"If the heart begins to open, so does our life. If the heart begins to open, our sense of trust in ourselves begins to grow." ~ Pema Chödrön
I read a most tragic story yesterday evening. A young man was attacked and killed by a group of teenagers while walking at night to his home. And though, this tragedy of violence holds true a desperate sadness all to its own...these is yet another story, much sadder still.
For you see, when the boys responsible for this young man's death were questioned of their motives, they each answered, so very coldly,
"Because, we were bored."
So, what is the greater of tragedies here? That of this young man's most senseless death, or...that of the loss of these other men's souls?
"Because, we were bored..." oh, my dears, how those words haunted me late yesterday evening, and as I thought of the horrific circumstances leading up to this news story.
The headlines only tell the part of the story that 'sells' ~ sadly, the rest of those words go unreported. For example, we never hear of a 5-year-old boy being beaten each day by his father, and so much so that he has forever lost his belief in humanity's good.
And, we never hear the story of the crack-addicted parents, who let their child go without and in order to satisfy their own demons.
Have we forgotten that those we may consider our enemy, that they, too, have cried out in the middle of their darkest night?
My dears, our first instinct may be to feel enraged at this loss, but, does this instinct lead to any sort of resolution? And, more importantly, in closing off our hearts, how are we then able to widen this much needed circle of compassion?
We are often fooled that these fears serve to protect, but, aren't they instead coaxing us to this state of 'comfortably numb..?'
"Be grateful to everyone" is one of the foundations of lojong teaching, and my dears, that gratitude extends also to our enemies.
My dears, there is always a reason, some purpose, to even this life experience ~ in so much, as it offers our hearts the courage and room to grow.
To think of taking the hand of even our worst enemy ~ that is the true test, now isn't it?
And, though this may cause us, at first, to recoil...just remember...
That the hand we offer our enemy, is the one we offer ourselves, as well.
My most beautiful friends, that is the true gift of compassion.