Shadows Play Upon a Death
I understand the jubilation of the soldiers in the death of Osama Bin Laden, yes, I do understand. The warriors were given a task and a mission and now another assignment has been accomplished, I understand that sense of victory and the want to experience it out loud with clanging gongs. And just as certainly as a suicide bomber detonates, I knew this “leader” would not be taken alive. I can reconcile my feelings, but I cannot dance and rejoice in the wild passions of glory.
I am extremely happy that the people who took care of this tragic person and did not bomb the whole neighborhood around the area and use such bullying aggressive tactics.
I do not condone the behaviors and actions taken by this person or of others throughout history. The evil residue of their horrific treatment of their “others” permeates my cells and interferes with my loving spirit.
I am called to love my enemies and to live my life with kindness, I am called to work for justice and so I take a deep breath and work to find forgiveness and be forgiving.
I am begging the question again and again of what was the message that motivated this assault? Why is it so important for these despotic individuals to hang on to the past as the answer to the future? What part did I willingly play to promote these perceptions? How am I not sharing my values and actions in a way that the “others” might understand? How does one communicate with those who are unable to listen and hear?
I believe that there are canonized holy books in every corner of the earth that have value and wisdom. I do not believe that because they were bound together and offered up for centuries as rules, that there is not a huge body of wisdom and spiritual understanding that is continuously being added to these tomes of ideology.
Jesus said to me, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Pema Chödrön, a Western Buddhist Nun said, “It is fairly common for crisis and pain to connect people with their capacity to love and care about one another. It is also common that this openness and compassion fades rather quickly, and that people then become afraid and far more guarded and closed than they ever were before. The question, then, is not only how to uncover our fundamental tenderness and warmth but also how to abide there with the fragile, often bittersweet vulnerability. How can we relax and open to the uncertainty of it?” (From Taking the Leap)
When I close my eyes in contemplation, I breathe deeply into the pain of what has happened and acknowledge all the suffering that has proceeded this moment; I can hear the screams of pain and agony of each victim. I am stilling myself into this pain. I am not masking it or covering it up or eating it down, down back inside. I know this pain and I feel this pain, and I read this pain in the others I encounter.
I release and let go. It is an exercise in patience and constant endeavor. I will acknowledge that it is a part of me, and I have known pain and suffering, I have not known surrender. Bin Laden resisted he did not learn surrender either. We are the same. We are one.
A list of my new “others” wander into my attention, you know the Wall Street Angry Folks who are making up their own rules, the Rupert Murdock style folks who want to control the media, the elected officials who think they have the “right” and often “controlling” answers for other’s lives…and the list builds on and on until we arrive at our own doorstep covered in the moments when we failed to communicate with loving kindness, when we failed to be most mindful and were thoughtless and cruel. I need to forgive myself and surrender.
I am in process and working at not forgetting. I am not at a point of closure; I will again use Pema Chödrön’s words:
When things fall apart and we can’t get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when the whole thing is just not working and we don’t know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced. This is our chance to come out of our self-protecting bubble and to realize that we are never alone. This is our chance to finally understand that wherever we go, everyone we meet is essentially just like us. Our own suffering, if we turn toward it, can open us to a loving relationship with the world.
We all need to share our stories and thoughts of this event and I hope that people will feel free to share here in the comments section and to share links that were important to your thinking about our actions to come. Thank you, I appreciate all your good wisdom and sharing.
You might think that other’s should encounter what I have put into words here, I would appreciate a Stumble or a Tweet or meeting on Facebook – Please feel free to share, it would be appreciated.