One of the ways in which the meditative tradition in Buddhism states its central challenge is in the form of the question “Who am I?” This question can be approached from many different perspectives; here we will consider the related question “To what is my loyalty?”

There is, of course, our own physical self, and, for most of us, our family. There is our nation-state: many of us are deeply disturbed in our moral sensibilities by some of the actions taken by our state, with the feeling “Not in our names!”

But beyond these there are some larger perspectives possible. Each of us is part of the web of life on Earth, part of the species Homo sapiens, and as such part of the ongoing story of human culture. Now that personal survival after death has come to seem very unlikely, these perspectives offer an alternate source of a larger meaning for our lives.

Here on the 21st of the month again, let us remind ourselves and others to keep the “big picture” in mind.

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