I do not experience blind compassion. I can love a person and see their innate value and path but still not trust them. For some people, their dysfunction multiplies and propagates BECAUSE you endeavor to trust them. Offering someone unconditional kindness can be harmful at times unless you have a boundary. I place my focus on love and understanding how it is that they behave in such unkind ways, and I remain within a boundary that lets them know that the way that they behave is unacceptable to me.
When 9/11 happened I was living in NH. I went home and packed my Chevy Blazer. I was an EMT and had my mind set to go help. I had a relative who lived blocks from the towers. He told me I could still get through and that they were still letting in anyone who could help. Right before I pulled out of the driveway he called and said that they had just shut down all access. If you weren’t in there already, you would not get in. Later that month I was on a plane. I ended up sitting next to a man who whispered to me…because he was from Kabul. Everyone was staring at us. All through the terminal while we ate together police officers eyed us warily. He mostly talked to me about a plan he had…”as soon as the bombs stop falling in my country, I want to be the first on the ground to start building schools…what the country needs is hope, education, safety…only then will the terrorism stop.” These two events stuck with me.
They are on my mind when I read about grown men throwing acid on the faces and bodies of young Afghani girls attempting to attend school in the town of Deh’Subz. The photo at the top of this post are students of the school. CNN has an article about Razia Jan, the woman who opened this school that offers free education for these brave young women and what is happening to them.
For example, at a neighboring girls school, men threw hand grenades, killing approximately 100 students, all girls. At Razia’s school they are throwing acid onto the girls. The school’s water has been poisoned, sending young girls to the hospital.
I am going to skip over all of the portions I know nothing about. I don’t know about their culture. I don’t know about their religion. I have no knowledge of tribal structure. But I know about fear and I know about hate, and I know what happens in the absence of love. What these men are doing is what happens in the absence of love. If love is absent then what is driving this behavior?
It doesn’t matter what they call it, religion, politics, tradition, custom, …these are all red herrings for the truth behind such blind behavior. Try to argue with people like that…you will never win. These barbaric behaviors only happen for one reason, the absence of love and the presence of rampant fear.
No human being seeks to lash out at another. Something must happen to them first. Something along the way must take place. The willingness to kill or maim a completely defenseless fellow human being is an outward expression of what the attacker lives with inside. It is how they feel in their heart, that they have been treated, expressed externally. They can offer no better than what they have received. Imagine a place inside of us where love was meant to land. Fertile and rich, waiting for that seed to be gently planted. But instead there is poverty. Instead there is anger and fear everywhere. Perhaps there is even the daily risk of being killed or of having your family murdered.
Then in that soil, the seed of fear grows.
Fear with no outlet becomes anger.
Anger that does not change your reality becomes hate.
When this kind of dynamic is created in a human being the third eye stays closed. Compassion happens when there is a clear opening between the heart and the third eye. If someone’s heart and body are filled with hate and fear, compassion can literally not flourish or manifest. The third eye allows us to see the truth of things, beyond what we have been told. It allows us to see beyond the manifest world. In the most simple terms it allows someone to look at a person’s face and see beyond the visage. It allows them to peer into the way a person feels and it also allows for empathy. In short, when the third eye and heart are connected, you literally can not see a girl wanting an education…and want to throw acid on her face, or to maim her for life, or to kill her.
These men, literally do not have the ability to see more than their limited perspective. And it is indeed sorely limited. When fear and anger are so thoroughly in the body, they take up a lot of space…they look for ways out of the body. They attach themselves to things to hate and fear. It will feel like the truth to them…it will feel proper to them because in all honesty, they feel good to have something to control, something to lash out against. They are fighting now with themselves and everyone who never provided the love they never had. Can you imagine being so suffused with hatred that you could bring yourself to harm a child in such a way?
There are people in our world who have never known a moment of clemency. Imagine waking up spiritually and realizing what you have done. Imagine the horror of knowing you burned children who just wanted to better themselves and be free. Now imagine that all of your friends with whom you might share this realization, were the one’s with you when you were feeling righteous about harming innocents. How will you explain your change? Where will you go? Part of what happens with us as humans is that in the absence of love, it can feel so much like love to be a part of something. It is alluring. It feels like we are embraced within a tribe of similarly minded beings. It affords a level of safety that conveys a fraction of what it is like to be truly accepted. If you are one of these men….how can you change when you have no where to go, once you do? Who would take you in…a terrorist?
