not freaking out. And that is truly wonderful.

Meditation starts me off each day in a good frame of mind, despite the fact that I’m getting up way too early to attend the virtual retreat. (I plan to keep meditating when the retreat ends, but I am going to do it later in the morning. 5:30 am is too early for me.)

One of the ways I’m holding onto that good frame of mind is to avoid the people panicking on social media and the many news articles about all the horrors that are facing us. I read carefully and skip a lot of commentary.

I’m even pretty calm about the pandemic right now, though I am reading all that news carefully and am very worried about the rising numbers. In fact, I wrote my county supervisor this morning to encourage him to keep Alameda County closed as much as they can. We have better numbers than most, but that is not good enough.

Paying attention is very important, but panic isn’t useful. Keeping my center helps with that.

This retreat is focused on a form of meditation called the Union of Three Hearts, with the idea of uniting Heaven, Earth, and ourselves. It’s part of Sheng Zhen Qigong. https://shengzhen.org/

When I think of Heaven, I think of the Milky Way. When Master Li Junfeng talks of Earth, he often mentions the natural world.

Today, as I was sitting, I remembered a couple of lines from a great Joni Mitchell song:

 We are stardust. We are golden.
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Here’s a video of Joni singing it in 1970.


Seems appropriate for both meditation and the election.

2 thoughts on “‘We Are Stardust.”

  1. TIL that Joni Mitchell wrote “Woodstock.” I had never heard her sing it. I assumed that CSN created it. Thank you for enlightening me.

    “Billion year old carbon” is probably my very favorite line in the song, though I have many favorites (I have been musing about our use of the concept of “favorite” lately – but that’s for another post). I also love “we have got to get ourselves back to the garden.” To me, that means we have to get back in touch with nature.

    Earth is not our plaything. It’s our home, and it’s alive, and we are as fleas upon its skin. If we’re not careful, Earth will scratch and that will be the end of us. Earth will go on.

    Glad that you’re meditating, and that it’s bringing you balance. I’ve been increasing my own meditation practice lately.

    1. I’m not sure whether I heard her or CSN sing it first, but I always knew she wrote it even though she wasn’t at Woodstock in person. Glad to share that knowledge.

      I love how the song brings together heaven and earth, which is the same thing the meditation is doing. We do need to get back in touch with nature. Lately I’ve been thinking about that a lot from the perspective of the Indigenous Californians and how they managed this landscape for so long and how we should manage it again under their guidance.

      This retreat is deepening my meditation practice. It’s changing things for me.

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