Yesterday was a horrific and brutal day for our fellow humans. It feels necessary and appropriate to face it, mark it, and let it go. For help with tasks like this, I turn to Tibetan school of Buddhism.
This chant is 1400 years old. So much has happened over the course of these 1400 years. So much will happen over the next 1400. The relentlessness of time edges meaning and reason aside while putting all weight on the present moment. I wish there were a way to live multiple present moments, each with its own emotional resonance, to help us process the enormity of events like the ones that happened in Gaza, Ukraine, Tripoli, and Kabul.
But there isn’t. The fact that there isn’t, the fact that there isn’t an easier way to deal with blinding tragedy, tells us something. We are not built to withstand such pain. We aren’t cliffs that remain upright against the pounding of the sea, day after day, for millennia. We’re built to experience and then to be changed by that experience. We collapse. We crumble. We go under, sucked out by the rip-tide, and wash up somewhere else. We are built for constant, painful evolution in this one version of the present moment we are given. And the central part of evolution is that, in changing, we let go of what made us change.
My heart breaks for the families of those killed on flight MH17, for trapped non-combatants in Gaza, Israel, Tripoli, and Kabul. There is nothing I can say.
Gate gate, pāragate, pārasaṃgate, bodhi swāhā
Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all hail!