In Tibetan Buddhism, bardo is the state of existence between two lives on earth; a moment of inbetween, of transition after death before one’s next birth. But it is not limited to the afterlife. According to Pema Khandro Rinpoche, “it also refers more generally to these moments when gaps appear, interrupting the continuity that we otherwise project onto our lives...bardo refers to that state in which we have lost our old reality and it is no longer available to us.” With the coronavirus halting daily life, the continuous murders of Black people in America, increasing hate crimes against people from Asian diasporas, the silencing of Muslim minorities, the transition of Hong Kong into Chinese jurisdiction, global warming wreaking havoc worldwide and countless other consequential events, there’s no knowing what the future will bring. As we grapple with fear, loss and uncertainty, it’s as if we’re stuck in limbo between the reality we once knew and an unknown future.
But if there is one thing that has become clear, it is the resilience of our community. Editors, contributors and readers — all of us are connected by bonds both visible and invisible. We are a community without borders united by at least one thing: We are all devoted to building a world that does not silence our voice or the voices of other disenfranchised and vulnerable populations. For us, that means opening up space for individuals exploring their spirituality in Nepal, researching past catastrophes like the Hiroshima bombing, shining a light on intimate and explorative art across nations and generations, or sharing the stories of Hong Kong citizens who are fighting for their freedoms.
As Audre Lorde said in her essay “The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action”:
“We all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence... I began to recognize a source of power within myself that comes from the knowledge that while it is most desireable not to be afraid, learning to put fear into perspective gave me great strength... My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other [women] which gave me strength and enabled me to scrutinize the essentials of my living.”
In a way, I believe we are all currently being forced to strip back down to the essentials. To take a look at our lives, at our actions and inactions. To be vulnerable enough to lean on others, and to see that they are there for us to lean on. Right now is our chance to readjust, to learn to accept what we cannot control, but to also strengthen our trust in each other and our devotion to human connection. In this vulnerability, our existence can be illuminated. I feel so blessed to be able to continue creating this series with you.