Exploding the Limits of Our Love

“To see the all-pervading Spirit of Truth, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.”Mohandas Gandhi

Almost all of us have limits to our love.  If we didn’t, the world would be an entirely different place.  And our experience as a human being would be very different too.

Is there a way to break through the limits of our love and learn to love fully?   To nourish ourselves with love and then extend our love boundlessly so that it even embraces our enemies?  Yes, there is.

Revenge is Sweet Poison

It’s not easy to love our enemies or even those that simply annoy us or get in our way.  Recently, I encountered the limits of my own love.

I first heard about  Osama Bin Laden’s death on my twitter stream.  I found the 140-word celebrations disquieting.  When they were questioned by other tweeters, even a blogging buddy insisted that it’s OK to celebrate the death of a mass murderer.

Is it?

I believe revenge is sweet poison.  It might taste deliriously delicious for a moment, but in the end it poisons your heart.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t condone mass murder.  I don’t believe that mass murderers should be allowed to run free.

Although killing may be unavoidable in some circumstances, celebration is always optional.  It only adds to the ocean of hatred and strengthens your own harmful tendencies.

But as I took in the twitter stream of celebration, my fiery Leo nature wanted to jump into the argumentative fray. It’s this very urge to act on attachment and aggression that leads us astray.  Yet our habitual tendencies are often so deeply embedded.  It takes training to turn them around.  I felt this pull to divide between us and them, to judge the celebrators, to draw away from celebrating friends.

So how can I judge anyone else when the same dualistic principles are firing on high speed within me?

It takes examination, commitment, and practice to curb these habitual tendencies.  Fortunately,  I was able to reign in my reactions and take a look to see what exactly was going on within me.

You see, often we operate on automatic responding to entrained beliefs or rising emotions.  We don’t necessarily take time to look at the logic of our thoughts, emotions, and actions.  Are they really serving us well?  Are they a help to all of humanity?

“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Logic of Love

I’ve never encountered a great spiritual leader who celebrates violence.  Have you?  They always say, “love your enemies.”  I’ve been the victim of a violent, life-threatening crime so I’ve had to think this advice through for myself.  I don’t celebrate violence and these are the reasons why.

1.  Killing doesn’t address the root cause of evil.

The seeds of evil lie within each of us.  We only water the seeds of hatred in our own mind when we rejoice at someone’s death.  Our celebratory thoughts, words, and actions stain our own mind and heart.  They add another groove to whatever negative tendencies exist within our mind.  When this type of thinking is repeated, the groove deepens.  Gradually, it becomes easier and easier to get stuck in a groove of negativity and aggression, which only brings unhappiness our way.

2. When we rejoice at someone’s death, we teach the celebration of violence to our children.

While violence comes about for multiple reasons, it’s well know that children who live in harsh and violent families learn aggressive behaviors and typically repeat them as adults.  The cycle of violence spins on giving birth to more and more brutality.  Why did Osama Bin Laden hate his enemies so fiercely?  How did he learn to hate?

Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?   – @KagyurRinpoche

3.  We’re all interconnected.

When you harm others, it harms you.  Sometimes we can see the impact immediately.  Other times, the effect is delayed and the cause may not be so obvious.  When we celebrate violence, we reinforce the dualistic notion of being separate from one another and being independently functioning entities.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Just look around.  Can you show me anyone that doesn’t depend on others and the environment for his or her existence?

“The effects of our positive and negative actions may not be immediately evident and identifiable; but nor do they just fade away.  We will experience each one of them when the right conditions come together.”

- Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher

4.  Celebrating violence reinforces the notion that evil only exists outside of ourselves. 

It supports the notion that killing someone else can eradicate evil.  We’re like the Munchkins singing “Ding, Dong The Witch is Dead” and merrily dancing until her sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, bursts upon the scene.

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness:  only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Strength to Love

When we regularly indulge in over-consumption, we ourselves are impacting the lives of others on this planetWhen we unnecessarily indulge in air travel, we are contributing significantly to global warming and adversely impacting others.  In fact, people are already dying from global warming.

Osama Bin Laden? 17,000 children die every day on Earth from preventable causes; why not make some noise about that? @raamdev

5.  Celebrating someone’s death generates bad karma. 

It’s bad news for you.  Like a boomerang, negative actions bring suffering back to you.  Yes, even celebrating killing brings a karmic result according to Eastern spiritual traditions.

“…you should know that the same karmic result comes to everyone involved [in killing], even anyone who just felt pleased about it…”  – Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher

“Do not take lightly small misdeeds,
Believing they can do not harm:
Even a tiny spark of fire
Can set alight a mountain of hay.”

- Buddha, The Sutra of the Wise and the Foolish

Killing is a complex question and I don’t profess to have all the answers.  But celebration is always optional.  There’s no need or benefit in adding to the ocean of revenge and hatred.

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. “  – Jessica Dovey

To consider how our celebrations look to the rest of the world, please read A Traveler’s Perspective on the Death of Osama at Wandering Earl.

Exploding the Limits of Our Love

It’s not easy to love our enemies.

Even when we want to love, our habitual tendencies may be deeply entrenched.  We often find ourselves reacting impulsively.

This is why it helps to understand the logic of love and compassion.  When we understand that harming others actually harms us, it makes sense to be vigilant about our thoughts, words, and deeds.  Once we make a mental shift, there’s a stronger foundation for actually training in love kindness.

