I was privileged today to have a conversation on the airplane with a stunning man who was making a connection on a flight home after having visited Africa for the first time.
This man, for the first time in a long time, was finding that he was finally allowing himself to really feel the pain we are experiencing as human beings on this planet… (pains that in my mind can either be experienced as growing pains or the beginning of the end of us on this planet death pains). He was asking himself (and me cornered in the airplane galley!) what he alone, as a solitary man, could do about changing or fixing any of what is happening on our planet.
One of the things we talked about (…he was asking himself and me some of the hard questions) is what do we do as individuals when the government of his nation (my nation too, btw) votes to spend US$2.38 billion (that is illions with a B) on unmanned drones ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Atomics_MQ-1_Predator ) every year, while things like this are still happening to OUR human sisters and brothers on OUR planet:
He was returning home to his beautiful house in a beautiful suburb in what is a beautiful America. It is a beautiful life he has (and I told him this… it is ok to have such a rich, good life and it is ok that he has this life. The question is just what are you going to do with that life…watch more basketball and American Idol? -not that doing that from time to time is “bad”). However, he was grappling with how to go back into that life and to keep living now the way he was living, after he has seen what he has seen in the larger world and having experienced what he has experienced in Africa.
I was so humbled and privileged to hold the space for this man to begin communicating about what was happening in his mind and heart… something I find that is happening in the minds and hearts of many people I get to meet as I am out and about moving around this planet.
I am so grateful that I come from a family and spiritual heritage that provided a place to start to answer the questions that he was beginning to ask. In response to his questions I did have a few things to say in return… in the tradition I was blessed to be born into, it speaks of all human beings being able to access a peace that can be reached in the midst of wars and rumors of wars (John 14:27). It teaches of how being still can give a way to know “God” (Psalm 46:10)…(to my non-religious, non-Christian readers …please feel free to substitute the “G” word for the one that speaks to you, your traditions, your comfort zone).
Within EACH AND EVERY human heart there is a teaching place that once accessed, gives REAL answers and ways of being, living and doing in the world that uplifts and helps as one still witnesses pain and tragedy in our world without the paralysis that can come with the enormity of problems we face (my tradition would call this the light of Christ …for more on that see the post of 01/26/2013 with information from the PHYSICIST Peter Russell… does he know that his message is one of a rocking spiritual guru as well? lol https://seeingm.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/last-post-too-woo-woo/ ).
One of the only things we need to do to access the memory of this wisdom, is to first allow ourselves the opportunity to start feeling it. I was so privileged today to witness the feeling, questioning and the resulting awakening of a profound empathy beginning to be re-membered in a fellow human brother flying home.
(and just as an aside, how refreshing to be able to contrast my experience on the plane today with this one from last summer: https://seeingm.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/coca-cola-mixed-nuts-enlightenment/ –EXCELLENT video link in that post that also addresses the answers of the beginning of asking what should I do!).
Allowing ourselves to begin to see the world and to feel what we see with true EMPATHY is one of the first steps to finding the answers we seek to the big questions of what to do that within the enormity of all we all face on this planet.
We humans have the memory of an elephant 🙂 and here upon this planet the kindest, most compassionate and powerful thing I believe we each can do to help is to spread our emotional wings and allow ourselves to feel each others pain. This then begins to put us on the path to empower and enlighten ourselves. As we do this individually, solitarally and alone, it in turn en-lightens us all.
I hope that after our conversation today, this man goes home and continues to love and appreciate his life as he lives it in America …and to do so even more as he also continues to allow himself to feel the pain and challenges here and on the rest of the planet as well. As long as we only allow ourselves to feel and look at the richness and the light, in the darkness we will all remain.
.. all wise flying elephants I think would agree. 🙂
Have the courage to let yourself feel. When you do, what do you then dream of changing in your own life and here on this planet today?