Posts Tagged ‘truth’

Universal sorrow

July 12, 2010

There is a picture at the Newseum that haunts me. It was taken in the Sudaan. On a dirt road, a small child crouches, head bent touching the earth in a swoon of evident exhaustion. That the child is starving is obvious. Behind the child, a vulture waits expectantly.

The photo was taken back in 1994, but time and distance do not lessen its impact. I am there at the Newseum with my granddaughter who has never lacked for a day without love, caring, tenderness, shelter, food, water, and nurturing. The contrasting truth strikes home in one easy, swift stroke.

It is not so difficult to care for a child.

But it was impossible for an entire country to care for that one child in the photo. If it were an isolated incident, my heart would not be so wounded, except I know it continues.

We all owe that child and every child we let die of starvation, neglect, or abuse our own lives.

I sit here in my self-imposed luxury of American life and wonder why — if we are indeed the co-creators of our existence — why would we allow such misery to proliferate when there is easily a huge abundance of our basic necessities available?

And it is not so hard to love a child.

But even the photographer of that picture walked away, constricted by the rules of the time and society. Perhaps he thought that the picture would speak in a thousand more languages to save thousands more children than had he intervened to try and save one child.

My mind cannot even grasp the karmic platitudes that people use to rationalize starvation and abandonment in a world that supports 7 billion humans.

It is not so impossible to feed a child.

I know that such images, this knowledge, these truths find me as much as I find them. And I feel the sorrow of the universal consciousness as it nudges me and urges me to do something.

But I don’t know what.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Shifting presence

May 12, 2010

Humans rely upon words to do the majority of their communicating. We talk to ourselves relentlessly – it’s called “thinking.” Others communicate with us using words, either speaking them or writing them. We can sometimes rely upon actions: a gesture, a glance, the silent message of just walking away. Actions, like words, are subject to interpretation. Our brains work very hard to make sense of all that we encounter.

If I pay close attention to my inner process when I think, I find that one aspect of me is blabbing away, another aspect is listening, and yet a third aspect is observing. My body is responding to this chatter as well, sending messages that make my response to life a more accurate reflection of who I truly am . . . should I choose to be.

This is a gifted way of being in the world – a way of being that allows me to interact when I am fully present. There’s so much going on inside and outside of me that I need to pay attention to. If I am not present, I will miss some key messages from someone or somewhere.

I worry that turning off my thinking might cause me to not respond in a way that supports me or other people. But, as I mentioned in yesterday’s writing, my being in the world has moments of full presence without thought. Of course my brain latched on to this with a ferocity that won’t let go. And the answers that I seek seem to find me right when I need them.

Last night, I stumbled across “silent knowledge” in don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Fifth Agreement. My term for silent knowledge is the wordless place. Ruiz writes that silent knowledge is truth that we know and feel without words. As I shift into my wordless place, I am more the presence that exists for eternity. It is from here that I wish to respond to life.   

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass