Sometimes I wish humanity was wiser… and sometimes we are. Sometimes we are able to step through our blind emotions and into deeper healing, such as the Truth and Reconciliation process that the great Nelson Mandela used to help the world see that the husbanding of rage was not the answer to the healing of the deep wounds of apartheid, violence, and oppression. Sometimes, however, that wisdom seems quite distant.
This morning I found myself feeling anger over the triumphalism and sense of entitlement that allows a certain group of people to insist that a mosque not be built in New York City, in the neighborhood of the fallen World Trade Center. Not on the site itself, but two blocks away. I found myself feeling anger over the racism that underpins this – that erupts in cases such as the surrounding of two Coptic Christians at the protest, who were assumed to be Muslim and told to ‘go home!’
So I went upstairs to meditate. I watched the fog blanketing the hills, and saw a little boy playing with a dog. Settling in, I called up Kether. Immediately the words came, “It does not matter.” In the light of pure connection, all of the anger went away and the insight that opened beneath it was this: “These people are hurt and frightened.” And so were the people who flew the airplanes into the Twin Towers. We are hurt. We are frightened. We see a world we do not agree with nor understand. We lash out. We seek to take control, not realizing that until we take control inside, control outside is ever out of reach and simply manifests in use of force.
And the cycles continue.
So, still breathing with the fog from off the San Francisco Bay, I hold the world in my heart today. Let us be angry. Sometimes anger is the goad to realization and to justice. Let us feel fear. Sometimes fear points to deeper understanding. Let us also try, however, to not get caught up in self-righteousness and entitlement. These are the things that separate us, from ourselves and from each other, sometimes for generations. These are the things that begin martyrdom, pogroms, and crusades, and the lesser jihad of suicide terrorism. Let us battle the forces within, rather than seeking to always place them outside of ourselves. Let us take this moment now to look in the mirror and see what is reflected there.
In New York City, right now, even the idea of the mosque holds up a mirror to our culture. The reflection is neither pretty nor comfortable. We all need to look into that mirror, and see what emotions are present in the eyes that gaze back. Until we look upon ourselves, we cannot clearly see another.
There is danger in the world. But the largest danger comes from our own hearts and minds.