The waves and currents at Venice Beach are wild today. The ocean is gleaming in the bright sunlight while the wind whips the water into whitecaps out to the horizon. After getting tossed around on the boogie board, my mouth feels full of sand.
Like you, I’ve felt shaken in other ways this week. Sunday when Jack and I were teaching at the morning sitting group, I only knew about the El Paso massacre, not the Dayton tragedy that followed. Did you know there have already been 251 mass shootings in 2019? All week I’ve been at a loss for words. When I contemplate the reality of family members just like ours tragically lost to terrifying, sordid violence, my heart is immensely sad. Grieving with the families who have lost their loved ones, there are other feelings, too – unpleasant, gritty, like sand in your teeth.
All of us are less than we could be without mass shootings. I don’t want us to get inured to this home-grown terrorism, becoming more numb, less humane – less conscious, caring humans. Like it or not, we are sisters and brothers in this nation, each of us worthy of respect and reverence. We all share the wish to live and be happy. Mirabai Bush gave me a tank top that reads: “All things are delicately interconnected.” Yes, in a tender matrix of interdependence – family, friendships, neighborhood, nation. How can we unite in rejecting racist violence and find ways to respond to overwhelm and devastation wisely?
The Buddha was very clear: “All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.”…”One is not called noble who harms living beings. By not harming living beings one is called noble.” And he called on us to go further, to cultivate love and understanding, saying: “Radiate boundless love towards the entire world – above, below, and across – unhindered, without ill will, without enmity.”