conflicted

We know the Way of Jesus: the Truth and Life; we know the Path of the Buddha.  Reality dwells in a space within our bodily temples protected from the clamor of the world.  It does not participate in the illusions of the world.  It merely observes the noise and allows us to function quietly in fullness of spirit.   When challenged by the incessant demands of the noise, our inner self needs only withdraw to the place we know as truth, the place where we will find solace.

And what is that truth?   It is knowing that this life is impermanent; it is knowing that this life is suffering; it is knowing that our suffering is a result of the work of the ego; it is knowing that we can ascend to a place of non-suffering through dying to that ego.  When we can become self-less we can become free.  That is the journey, the Quest.

For a few, enlightenment occurs, but for me, it is a continuing trek through the disappointment, the disillusionment, the sadness, the intolerance, the hatred which defines today’s society.  I’m still a work in progress.  Thankfully, I also know that it is my choice to participate in a conflicted way within the world’s reality or to merely observe and conduct my life according to my conscience.  I will speak as a brother to all humanity, I will think as one who is merely a grain of sand in the sea of humanity, I will uphold the rights of all my brothers and sisters to a life of equality and justice.  The truth which I perceive tells me there is no separation of mankind for we are all one within the greatness, the magnificence, the brilliance of the universal One.

The state of being conflicted is counterproductive to the journey.  Or is it?  When we stand in for a victim of oppression and hatred, when we speak out for those who are being persecuted, when we uphold the laws of our country as prescribed by the Constitution by counter-demonstrating, are we not also subscribing to that which we know to be Truth?

Although I seek quiet and solitude, I cannot be voiceless and uninvolved.  Even when I cannot successfully search my memory banks for sound bytes, video clips, and quotes which support my convictions regarding today’s political turmoil, I have an intelligence and awareness which continues to discern right from wrong.  For that I am grateful else my state of confliction would be without value or purpose.

I wonder if Gandhi was conflicted, or Martin Luther King, Jr., or Jesus, or the Buddha.  Maybe it’s OK.  You think?

smiley 3

John, Bobby, and Martin

“I have been to the mountaintop, I have seen the promised land.”

These three men of wisdom and courage spoke to a disillusioned America torn apart by racism and war.  Fifty years have passed and we cannot help but ask, “Have we learned nothing?”

Many of my generation moved into the hippie movement, dropouts from the hypocritical, violent, racist society we detested.   We cared little about the political process and were happy to get drunk and high living only for the present day.

But, we were damned idealistic.  And that should be no surprise.  Listen to the words of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr. and then try to tell me that our generation was not blessed with leadership greatness which is absolutely lacking in today’s political and social atmosphere.

Friends, the words of John, Bobby, and Martin challenge us to do better.  They encourage us to move forward together fighting racism and bigotry and hatred.  Especially after the events in Charlottesville this past weekend, we have no other choice if we hope to survive as a nation celebrating freedom, justice, and equality for all.

Abraham, Martin, and John

These are times which anger us, confuse us, and sadden us.  It is in these tumultuous days that I must return to the comforts of better days, days when we had heroes to honor and respect, days when a man’s word was trustworthy, days when there was hope for tomorrow’s awakening, days when peaceful co-existence seemed attainable.  My days are shortening and I am sorry that I have not done more to ensure that our children and grandchildren would also have heroes worthy of adoration and respect.  For this I am responsible.

 

dare to dream

“I have a dream today.  I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low.  The rough places shall be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.  This is our hope.  This is the faith that I go back to the South with.  With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.  With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.  With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.  1963

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.  Jan 15, 1929 – Apr 04, 1968 (age 39)  en.wikipedia.org

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

IMAGINE 1971

JOHN LENNON Oct 09, 1940 – Dec 08, 1980 (age 40)

The following scene from WEST SIDE STORY also shares a dream.  Young lovers from different cultures fight the racism of their neighborhoods to pursue a life together.  Tony and Maria plan to escape the hatred of gang violence surrounding them; however, in the final scenes Tony is shot and dies in Maria’s arms.  She picks up the gun and screams, “Now, I can kill too because now I have hate.”  But, she cannot hate nor kill.

Martin Luther King, Jr., the preacher, John Lennon, the songwriter, and Tony, the gang member all shared the same dream to live peacefully in a violent, hate-filled society. They realized that dream prematurely through untimely deaths.