I feel a heavy sense of responsibility as I sit down to write my blog today. In my heart and mind are the countless lives lost in the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the anger that is running rampant in Baltimore. As a student of positivity I can spot and highlight the compassion, love, and kindness present in both situations. It is there if we look for it. However, I would be remiss if I just turned away from the pain and loss that is also present.
Being a student and teacher of the spiritual practice of “looking for the good” does not, and will not, ever release me from the practice of also being fully human. I am reminded that the Master Teacher at the highlight of his ministry also cried, got angry, felt scared, and became frustrated with the human condition. He felt and experienced human pain, his own and that of others. He then, having felt it, transcended it. So on that note, let me follow the example and share excerpts from a talk I shared after the Newtown shooting a few years ago. This is a part of the human/spiritual dialogue I had as I wrestled with that tragedy. I hope it brings a little comfort and peace.
A whale washed up on my shore. Why it’s here, where it came from or what to do with it escapes me.
This painful experience calls me to do something courageous, say something profound or bring healing. Yet I stand paralyzed and numb as a sense of helplessness dominates my every faculty. My mind searches in vain for answers. My heart aches with the emptiness of why?
Where is God here? Why doesn’t God do something? What kind of God would allow this to happen? Aha! Finally, an emotion…..ANGER! So I circle, curiously gawking at the horrendous spectacle of the beached whale and wrestle with the question, why? A great fear overwhelms me. Aha, another emotion, FEAR! Fear that another whale might be right behind this one, making its way to the shore as I stand here doing nothing. Maybe it will fall even closer to my feet and to the sand I play in.
I listen, yet there is only emptiness until I hear the thundering crash of my faith as it washes up on the shore of my doubt. At the bottom of the crash, from the release of my breath and the extinction of my human understanding emerges a stillness that transcends the roar, the anger and the fear. It overcomes me. It is a moment like I have never felt before. It is beyond my human comprehension. In the deafening hush comes a voice so faint, that I must stop straining to listen in order to hear it.
“No more whys. There is no answer in why.”
Love, that’s it? Love?
“Yes, love. Love more deeply. Love more often. Love more readily and easily. Love more consciously. Love more clearly and passionately. Love to the core of who you are and to the core of those around you. Love those who love. Love those who hate. Love those who care and love those who have forgotten how to care. Love those that build up and those that destroy. Love those people and conditions that you understand and love those people and conditions you don’t. Love those who hold pain, those who have released pain, and those who have tried to pass their pain on to others. Love every breath, every heart beat, every blink, every precious moment. Love every tear shed by humanity and mother earth. Love your human reactions and love the actions you will take to share love with those who need it most. Love the whale and love yourself for the strength to love the whale. Love what is, love what has been and love what is to be through your ability to love. Love the healing that comes from forgiveness and compassion.
How can I love this experience? There is pain here? There is loss here?
“Yes, there is pain, but love will overcome it. Yes, there is loss, and love will overcome that as well. There is confusion, anger, fear, and human need for revenge here as well. Love will overcome it all but you must be its creator. You must be the one to give it life, the one to give the gift.”
That’s too hard.
“Yes, it is difficult, I understand. There are easier ways but they will not bring the comfort humanity seeks. Nor will they stop other whales from being caught in the nets that drag them onto the shore. Only love can do that. In your love you shall know heaven. You shall awaken to yourself as a child of the most high and you shall create the same possibility for those on the shore still asking why.”
If I do this will the whale be saved?
“I cannot assure you one way or the other for I am not of that world. I can assure you that the whale is much more than what you see. Love is all I know, love is all any of you truly are, and when you know this, all the strength to overcome will be revealed.”
“Blessed are the meek, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” — Matthew 5