All I know for sure is that the way these men see these girls is without compassion. It is without remorse, without innocence, without love. And what I know for sure is that I’d love for them to stop what they are doing, the same way I’d love for all ignorant violence to end. When I ask how can that happen…I only can come up with one thing. We can change things by making sure to not view them in the same way they are viewing these girls. These men are devoid of safety in their hearts. They are frightened of a girl attending a school. What will do the most to stop their behavior is to see them differently. We must reflect to them that this is not who they are. For if we just argue with people like this, we are engaging the monster directly. But if we can possibly look someone like this in the eye and let them know that we see the part of them that never wanted the life they got, that place where they are devoid of compassion…it can change things. When they are seen differently than who they are sure they are…it can change things. Bigger miracles have happened with less.
Imagine any time in your life that you have been the victim of an attack or of violence or abuse. Even if it does not change things for your abuser it changes things for us. It let’s us see that we were not the actual target of what happened. For when these men do these kinds of things, they are not actually saying “we want to control you”. They are actually saying “I have never found my heart and I am lost and I hate because of this”. Again, we can say that they do these things because of tradition, or religion or whatever, but the only reason anyone commits such a heinous act towards another is when they have no idea what love feels like.
And we can see what happens when they behave this way…the energy that powers them, then is passed along to whom they attack. A girl in a hospital wing, wondering how the world can be such and unkind place. Then we have two people, attacker and victim, both affected by the same malady…a wealth of unkindness and the lack of a safe place to grow up in.
I can think of one other thing to do. And Razia Jan is doing it. She is standing up for what she knows is a loving way to be in the world. And against all odds she is putting her resources into turning the tide. If you are in America, and want to be able to feel like you are making the world a kinder place…which is what we all need…perhaps supporting her work is a good place to start.
If you are interested in supporting Razia Jan’s mission, Razia’s Ray of Hope, in Afghanistan, here is a link to her WEBSITE. Any readers of this blog know how very little money I have. But you can be sure I am going to donate to this group whenever I have extra money. Perhaps consider offering some.
And on a footnote, this is also something most compelling to me. As a healer and as someone who has spent a great deal of time on my own process, I cannot currently stomach how American seekers run around with loads of cash, weekending it at retreats, extended stays at ashrams..it is like they are on a healing vacation of a sort. They are so drawn in to their own healing that they do not see how insular their quest has made them. It very much matches American values. Very much a “me” way to approach things. Well…what about you? Can you not heal your life AND aid others, or is there really only enough room for self absorption? I think as Americans we cannot help but do it this way for a while. We really do feel that we have nothing to give while in the throes of our seeking or awakening. But many do not see how that is only a feeling, and that this feeling is informed by conditioning of our “do it yourself” culture. One of the things American’s have to collectively recover from is “individualism”. We need to be individuals with the dream of community. At the moment though, we are still contending with a haze wherein healing is mostly all about healing us. It infuses the way we do everything, even our healing. And honestly, it is selfish. Not the kind of selfishness that deserves intolerant judgment. But the kind you gently point out to someone, so that they can expand beyond what they previously knew. I am just not in a gentle mood this evening, so forgive the broad brush I am painting with.
A friend of mine had a Grandma who had a saying…”no one gets two houses until everyone has one”.
How can we run around lavishing our funds on healing just ONE life, when others have lives that do not even allow them the chance to consider contemplating things beyond being killed for attending school? People need safe places. People need sanctuary. Awakening and healing don’t happen without sanctuary…not for these girls or for those men. They don’t need it in the future…they need it now. If you already have enough of a safe place in your life where you have the freedom to explore your feelings, your choices, your past…then you have enough resources to find ways to make sure others can have the same space. I am not necessarily referring to money. It can be donations of time. Volunteering. It can be through art.
Why am I driving this point home? Because really changing the world takes all of us. It can’t be done in a vacuum any longer. These girls are the right hand. Healing our past is only the left. Without them, there is still only so much we can pick up. And without us, there is only so much they can pick up. If you feel compassion for a fellow human being, that is what needs to be exported and shared. And you don’t have to relinquish your search to occupy that. In fact the peace that eludes…it could be that the reason why you have not found it, is that you are sure you do not have something to give to others. Find out if this is true. Find out if you have something to give to another and you may find more of who you wanted to find.