Germany is mourning as they have lost a hero and a role model. Thousands of Germans paid tribute Sunday to a young woman who was beaten to death trying to stop a group of men harassing two teenage girls in a McDonald’s restroom. There is a Jewish saying: “Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe”. In the Buddhist tradition we have the Bodissatvah Vows, where the practitioners vows to save all sentient beings and attain enlightenment for the sake of helping others. From that perspective Tugce has lead a very meaningful life and set a beautiful example.
Today I turned 43. Although quite a number from my perspective everything still feels very much the same. And at the same time I feel confused. Last night I saw CITIZENFOUR. In January 2013, documentary maker Laura Poitras was several years into making a film about surveillance in the post-9/11 era when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four,” who was ready to blow the whistle on the massive covert surveillance programs run by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. His name was Edward Snowden.
Michael Henskens, my Warrior Brother and co-facilitator put together a very nice workout. He has been teaching all the physical classes to accompany the meditation classes that are taught by me. His assignment is to try to integrate the theme of today into the class he gives. What is so beautiful to observe is that we are all growing and it makes us better as a whole. As a group we are growing closer and everybody starts to understand what warriorship is about.
For many years I have seen my initiatives crumble when common sense would predict they would move to the next stage of their development. I used to attribute this discouraging phenomenon to all kinds of things; from bad luck and laziness to economic crisis, poor salesmanship, lack of talent or a combination of all the above. I have also seen it as the Universe testing my courage, perseverance and resilience.
For a plant or stone to be natural is no problem. If you take a look at the flower on the card above you can see it grows on a rocky surface. You could say this is a daring and brave thing to do for a flower. Regardless, she does it without fear of judgment or need for approval. She has no problem being natural. But for us there is some problem, indeed a big problem. To be natural is something which we must work on.
Moments ago the sad but touching news reached me that Thích Nhất Hạnh is passing away. He is still in is body but he is on his way out. This is sad news for us but also beautiful because he is 88 years old, lead a wonderful life and is surrounded by his closest students who he has been training for many years to be completely present with him in this very moment. We don’t have to feel sad for this beautiful Buddha, he is well prepared and ready, but for mankind it will be a great loss.
One of the photos I bought is the one above this post. According to the photographer the couple is still very much in love. The old man was proud to introduce the photographer to his girlfriend. He is in his nineties, his girl is 10 years older than him. I find the picture upsetting, touching and humbling. I hope to find the woman that I can share my life with and that we will never ever get enough of each other.
As an experiment imagine developing your courage, your generosity and your compassion for 30 years. And every day you would share these continuously developing virtues with the people around you. If only 5 people per day (a very, very conservative number) would be exposed to you that would already create 54.750 inspiring and healing moments. Some of them short, some of them longer. Now also imagine what would happen if you would consciously try to positively influence others more effectively, perhaps with the use of technology or otherwise.
Being a warrior means identifying your learning edge, accepting it, taking a deep breath and boldly stepping into the unknown terrain with nothing else to hold onto than a vague sense that this is the right thing to do. Your inner coward will come up with excuses, justifications, reasons and alternatives to not have to go there. This way he functions as an excellent guide: he will tell you precisely where you should not go. This is exactly where you should go. Counter-intuitive? Only from the coward’s perspective.
A man who lives through conscience becomes hard. That is a pretty bold statement. In my mind conscience is relating to seeing right from wrong. But as I continue reading I realize Osho is right: in most cases our conscience becomes mixed up with our Judging Mind. Although I also feel that conscience is related to the heart I can see that our conscience can become contaminated by fear and we confuse what is right with what people say is right.