Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearls of Peace

On this day 68 years ago, Japanese fighter planes and bombers attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It struck hard at the emotional core of many people, whose wounds still are with us today. How difficult it must have been for these survivors to come to terms with the "enemy" that killed their own. So great is the pain, surely someone must be to blame for the loss and sorrow in our lives. I don't doubt that people's actions and strategies do result in grievous harm, however, when we diminish our ability to empathize and have compassion for others, we have moved them from having inherent worth and dignity to being the different "other" that deserves what they get, and all that we can give them. The end result is that we pass on to others and to future generations this concept of enemy and people who "deserve" less than we do.

Whenever I diminish the worth of others in my thinking I pause to wonder what needs of mine am I not recognizing that I put the responsibility onto others? What needs unmet have I yet to mourn, or needs met I have yet to celebrate? If I perceive an enemy, a foe, or have a judgment against someone, it is a great opportunity for me to lift up my values, needs, and dreams. In this way I renew my spirit in our common humanity, and in this way can engage in difficult relationships and struggles against oppression and injustice with even a sense of gratitude for my enemies. For they tell me what is mine to hold dear.

I recall a quote from the 1985 movie "Enemy Mine:"

Davidge: "If one receives evil from another, let one not do evil in return. Rather, let him extend love to the enemy, that love might unite them." I've heard all this before... in the human Taalmaan.
Jerry: Of course you have. Truth is truth.

What a pearl of wisdom - enemies are not mine to keep apart and wreck revenge upon, but to grow my love so that we may yet be united.

(From the movie "Enemy Mine")

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