Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BU Students beaten and maced in DC this weekend... and the 10,000 masks of Shiva

Out beyond ideas
of Wrong-doing and Right-doing,
There is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, and even the phrase 'each other'
Doesn't make any sense.

-- Rumi, c. 532 A.D.

There was a contingent of Binghamton University students
who suffered brutalization by police
at the World Bank/IMF protest
in Washington DC this weekend,
including beatings, macing, and pepper spray
directed into the face and eyes.

There are many videos on Youtube
and on Indymedia sites.

Search for:
April 25 2009 IMF World Bank Police Brutality

They were there because of their sincere belief
that global capitalism is a primary source
of many of the world's biggest problems.

(I happen to agree with this!)

Like the Satyagraha movement led by MK Gandhi,
these brave folks (mostly younger people in their 20s)
are putting their bodies on the line
in order to bring about a better world.

I so admire and have gratitude for
all the courageous young activists
who embark on the dangerous task
of engaging power in acts of resistance.

In an examination of history,
it seems this is a primary --
perhaps sole cause of social change.

If we really want to have a non-violent world,
occasional revolutions
against entrenched power structures
seems to be what is required.

Another way to look at the problem
is from the ancient philosophy of this East:

In attempting to fix the problem from without,
one will expend a great amount of energy.
Yet in the end, one will most likely
walk away from the battlefield
with the sole spoil
of big stinking sack of dukkha (suffering).

The real place of work
for social change
begins with the self.
Specifically, to extinguish it.

Funny story:
If you look at this photo of our local book club, you will see an empty chair in the middle:

The image

I knew my friend Mickey had been sitting there.
I saw Mickey yesterday and mentioned this.

He replied that he was such an advanced yogi, who had
practiced meditation so intensely for many years
in order to extinguish his ego,
he no longer appears in photographs!

According to ancient Indic texts
(Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism),
this notion of a separate, unchanging, and enduring ego or self
is not only false, it is also harmful,
as being a primary source of violence and suffering in the world.

So while it is easy to point the finger
at "that bastard cop"
who maced and beat an innocent girl,
just remember there are three fingers
pointing back at you.

When we name call, and judge or condemn
those who commit acts of violence against us,
when we seek punishment, guilt, or shame in another,
this is actually perpetuating the false notion of
innocent self vs. evil oppressing other
which is really at the heart of the problem.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts, we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you,
As your shadow, unshakable.

"Look how he abused me and hurt me,
How he threw me down and robbed me."
Live with such thoughts and you live in hate.

"Look how he abused me and hurt me,
How he threw me down and robbed me."
Abandon such thoughts, and live in love.

In this world, hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.

-- The Dhammapada (teachings of the Buddha)

So let us all reflect today on this:

Shiva has 10,000 arms, and each hand holds a puppet,
and on each puppet is a mask, and each mask has a face.
This symbolizes that we are all God.

This whole cosmic drama is God!
Unfolding, revealing, becoming, emerging:
Every bit of it!

We are all completely innocent.
Simultaneously: We are all each to blame.

We have each been here before,
and we each have played every role.

Let us today take some time
to sit quietly
and examine for the seeds of violence within us.

What could make me open fire and murder a room full of strangers?
I forgive that part of myself.

Consider each time we have hurt another person.
I am so sorry to all whom I've hurt.
I love and forgive that part of myself.

Consider being a KBR contractor committing atrocities in Iraq.
I forgive that part of myself.

The cop who pepper sprays the college girl:
I forgive that part of myself.

And spend some time with Metta Meditation:

I love myself: may all beings be happy.
I deserve compassion: May all beings be happy.
My friends: May all beings be happy.
People I don't know: May all beings be happy.
People who have hurt me, or hurt my family:
May all beings be happy.
George Bush: May all beings be happy.
The cop who maced and beat the students:
May all beings be happy.

One last thing. If you find yourself involved in a battle
fighting over righteous moral principles,
remember these words by Alan Watts:

``The most awful wars that are waged are the wars waged for moral principles. "You are a lousy communist! You have a philosophy that is destructive to religion and to everything that we love and value and reverence, and therefore we will exterminate you to the last man unless you surrender unconditionally!"

Such wars are ruthless beyond belief. We can blow up whole cities, wipe peoples out because we are not greedy. We are righteous. That is why the goodie-goodies are the thieves of virtue. If you're going to do something evil, do it for a plain, honest, selfish motive. Don't do it in the name of God, because if you do, it turns you into a monster who is no longer human, a sadist, a pure destroyer. So an inflexibly righteous person is not human.`` -- Alan Watts, Man in Nature

This is why non-violence and compassion should be our highest standards.

Bill Huston
Binghamton NY
Phone: 607-321-7846

Email: WilliamAHuston at gmail
Bio: http://binghamtonpmc.org/bio.html
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1133803981
Blog: http://WilliamAHuston.blogspot.com
Myspace: http://myspace.com/MrMouthyMan

1 comment:

theatreparties said...

Thank you ...enjoyed the read thoroughly. The Rumi quote is one of my most favs and will suck me in every time!