Friday, June 11, 2010

Killing from a Distance

The age of heroes
brave men
Fades with the parchment their stories are told on

Murder is mechanized
In graphic color and surround sound war hums a new song

Only that dot blinking
A heart beat
A soul
A glassy eye can not see the tears
Cannot see the young of years

Sit safe in a bunker
while she cries
While he dies
And another dot on your screen goes out

Another dream ends
a nightmare begins
You play unseeing God with joystick in hand
As you spray the blood and brains of one "could-be" terrorist
You seed the ground to sprout a hundred more

You think you're safe
And for now you are
But we are all less safe for what you do
And who you give your dogged obedience to.

Pavlov is dead
Bite the hand
Put down the game of death
And come home.

War is over.

When you understand you cannot help but love

When you understand you cannot help but love. Thicht Naht Hanh

Sometimes I feel as if I'm walking in a wold of blind, deaf and dumb creatures - my fellow humans. At the same time I also recognize that my true nature is identical to theirs in that I'm also just a walking, talking cadaver temporarily gifted with breath and thought. I'm but a speck of dust that for some mystical reason has this amazing opportunity to experience wonderment, love, fear and anger. Each and every one of us is destined to die. What death is and what happens beyond death, or what happened before our birth, no one can say. It is the uncertainty that drives myth. We build enormous stories that place our existence within a larger context, anchoring us to something permanent. But reality pricks our thoughts, constantly reminding us with each passing moment that nothing of our world is permanent.

Many are born to unfortunate circumstance of place (man-made or nature made devastation), time, or with physical limitations or ailments, or preoccupied parents. Many of us will never grow old and many who do will feel pain and sickness as the body decays, eventually forcing them to abandon the shipwreck of a body. Some may never experience the comfort of a warm and loving home while others will have it in spades. Just as we have no control over the place and time of our birth, we also can not choose the time or place of our death and I wonder if this isn't part of what drives our insanity. We try to control the middle portion of our life, that brief wink between two unknowns. In this desperate attempt to find something solid, something not changing, not decaying, not falling in or out of love, but just there, we have caused much damage to the planet and each other.

Contemplation of the nature of our existence melts away the artificial divisions that separate us from each other. Eventually we will all return to dust and mingle again with the Great Mother. Regardless of our political views, our skin color, gender, sexual identity, our intellect, our wealth or poverty, we will all be equal in the end. The addled addict begging for spare change at the train station is no less than the Donald Trumps of the world, just as the obese, video game playing American boy is no less or more than the bone thin, starving babes of Africa. The rapist and the victim, the soldier and pacifist, the mothers that kill their children and those that nurture, we will all share the same coffin called Earth. All that ever remains is the whisper of our actions carried in the breath of those that follow. Did we make a child smile? Have we opened our hearts to those who suffer to ease their pain without questioning the cause. Did you plant seeds of love as you stepped through life, or did you cling too tightly to a false belief of security and permanence?

When the Buddha achieved enlightenment he smiled. Boy, howdy, are we lucky he smiled. That when you understand all there is to understand about the reality of this existence, there is joy, there is love. There can be no more or less. Maybe this is the truest test of knowledge and understanding.