I have a strong reaction of repulsion to violence. I cannot watch violence on TV or movies - I cover my eyes. I cry and become nauseous when I read about or see violence done to children. The picture I have attached of the Iraqi girl tears my heart out. I saw this on Facebook, and the story says she lost her mother to war, and drew this to go to for comfort. Even as I write that I am sobbing.
I remember watching an episode of Stargate Atlantis, where Samantha Carter has to close the door to a bunker with a child, Cassandra, in it. The child has potentially been built as a bomb, and when she goes off, she will kill everyone around her. Samantha had the moral fortitude to go in and stay with her, even though she would die, rather than leave a child in terror. This episode had me crying for hours, and I ran upstairs and held my daughter.
While violence regarding children is most difficult for me, I struggle with all violence. I get irritable in the mountains. The Magus once suggested it was because mountains are formed through a sort of violence. Regardless, I avoid violence as much as I can.
Tantra would say that avoiding something is as off balancing as being addicted to something. All things are the divine. I have struggled with how to see the divine in violence.
Today, I was happily listening to my audio recording of Christopher Wallis. He is a profound scholar in Tantra, and has written the cornerstone book on it, Tantra Illuminated. I went into a large store to pick up a few things, and I was enjoying my inner reflections about what I had heard him talk about and how it resonated with me. I was so engrossed I didn't pay attention to the man beside me muttering. So he got louder to make sure I knew he wanted me to hear him.
"Stupid *insert racial slur here*," he said. "They don't know what they are doing. I used to work there. All those people are stupid."
I was stunned. I surround myself with such loving people that I seem to have lost my ability to recall that hate and fear and violence and racism are part of the world too.
"Oh?" was all I managed. I wanted to take him on, to use my privileged position in society to try to change his mind. "That is unfortunate. I had a great experience. I think people try their best every day." I avoided anything that suggested I heard the racism, and wanted to reflect unity and oneness in our human experience. He scowled, and walked off muttering to himself some more.
At one level, this encounter made me nauseous and sad. I felt like I had somehow failed. And this is the second time this week something has happened that made me think I should be more, intervene, do something about it. So, from a tantric philosophy perspective, what is the truth here? What is my truth? What about me is being revealed?
I took a deep breath, and went into the stillness. Look at the words I used. Privilege...do I feel I have to pay something back? Is it the helpless feeling, that if I don't do something to change this I am failing? Is it my own questions about deservedness playing out? I once had a personal story and identity of being champion of the underdog. Just a few months ago I would tell people that all the Yuck in the organization with which I worked eventually came to me to sort out.
We see the world as we are, not as how it is. If I move out these aspects of story, what I can see it the divine play of how the experience serves to show me what is alive and unresolved in myself. To point me down a path of inquiry that lines up with my intentions for knowing and being a deeper truth.
For once, I am willing to let go of having to do something about this, and see the man as God coming to talk to me about my stuff. And so I can bless him for being a messenger of the divine. I can see the love inside of me, and how that love suffers from seeing the lack of love in violence. I can know the potential of love and peace for him and for all of humanity. And I can let go of the pain of the story that says I am helpless or not enough to simply be in the experience of this energy.
And to me, today, that is Tantra, baby!