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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Life, Death and Love

"Thus you shall say to the Israelites, "I am has sent me to you.' "
Exodus 3:14

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Revelation 22:13

In the fresh and turbulent wake of last Friday's terrible events, there is a cry and hue, as well as a rush to "do something."   It seems to always be this way in the aftermath of tragedy and especially human caused tragedy.  Too often our "doing" consist of saturating ourselves in what seems to be an unquenchable thirst for information as consumers of a media frenzy.  Hearing and seeing the same things repeatedly and melodramatically in some way creates an illusionary substitution of knowledge for action.  Once we know all the facts and are satiated with the details, express our horror, disgust, anger, and grief then we are ready to move on.  Another scenario is to immediately identify what caused the tragedy and to go about fixing a problem by closing the barn door after all the cows are already out, and adding to the layers of fear and insecurity to which we have grown so accustomed.  The problem with both of these reactions of "knowing" and "doing" is that neither really does anything but take us through a familiar cycle until the next tragedy de jour.    

Of course, in the midst of lives directly affected by tragedy there is plenty to do as people, with the comfort and support of family, friends and neighbors, put lives back together and slowly begin to imagine how to continue living in a profoundly altered world.  But even our human caring, compassion, and resiliency for suffering are but coping mechanisms, unless there is an awakening of heart, spirit, and soul to our individual and collective fear of death and to the marvelously mysterious, interconnected reality of existence in which we participate.

When we can embrace birth and death, the worst and the best, exile and homecoming, manger and cross, the beginning and the end as all part of Divine experience, then as the poet Hafiz says,

…God has stopped playing child's games
With your mind
And dragged you backstage by
The hair,

Shown to you the only possible

For this bizarre and spectacular

Go running through the streets
Creating divine chaos,

Make everyone and yourself ecstatically mad
For the Friend's beautiful open arms.

Go running through this world
Giving love, giving love,...

When we truly know that Life, Death and Love are inextricably intermingled and interwoven within the wholeness of creation, then we will be prepared to act from compassion that not only heals, but also brings us into new ways of knowing, being, doing and living.

Go here for an excellent discussion/interview on Life, Death and Love.

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