Saturday, April 10, 2004

Immersed in Sadness for the World

The rain comes and goes, sometimes thrown in a wild dance of drops through
sunlight, whipping into the earth with a rhythmic gaiety, urging seeds to germinate.

Sometimes, like today, it seems more like the tears of our loving mother
Shekinah/Gaia weeping to heal the wounds of the earth and her children.

....from the Gate of Sadness thanks, Andrew

In our culture, sadness is either a sin or a disease. Once, America
recognized it as an inevitable part of a sincere life: Abraham Lincoln's
melancholy was seen as part of his wisdom. Now, it is seen as Unamerican,
indulgent, almost European. Sorrow is diagnosed as depression, and medicated
with drugs; after all, why else would one be sad, unless one were sick?

In Buddhism, that life is suffering is one of the four noble truths. It is said
to stem not from illness, but from the natural human propensity to want the world
to be other than it is. This propensity is essential to our survival as a species --
without want, no neanderthal would ever hunt or build a home. The Talmud says,
--Without the desirous inclination, nothing would ever be accomplished. Yet it
also ensures our unhappiness, since the world will never conform to our desires.

We can still enjoy life’s pleasures, and must still seek to alleviate suffering
in others, but we can only gain happiness by not attaching ourselves to the desire
that the world be different.

One of the most important desires to let go is the desire not to be sad.
Often, when we feel sad, it is primarily at the fact that we are sad. Everyone else
seems so happy -- and they don't deserve it. Why can't I be? What is wrong with
me? Or, perhaps our sorrow turns to anger: How hateful is the world, that some
people are given love, success, and happiness, while I am not. For many people,
the most important step on a path to equanimity is accepting our sadness.

Acceptance of sadness is not the same as immersion in it. Immersion
comes when we repeat the story of why we are sad; what is lacking; what aspects
of the world should be different. We become enveloped by the sadness, wrapped
up in its stories and resultant despair. Acceptance, though, comes from seeing
that we are sad, and seeing that this, too, is God.


Our band-aid culture must "cure" sadness, or depression, by labeling it as
pathological instead of embracing the truth that our sadness can connect us to--
the Saturnine introspection which goes beyond our power to "fix" . This process has a numbing-down effect, so that we not feel so deeply, and cannot therefore
learn empathy or recognize the depth of connection to humankind, so often

How, I ask, how or when did we get so callous and unfeeling that we just nod and turn the page upon reading that our own country dropped bombs on a
mosque, where people are kneeling in prayer? When did such an atrocity become
commonplace or acceptable? Who makes such a decision? What is a war crime, or
have we gone beyond that concept-- as the article The Third World War is Now by Prince El Hassan Bin Tallal--tells us, the conflict only escalates
to include all the earth's citizens - a World War that has gone on since the first shot
was fired in the First World War is still the same war.

Make no mistake that this is a world war, albeit not like any we have seen before. The conflict is not being fought by regimented armies of men, but by individuals and by small terrorist cells on our streets and in our homes. The human race has now reached such a point that we are arguing the merits of killing a half-blind man in a wheelchair on one side, and the blowing up of 200 innocent Spanish citizens on their way to work on the other.

Significantly, neither action has brought us any closer to ending the conflict. Sheik Yassin's assassination has only served to elevate him to martyrdom, and will undoubtedly incite further violence in his name. We must remember the real danger of such an act, which could change the agenda from Palestinian-Israeli confrontation to that between Arabs, Christians, Muslims and Jews.


I am so deeply ashamed, and sorrowful, and I cannot believe that there is not an outcry from the people of the world. I think they are all over-medicated.

This is wrong. This is wrong.
Are we supposed to whisper the truth?
Speak only with tears?

Is this inappropriate immersion in sadness - that we cannot accept the truth, as terrrible as it is, because it is "all from God"? I am having trouble with that concept.
I cannot help but want the world to be different than it is. I guess I am hung up on
that one.

I punched the face on the editorial page the other morning, reading these words
"...I still believe this is a just war."

I told Robert, it made me so angry. A just war!

Robert said, you're missing the point. He says, It's Just War.
It's Just War. Get it?

I still don't get it.

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