A white woman of about the age of 50 came into the store yesterday and talked to a young African American man (technically he’s biracial, in his late 20s) about what’s going on in America today. I did not catch all that was said, just that this normally cheerful young man became visibly shaken and irritable. The woman had good intentions, and was letting him know she’s on his side, blah blah etc. He said that no politicians will fight for the people; the people must fight for themselves. He pointed out how no politicians are doing anything about what’s going on at the Dakota Access Pipeline.
So that happened.
Another customer at work reminded me recently about the law of attraction, that whatever’s in here (he pointed to his head), is what happens out there. Our fears create our reality just as much as positive thoughts can. The wolf you feed is the one who wins. One might hypothesize that if you fear an apocalypse, maybe that’s what created the apocalypse. If you believe something good can come out of tragedy, then you will find something good that came out of that tragedy. Some of us—maybe all of us—have to lose everything to then start over again with a new lease on life. It’s like the St. Francis prayer, which I’d previously taken metaphorically, but now think of in literal terms as well, in light of my mother’s death: “It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.” Another version or translation reads like this: “It is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”
The other night I watched “10 Questions for the Dalai Lama,” a documentary from 2006 in which the Dalai Lama offered a profound answer to a question that really resonated with me. The question was this: How do you react in the face of violence? At what point do you fight back?
The Dalai Lama said that if someone’s hitting you, hit back. But he added that if you kill someone, if you participate in the destruction of someone else, you’re ultimately contributing to the destruction of yourself, because we are all interconnected.
This is what it means to me to surrender. Let go of your tight grasp on the way you think things should be, and let life flow. We have no way of knowing the outcome, so all we can do is focus on being in this moment. My intention for today is to see where I can be of service to others. What that means is being present, offering help where I can, and being kind in the process. I don’t need to be phony in my cheerfulness, nor do I allow others to walk all over me. At the same time, I do not have to retaliate with aggressive or vengeful words, thoughts, or actions. I can focus on being present in the moment, and not lost in thought of how someone else wronged me or how I will take revenge in the future. Those kinds of thoughts only serve to keep us imprisoned.