When I began to watch the news last evening about India I was transfixed: it seemed so frightening to me that a place like Mumbai or a hotel like the Taj would be under attack. The video’s of people struggling to find a safe place and the recorded sounds of gunfire and explosions were terrifying to watch. At first it seemed unreal and very far removed from our daily lives, but then a reporter who was from India stated calmly that the attack was as if a band of terrorists had entered time square, shot our civilians and forcibly entered the Plaza Hotel(or the equivalent as it no longer exists). When I heard her say this I was almost paralysed by the understanding that she was correct. The world we live in today is not safe anywhere and nothing can be taken for granted. Just as some day, when I have grandchildren, I will tell them of the time when we were able to stand under running water in the shower for hours if we wanted, I am certain we are watching on television things that will become more and more common. We are living in a world where differences seem monumental and borders , though blurred, create rage and fear among groups of people. Just as water will become a luxury we can no longer waste, so will the assumption that peace and safety are a natural and deserved part of our daily lives. As Americans we have been sheltered from war but not terrorism. As Americans we have been less than mindful in spreading our peacemaking philosophy throughout the world. Now is the time to try harder to do this by developing compassion towards others and spreading that compassion to everyone around you. There is an article in the New York Times this morning written by Nickolas Kristof about the bravery of some woman called “The Bravery of Heroes”. I think everyone should read this piece as it inspires those who do to get involved in unjust and violent behavior. I think we need to begin right now.
The funniest thing about life is the jokes you don’t get for a long time. The funniest joke to me is the fact that we really have no control over anything, least of all ourselves. I have spent so much time worrying about what I said or did and how it would affect someone else. What that other person thought of me, how I could change what that other person thought of me. Tonight I was reading Warren Buffet’s new biography, which is very interesting by the way, and he spoke of how one is scripted in life: whether it be from the outside or the inside. If on is scripted from the inside one lives life for oneself: the achievements are noted and taken in by one’s own psyche. Most parents raise kids to be scripted by the world in terms of what achievements mean and what is important. We praise our kids for accomplishing things that are meaningful to the community rather than encouraging kids to find what is meaningful to them. Many really successful people I have known are interested only in what they look like to the world: they have little inner life nor have they developed real relationships with others. They are always moving on from successes looking for the next thing they “should” do for their lives to look really good. I am really trying to learn what makes me proud of myself and then enjoy it when it happens.
Stress is a big part of today’s world and everyone is feeling it to some degree or another. Recognizing stress when we feel it and detaching from it is the only way to manage it. Love is the way to live and there is no other path.