Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Blood of Others is Our Own

Arjuna with Krishna leading the chariot in the Bhagavad Gita or "Lord's Song"


Maybe the Mayans were right. The world did come to and end, at least for a handful of folks in Connecticut yesterday after a 20-year old man named Adam Lanza allegedly shot children, staff and his own mother at an elementary school.

The massacre made me think of Joseph Campbell's insight into our archetypal connections. And that train of thought led me to Simone de Beauvoir's WWII novel, The Blood of Others, where no one is truly innocent, in the sense that we all have a communal responsibility to take care of each other; we have that conflict between freedom and community obligation. To disregard an issue is a form of acceptance.

I'm not particularly religious, in fact, I'm raised Catholic and consider myself a Christian, if you will, although I rarely go to church. But I'm going to bring to light the Bhagavad Gita now, a spiritual text that I studied during my yoga teacher training. The poem raises the question of how to wrap our minds around things are just so absolutely evil, immoral and wrong; it addresses a conflict of conscience.

The archetypal meaning of the poem is that within each of us a battle rages between selfish impulses that ignore the claims of justice and mercy and a realization that ultimately we are all connected in a unity that embraces all humanity and the whole world. Arjuna is our ´┐╝conscious mind, which must make the choice of how we will live. The wicked cousins are our impulses to self-centeredness and greed. Krishna is the divine spark within us, our higher Self, which is always available to rein in the horses of our feelings and thoughts and to guide us in the battle of life, if we will only seek that help.*
"If we will only seek that help."

Too bad Adam Lanza didn't.

Too bad he ignored the "claims of justice and mercy."

Let love and compassion grow from the roots of yesterday's massacre at Sandy Hook. It's the only way to move forward. I'm feeling this as painfully as 9/11. We Americans have reached the lowest of the low. Who needs terrorist enemies from the Middle East when we have a senseless killing like this of innocent children and their loving care takers in our own back yard?

The enemy is within. The enemy is our neighbor, our brother.

As unfathomable as this is, remember that horrible things happen to humans every day that are degrading and disrespectful of dignity and life -- sexual slavery, hunger, child and spousal abuse, etc;

Let's just always keep that in mind and act with compassion in every breath we take. Dedicate a moment to an act of kindness, no matter how small, sometime in the next few days to make up for this.  Or maybe just close your eyes and think about the slain children.

No, you didn't pull the trigger, but we are all responsible for the world we live in. What's done is done and this is the least we can do.

The blood of others is also our own.

*(Quote source: Theosophical Society. I am in no way associated with it and I don't follow it, but it's a good Cliff Notes for this post.)

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