Wednesday, April 12, 2017


12 April 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Metta

One thing I have not mentioned to you in previous correspondence: I have a daily meditation practice. I call myself an “aspiring Buddhist” because I am not quite there yet, with religion. The son of an Anglican vicar, I was brought up in that tradition, but have not embraced it since childhood. In Buddhism, I have found a practice that seems to me more humane than any other religion, and a wisdom that applies broadly to a life well-lived.

I say this, in the first place, in order to let you know that compassion and goodwill for all living beings are a part not only of my belief system but also of the practice of my life. It is the seeming absence of these qualities that most offends me in the policies put forward by Republicans today—whether in health care, social services and education, in immigration, or tax policies that increasingly favor the rich; or in foreign policies that seek to cut funds for the poor, the hungry, the sick and the victims of violence world-wide. You may call me a “bleeding heart liberal,” I suppose, for that is what I am. My heart bleeds for all those who are suffering in this world, and there are far too many of them.

I say it, secondly, to let you know about the practice of “metta,” in which those who meditate, like myself, send out wishes of goodwill and compassion to family and friends and, in ever-widening circles, to all living beings. I am particularly careful to include those whom I dislike and those, like yourself, with whom I disagree. There is too much hatred, too much easy dismissal of the other in this world. It’s my belief that it would be a much better place if we could all share in the joy and blessings of being alive. Despite all our disagreements, then, you personally are included every day—as is the president* I try hard not to despise—in my daily morning practice.

It is Easter time for Christians, Passover for Jews. A good time to send you this message of goodwill and hope. May we all find true compassion in our hearts.


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