Last night, a friend texted me with the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. She knew that I rarely watch television and wanted to make sure I heard the news. I turned on the television and watched the news waiting for President Obama to make his address. I didn’t know what exactly I was feeling. I felt my heart break again for all those that were suffering the continued absence of their loved ones, for those whose health and well being had been forever changed by the attacks that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have orchestrated. Would this help them heal? Would it bring a sense of justice for them? There was no elation. No joy. For a moment perhaps there was a slight sense of relief that this one man would no longer be able to plot attacks. But there was also a deep knowing that killing this man wouldn’t stop terrorism.
After the President gave his remarks I continued to watch the news and saw crowds of people in front of the White House–some singing the Star Spangled Banner, others chanting “USA, USA, USA!” and still others singing “Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye!” On a visceral level, I recoiled. We hadn’t won a sporting event! Sadness washed over me. The energy felt like it was only going to create more of the same. I remembered the news reports of celebrating on the streets in the Middle East when the Towers came down. They celebrate. We celebrate. How do we as humankind, stop this madness? What can one person do? Is it possible to change this before we end up destroying ourselves? My mind raced. Could I be relieved that the man was gone and yet at the same time not see it as a something to celebrate?
I remembered the deep pain of that day in 2001 which we experienced as a world; the opportunity we had to connect the world in love. We had this moment where there was union in the face of darkness. A decade later it feels like we have another opportunity and I don’t know exactly what to do. Last night I felt no joy, and all I could post on Facebook was that I felt that it was a time to reflect and meditate.
This morning I brought all these feeling to my meditation. I have a routine when I meditate. First I create sacred space with candles and then I sit quietly for a few minutes. I send prayers for friends, family, clients and anyone else I see needing someone to hold light for them. Today I felt like I needed to send light to the world. I held a vision of world where there were more and more people who were extending their energy toward holding love.
After I sent out those intentions, I held my silent meditation for about a half hour (about 15 minutes longer than normal). Then I continued on with my meditation routine. I opened the Workbook for A Course in Miracles. I was at Lesson 193 and throughout Lesson 193 is this phrase, “Forgive and you will see this differently.” I got chills. “Forgive and you will see this differently.”
“Forgive.” I wrote in my journal. I asked for help. I heard in my head the passage from Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” I had never prayed for the terrorists or Osama Bin Laden before. But I did today. I prayed that wherever they had lost their way in the darkness that seems so bleak and evil that light be shined there.
I prayed to have my heart be strong enough to continue the prayer and I prayed that I would find others who were saying a similar prayer. I prayed that I know the darkness in me and bring it to light because believing that I don’t have the propensity to hate is arrogant and self-delusional.
When I was done meditating, as I blew out the candles, I realized how easy it can be to extinguish our light to get caught up in the world view that this time it is okay to not hold love. It is so easy to create a reason why I don’t have to do it today.
I returned to Facebook, and I was so grateful for all my friends and people I don’t even know who were posting similar feelings. I wasn’t the only one questioning what do we do? How do we hold this? One particular quote attributed to Martin Luther King Junior has appeared again and again.
“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the… death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
(I’ve tried to research the quote to see if it is truly a Martin Luther King Jr. quote. I found this: “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars…. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” (Martin Luther King Jr. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community) So whether the top quote is his or not I’m glad it resonates with so many.)
I am certain of this. I do not want to be a part of the darkness. I want to choose to be a part of the light. I’m not saying it is easy. I’m not saying I’ve got it down completely. I’m just saying I’m asking the Divine within me and that highest Source of All Light and Love to help me see things differently. To help us forgive and find a better way.
I needed to record this somewhere. Perhaps to connect with others who share my feelings. Perhaps just to be able to remind myself of this moment of clarity I had today that may be forgotten if I don’t.
I welcome your comments and more importantly I welcome your commitment to be a light and hold love for this world of ours.