January 11, 2016

What Elephant is really About. {Editor’s Letter}

“None of [the President’s] actions are aimed at taking weapons away from law-abiding citizens, and none will have that effect. In fact, there has been no bill in real contention in Congress for many years that would reduce the number of guns currently in circulation, or disarm any law-abiding Americans. And yet, as happens every time, the response from the anti-regulation crowd (even before the White House said a word in public about Mr. Obama’s plans) was to deliberately misstate what Mr. Obama was intending. The president said he wanted to increase the number of government agents to process background checks and make the existing system more effective. He also plans to modestly expand the number of dealers who need federal licenses under current law and said he would ask Congress for more money to combat mental illness…” >>><<< Aggression begets aggression. ‪#‎gunviolence‬ ‪#‎guncontrol‬ “For years, about 9 in 10 Americans — and nearly as many households with a National Rifle Association member — have supported universal background checks, and yet the N.R.A. reflexively opposes them.” ‪#‎nytimeseditorial‬ @waylonlewis @potus_official #stopgunviolence #johnoliver @barackobama

A photo posted by Waylon Lewis (@waylonlewis) on

Recently, @elephantjournal got kinda big on Instagram.

And so, of course, we post things and…get into trouble.

Yesterday I (@waylonlewis on Instagram) shared a post about expanded background checks to try—in a ridiculously small way—to bottleneck guns that find their way into the hands of bad people. It’s an incredibly common-sense, moderate measure supported by 90% of Americans (Gallup Poll). None of it would affect law-abiding citizens or take guns away from ‘em.

The post garnered thousands of likes and constructive (positive or critical but thoughtful) comments. It also attracted some hateful comments that involved ALL CAPS and not much listening. That’s to be expected in a needlessly partisan atmosphere encouraged by corporate ratings-driven media and #citizensunited.

The only comments that saddened me were those telling @elephantjournal not to post about politics.

We’ve been around for 13 years. We cover life—“the mindful life.” All of it. We are not escapism. We put the right to marriage on our cover “before it was cool,” before Prop 8—and nearly lost our distribution doing so. We talk about climate change. We talk about addiction and homelessness, inequality and activism, animal rights and abortion. We do so with peace in mind, not self-righteousness. We try to be frank, and maintain our sense of humor about ourselves.

Who is we? We is you: elephantjournal.com/submit

To those who tell us to stick to inspiring Rumi quotes I say: you don’t seem to know what elephant is about. We’re about living a good life that happens to be good for others, and our planet. We’re a big tent: if you want to write in about your love for guns, you’re more than welcome to do so if it’s earnestly and thoughtfully done.

If you are truly patriotic, wherever you live, you know that nonviolent, loving dissent and activism is vital. We are one nation, all of us. We are a world, all together. We must remember to disagree agreeably.

So: I say to you, dear mindful lifers…if you expect elephant to make you happy, we will disappoint you. Life is happy. It’s also heartbreaking. We cover all of it. We are here to speak truth: and sometimes the truth means meaningful dialogue, not sexy yoga poses on the beach.

“I’m gonna lay my sword and shield, down by the riverside…ain’t gonna study war no more.”

Yours in the Vision of Enlightened Society,


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Sarina Feb 13, 2016 7:19am

Keep on doing what you are doing. Elephant, is seriously one of the best web-blogs/web sites around.

Elijah Jan 29, 2016 8:19am

My only problem with this post is that John Oliver actually never said that. He's as baffled by the spread and proliferation of this meme as the rest of us who've followed him since he was on the Daily Show years ago. Take a look at this explanation he gave on his show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx8siugG440

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.