DEC 16, 2012
“Fierce compassion is motivated by the awareness of someone’s suffering and it addresses it by looking at the root cause of it. When we come from this place, we understand that we sometimes need to cause discomfort in the service of growth.”
In the Bhagavad-Gita, the sacred book of the Hindus, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, “Plunge into the heat of the battle and keep your heart at the lotus feet of the Lord”. And perhaps when Christ turned over the moneychanger’s tables in the Temple and called them Vipers and Hypocrites he did so from a place of inner calm. I am challenged this week to find this precarious place between outrage and love in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
I have been moved to write allot these past few days. Not enough can be felt and not enough can be said. I am a person who does not watch TV, the news, subscribe to a newspaper, or watch the nightly shooting reports and the death toll around the world. I am aware. I know what is happening. Yet, there are moments I do allow the news to break into my life as in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The night before these Connecticut families dropped their children off at school, having packed little lunches, Avengers book-bags and smooched the cheeks of their sandy haired boy or brown eyed girl who was a part of the fabric of each parents hearts, I could not sleep. I awoke agitated at 2am and feeling what I have come to privately call “a disturbance in the force”. I feel this way with seismic activity a-la John Travolta in Phenomenon. And when there is a natural disaster or impeding catastrophe I am activated. Call it telepathy, or maybe call it precognition it doesn’t matter. It is how I personally know that we ARE all connected…to everything.
That next morning I saw on my Facebook page a post about Adam Lanza and 26 people who were dead because of him. Some part of me knew I wanted and needed to allow this story into me. So, I found the photos of grieving parents, of the 6 year old children with light in their eyes, of the dedicated teachers who died hiding the children in their care. I learned the name and age of each child as the day went on and then read about the 29 year old teacher who hid her class of children in cabinets, only to be shot and killed herself.
This teacher was the age of my oldest daughter, Sasha. At that moment it all became real. I became each parent and each of the tiny children were my children playing in sandboxes. I could see my daughters being dropped off at Toddy Pond School in Northern Maine. This massacre was firmly on my doorstep of my heart.
And then the psychologist in me read several outstanding writings about mental illness and the young boy who did the unthinkable. The unthinkable! And Adam became every other lost boy I know, every other disturbed youth who is buried under the weight of a culture that has purposefully created apathy, self-hatred, taught our young men and women that killing for the country is patriotism and heroic and who have abandoned those who have a label of ‘mental illness’ to the care of our drug culture only to make a profit from another’s despair. It is not Adam Lanza who was insane, it is our entire culture who created him.
This story of Sandy Hook is deeply personal and deeply Universal, igniting a possible awareness that Adam Lanza is a symptom of something much more important. Our culture wants to slap him and his family with a label of mental illness while all the while, decade after decade, hiding from the reality of spiritual illness, heart sickness, soul loss and emptiness that goes hand in hand with a culture that has lost our way entirely. We are not asking the right questions. We are not even looking most of the time until the “unthinkable” moves in next door.
This horrific moment in our shameful history as a culture is a wake up call to stop seeing “the other” as the bad guy. The collective apathy, the military industrial machine and the lack of a social and moral consciousness is the real “bad guy” here. It is not about Adam being “sick” or raised by parents who did not understand him. The death of these children, men and women is a collective issue. A collective responsibility.
Then, I stumbled on one woman’s letter to President Obama. Her voice sliced through the debris of confusion we all feel, to poignantly identify that the children of Sandy Hook, of Palestine or Pakistan are the same children with parents grieving and all faceless to most of us. This one mother rips at the truth that violence is out of control on our planet and points out that much of that violence is created by our governing bodies and then carried out by a thousand young ‘Adam Lanzas’ who have been supplied with a gun by our country who, in the name of freedom, then kill women, children and entire families just like Adam Lanza did.
“Mr. President, where is your “overwhelming grief”, tears, and words for THOSE children whose lives were violently cut short and continue to be cut short in Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, etc., via weapons supplied and paid for with American tax dollars? Do you not feel “overwhelming grief”, or have any tears or words for THOSE children? Is it because THOSE children are not “THESE children”, “our children” aka AMERICAN children? Are THOSE children not worthy of our overwhelming grief, tears, words, or their future?
As a parent, not only do I feel overwhelming grief for those children whose lives were cut short in yesterday’s tragedy, I also feel overwhelming grief, GUILT, and SHAME for every single child whose life has been cut short via the American military–industrial–congressional complex.
Mr. President, every single child … NO MATTER THEIR LOCATION … is our child. So, please spare me your selective, manipulative, hypocritical emotion. Not only is it embarrassing, but the overwhelming grief, guilt, and shame every American should feel for any child’s life that has been cut short is already more than any of us can bear.”
~ Robin Rantamaki
Robin Rantamaki is using a voice that we all could cultivate. A clearly outraged voice rooted in a love and compassion for life that together creates Fierce Compassion. In my worldview this is what the Great Mother is all about. Where is the collective cry of all mothers on this planet who have the power to stop the insanity, the death and destruction and preserve life?
This moment in our history requires that, I for one, develop two things: Courage and a willingness to speak and act with fierce compassion. The ingredient that is essential is personal action. Speaking up and out. Stopping my support of the mass illusion that the American Dream is just that. Refusing to stand behind anything or anyone that strips any person in our world of the right to live. This is being brave in my book. This is how brave I must become willing to be in every action I take.
We are a culture that hides from the truth. We hide in our TV’s, we hide in our houses, we hide at the mall, and we hide in our video games and our inability to speak to our neighbors. Adam Lanza has driven me out of my comfort zone and out into the street. The only place for me to start is with my words. My first action is my willingness to send out this post, then to sink firmly into the center of my heart and create a fiercely loving stance from which to live.
We are all abuzz about the end of the Mayan Calendar on Friday of this week. We hear voices of doom and some immanent cataclysm: Earth Changes, the Collapse of the Economy, the return of Jesus, the disclosure of life on other planets. The cataclysm is here. Right Now! The end of what we know about a civilized life has just been destroyed by the truth behind these killings. The anticipated and hoped for ascension of human kind and the waking up of humanity is here now in how each one of us chooses to ..or not… choose to respond to what is all around us. There is no earthquake that is any bigger than what just happened at Sandy Hook. If we are not shaken to the core then we are asleep.