Sometimes when I consider the Truth of Oneness I find my mind wants to argue with what I know to be factual. When I am centered and my mind is not hijacking my reality, I have no questions. In fact, I know that I am my children, my spouse, my mother, siblings, neighbors, and on and on. But when something happens, like the killing in Orlando, my understanding of the way things are is severely challenged. It is easy for me to recognize my oneness when I can make sense of whatever I am relating to, but when I find it impossible to wrap my mind around some demonstration of hatred or some violent act, which exceeds my capacity for empathy, my entire model, the Truth I seldom question, begins to crumble.
I think we all suffer from this breakdown, in varying degrees, when we encounter individuals whose actions extend beyond the boundaries of what we consider reasonable. I was thinking of writing on this topic after I stopped grieving the tragic killing in Orlando, but I really couldn’t think of much to say. Then my daughter asked to borrow a book and I had to dig it out of a box, which, of course, helped me look at several other books, stored in the same container. I took two of them, out of the box, in addition to the one I was seeking for Caitlin and then, last night, I revisited one of these books, entitled: Earth Prayers: From around the world, compiled by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon and this morning I reread The following prayer/poetry by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Bear with me, as this is a little long, but in reading it, I immediately realized that this spiritual master, probably, does not question whether or not he is ONE with everyone and everything. I imagine that he is capable of dwelling in Truth, even if he does not agree with another’s actions or politics.
Enjoy Thich Nhat Hanh’s thoughtful reflections:
Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
Because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing in the
surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes,
arrives in time to eat the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily in the
clear water of a pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who,
approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly
weapons to Uganda.
I am the 12-year-old girl, refugee
on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after
being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with
plenty of power in my hand,
and I am the man who has to pay his
“debt of blood” to my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like spring, so warm it makes
flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it
fills up the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
So I can hear all my cries and my laughs,
So I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names;
So I can wake up,
And so the door of my heart can be left open,
The door of compassion.
I have reread this a dozen times and with each reading I find myself forgiving the shooter in Orlando and forgiving myself for judging him. It is the Great I AM.
I AM the frightened, angry young man
who opens fire on similar young men
rather than finding the capacity, within,
to allow each the freedom
to be themselves.
I AM the young lady, two weeks out of High School
who was gunned down
for choosing to celebrate
with her brother.
I AM the dozens of young men
pursuing life’s longing for companionship,
for relationships, new and old
with the dream of finding lasting LOVE
I AM the grieving parents, siblings, and extended families
of those who made their transitions
too unimaginably senseless
I AM the first responders
the police officers, the firefighters,
the paramedics, the EMT’s
the Emergency Room Techs, Nurses, Doctors
and the coroners, the morticians, the funeral directors.
each of whom surrendered their ability to sleep in peace
so they could serve all of us;
and the perpetrators
I AM the politicians
those who see opportunity in tragedy
and those who struggle to find just the
right words to convey their compassion.
I AM the reporters
those who tell stories and re-tell facts
those who keep the world informed
mostly through observations
with or without their own spin.
I AM the thoughtful citizen
grieving for those wounded families
thankful for the caretakers
angry with the politicians
at least at the opportunists.
recommitted to calling our family members
because we never know which day
may be their last. . . or ours,
and we want them to always know
how much they are loved.
I AM the lover, burdened with too much empathy
wounded by the pain of strangers
beyond what should be reasonable.
I AM the hater
rejoicing in my God’s punishment
of what is clearly an aberration,
provided I believe in a God at all.
I AM the civil servant
calling for gun controls
perhaps in frustration
perhaps believing this
is really a solution.
I AM the gun enthusiast
convinced that only fools
would advocate gun controls
since guns are not the problem,
clearly, people are the problem
Finally, I AM the Soul committed to Silence
I realize that alone, I have no answers
not possessing the mind which
can really comprehend the questions.
But, I have discovered, that in the quiet
there is no judgment, therefore:
there is nothing to forgive
there is no blame to assign
there are no questions
nor are there any answers.
Well, save one:
LOVE is always the answer
even when the question is unknown.
or not understood.
LOVE is the ONE
everything else is appearance
smoke and mirrors
Love is all that is REAL. I AM LOVE. Everything is LOVE Expressing as ________, whatever one sees, feels, hears.
