Updated: Jul 13
For too many life is nothing but sorrow. For others there is a choice about that. I suspect this might strike some as unfair but I don't subscribe to the belief that all of human life is a shit show beyond redemption. I can't. My personal experience won't allow it. On one level we all have the same jib - every last one of us at every age - yet we all have a different agenda to be realized, lived through and die with.
Some of these trajectories seem abhorrently unfair. I'm sharing the image of the little Syrian refugee boy dead on the beach in Turkey that came to me as I am writing this. The image of this horrific event for those of us who witnessed it has been burned into our memory and will stay there for the entirety of our lives as will whatever narrative we assign to it. What of this child's life and the suffering of his family? He was just one of many. How can any of this make sense or be considered fair?
It doesn't make sense and it isn't about finding what is fair. We seek fairness to ease our minds. All of this that we are witnessing is rousting us from our hiding places. Our inhumanity to each other is legion. Few will argue about how filthy evil human beings can be. Seriously, what will it take to make it stop? Some cannot conceive of a world without this aspect of humanity. A picture like this will, if it is seen through the lens of a compassionate and an open heart that can allow it a prompt for us to consider a new way of being in the world. A closed mind will see an affirmation that the world is fucked and there is nothing to be done. Full stop.
All of these perversions that we have witnessed in our time here are to help us understand that not more than one single tear need be shed if we enable a greater compassion to exist in the world. The love can't show up without our holding space for it and we can't hold the space for it if we are holding on to fear and retribution and a belief that it is not possible. If we can stick to the higher ground, this child's death - ALL the horrific examples shown to us - will not be in vain. His little mission would be complete giving us this stark image of ourselves and asking us to commit to our deep desire to be better human beings. We owe him that.
This poem from Hafiz isn't about the flood of travesties that I speak of here. It is about how we only need but one tear - one new empathetic awareness - to recognize how worthy we are in being able to act and alter things. What I'm writing about is my own frustration over how we cannot recognize that...yet. It tripped a wire in me so you're getting the full Monte of how I've exploded in response.
Thank you for listening.. .
Music: Some will watch the images while listening; some will just listen to the music and not look at the atrocities; some will skip it entirely. That's fair; but first imagine having lived many lives and now our world has become so small that we can actually look at the whole of the elephant in the room from cyberspace. What we see is our complicity for the first time. I think it behooves us to do something about changing things with this power that we have to do so. My generation has arrived jettisoned through this breadth of human history landing here to declare: WE.ARE.DONE. Oliver Stone was an infantry soldier in Vietnam and he gifted us this real look at where we have ended up. War and its images in this film clip with its breathtaking music score by Samuel Barber should be the closing credits on where we all have been and what we have acknowledged and learned to grow beyond. We will build a better world upon these ashes. Believe it or not...but the belief that we can do better will bring it into being faster.
The original post in this series of poems by Hafiz can be found here.
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz and translated by Daniel Ladinsky can be purchased here.