If Silence could talk, this is what it would say:
I AM LOVE
I AM all there is
Everything is an expression of I AM
That is MY Whole Message,
Live your life from this TRUTH.
And So It IS.
What does it mean to live my life from the Truth that LOVE is ALL There IS?
It means, to me, that I am only living in integrity with the Truth when I Love. Everything that happens, is only Love expressing as that which is occurring. The rational, egoic-mind cannot fathom this as Truth. It wants to judge, what it sees as senseless, as bad, as evil incarnate. It insists on labelling whatever it likes or appreciates as good, as an obvious demonstration of love.
As I have said many times, the human, egoic-mind is not a bad thing. It’s function is to keep us safe, to help us survive in a world it sees as hostile, and, typically, it does a very good job at executing its purpose. But the mind was never designed to be our master. It was never created to define the world for us. We are not our minds. We are not our thoughts. Some of us find this hard to understand.
So how to deal with apparent hatred, violence, death and destruction?
Know this: LOVE is the only thing that is REAL.
As Thich Nhat Hanh said in his beautiful poem, the rapist’s heart was simply “not yet capable of seeing and loving.” This is true of anyone who would hurt another. No one with a mature sense of awareness could ever hurt another, because they know in their heart of hearts that you cannot do anything to another, which you are not doing to yourself. Therefore, the only thing we can ever do to decrease violence is to increase the Love that flows in and through us.
Passing legislation that bans firearms will only create a greater need for more prison space. The people who feel a need to harm others, or to make political statements through the use of violence, will always find ways to achieve their objectives.
Putting more firepower in geographical areas where we believe terrorists recruit and train will only produce more hatred and ultimately more violence. As I predicted over twenty years ago, every time we kill someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, neighbor, or friend because of collateral damage when drone strikes or bombs fall in areas where innocent people are killed, we transform peaceful people into individuals who hate Americans and its allies. Think about our display of nationalism and the rally cries to hunt and kill the terrorists after the twin towers fell.
Common sense dictates that people in other parts of the world feel just as outraged, just as wounded, just as angry when American weapons and troops kill their family members, just because they live in a country where radical factions live and hide.
Jesus taught us to Love our enemies.
This is the only way to open our hearts to seeing that we are all ONE, and it is the only way of changing and helping open the hearts of others. As Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye will only result in both people being blind.” Meeting violence with violence, no matter what the ego says, will only result in a prolonged, proliferation of violence.
Critics of this philosophy point out that if we had not mobilized and used force to stop Hitler, the world we live in today would be dramatically different; but the truth is no one knows what the world would look like if we had spend an equal amount of force loving the broken, narcissistic leader. History has shown us, repeatedly, how empires have imploded when they were overwhelmingly dominant but also consumed by greed, lust, and excesses. We don’t have any way of knowing what would have happened if we had made different choices. Any possible scenarios are pure conjecture.
I will close by repeating LOVE is the Only POWER. Hatred is not a power, it is merely a rejection of Truth. Very few humans, throughout history, have fully discovered this Truth. Those who have could never hurt another, not even for the purpose of self preservation. Just as we are not our minds, we are also not our bodies and we are certainly not our things. There is literally nothing to defend. We are Eternal: not our flesh, of course, but the Truth of Who and What we are. That which brings LIFE into the form, has never been born and can never die. When we really understand this and recognize that everything we see is also this LIFE ENERGY, all sense of separation fades away.
When we truly know Who and What we are, we find LOVE to be the only rational choice. We naturally Love our friends and our enemies, even those who the ego insists are unlovable. This is the only way we will ever heal the planet. No amount of military intervention or legislative action will stop the violence, the incidence of which is steadily increasing. Only Love will save us.
Unfortunately, most of us do not understand this. Even many of the readers of this blog fail to comprehend this as factual. So, we are in for a continuation of the increase of violence, we have been seeing in the United States and in all other parts of the world. It saddens me but Truth is not a message that is easily accepted.
I would love to be proven wrong.
I will hold the planet and each person in LOVE, and will work on myself every day until I cannot find a trace of bitterness or resentment in my heart. Where I find darkness I shall allow LIGHT to flow, unencumbered. I will continue until there is nothing left to heal in my heart or on the planet.