The practice of Loving Kindness, sometimes referred to as metta, maitri, or simply as love depending upon the particular Buddhist tradition, is one way to train in loving kindness.  It’s easy to learn and can be practice by anyone, whatever your tradition.  The practice offers a progressive framework for gradually expanding our circle of love.  It begins by cultivating loving-kindness towards oneself, then gradually widening the circle to include one’s loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally all sentient beings.

When I experienced the limits of my own love that night, thanks to my twitter friends, it impelled me to go beyond my impulsive reactions and open my heart further.  I have a long way to go in my training in loving kindness, but I feel more strongly than ever that love is the answer.  Mixed with wisdom.

I’ll be writing more about the practice of Loving Kindness in an upcoming post.

I invite you to read For Our World, a poem written on 9/11 by Mattie Stepanek when he was 11 years old.  Even at his young age, he intuitively understood love and interdependence.

Do you have any thoughts to share about the power of love?

If you liked this article, please share the link by using the share button below.  And, I would love to hear from you in the comments.  Thanks so much for your support!  Sandra

51 thoughts on “Exploding the Limits of Our Love

  1. This post is the voice of intelligence, Sandra. In a situation such as this one, bin Laden’s death, we are asked to extend our love to everyone – those who are afraid, those who rejoice, those who hurt, etc.

    It’s a complicated issue, and I understand Obama’s reasoning. For myself, rather than focus on what should or shouldn’t have happened, I aspire to extend love in all directions, in every moment. I think that this is the true medicine. Any change starts at home.

    • Hi Gail,

      This is beautifully said and goes to the heart of what I was trying to express, “For myself, rather than focus on what should or shouldn’t have happened, I aspire to extend love in all directions, in every moment. I think that this is the true medicine.”

  2. A brave and wise post Sandra – thank you for sharing this.

    Love conquers all – it does.

    It’s easy though to only think of love in terms of those nearest and dearest to us – the real test is finding a way to tap into our true nature, which is pure love, and to find love for those to whom we do not have that close connection, and for those whom we may despise.

    I shall look forward to your upcoming post on ‘loving kindness’

    Steve

    • Steve,

      I’ve been reflecting upon the essential point you make here > when we are in our true nature, love radiates naturally. We don’t need to even stop for a moment to think who we will love or won’t love. We just are love. Thank you for expressing this. The practice of loving kindness is a relative means to help us train and get closer to our true nature, expressing love as much as we can along the way. I’m really glad you shared your understanding on this. Thank you so much!

  3. I found the celebration of Bin Laden’s death very disturbing…violence only brings more violence, hate more hate – I totally agree with you. Extending the limits of our love isn’t so simple, but I try. Rejoicing in someone else’s death is never the answer, as you so clearly explains. Great post.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective, Cristina. It’s not easy to extend the limits of our love. I admire that you hold this as an aspiration and work toward this end. All the best!

  4. My reasoning leads me down this path. The largest contributor/cause of global warming is consumerism and the largest contributor/cause to consumerism are people. Therefore if I wanted to reduce global warming, I would consider zero population growth as a possible solution to global warming. To me that is a much more serious candidate for effectively addressing the issue of global warming than frivolous indulgence in air travel.
    Riley

    • Hi Riley,

      Population growth is definitely a factor in global warming. Thanks for bring up that perspective. I’m definitely contributing on that front! It seems like zero population growth might be a difficult policy to implement though. In developed countries, people without children seem quite adept at consuming far more than their share of global resources. Much to ponder here. Thanks for this thought!

  5. Sandra~
    thank YOU for choosing L♡ve.
    your guidance for others on each point- where we could choose otherwise is so valuable.
    OUR LOVE is Supreme, it is the way~

  6. I agree with not celebrating hate. We all have an inner Bin Laden. We project our hate on to others. I can only bless and send love to those who aren’t on my path. We are all either living love or fear. I may condemn someone today for the same thing I find myself doing tomorrow. If women were in charge of the world there would be no war. Too many of us wouldn’t allow our own children and those of others to be killed or to kill. I’m sending love and offering love to those who are fearful today.

    I don’t agree on the air travel. Who in the world is going to decide what travel is for pleasure and what is not. I can only see another war coming from that. Air travel is the safest and cheapest way to travel. Also I am here for joy, love and adventure. That is what travel is for me. I often have to remind myself when I feel strongly on an issue that most of the time I don’t know what is best for me. How in the world would I know what is best for someone else?

    • Tess,

      Thanks for shining your light of love on this topic. This is another interesting perspective to consider > allowing women to rule the world!

      Thank you for offering your honest view on air travel. It’s a hot topic and I often wonder what the best solution is. So I appreciate hearing your view point. I certainly would not propose government intervention in travel decisions. It seems to me that we each need to look at the facts and look into our own mind and heart and make what we feel is the best decision for ourselves and for the planet.

      Maybe it was a poor choice to use the word “frivolously” and it looks like I didn’t spell it right either. I didn’t mean to imply that I’m opposed to joy, love and adventure by any means. I will have to change that word. I only meant that flying has potential adverse impacts and it makes sense to me to the impact of my own actions when I fly. I’m not trying to decide for you or anyone else, just sharing what I’ve learned about it.

      Thanks for your commitment to fearless love!

  7. Your post made me think of the Amish community’s response to the tragic shooting of the school girls a few years ago. A man entered the schoolhouse, made all the boys leave, tied up the girls, and shot them all before shooting himself. The Amish community refused to hate him. They forgave him immediately. They reached out to his widow and children that very same day. They invited her to the funerals of their daughters, and they even attended the shooter’s funeral. They invited his widow and children to become part of their community. A book was written about their practice of forgiveness called Amish Grace. I have often wondered what our country would be like now if we had followed their model in the aftermath of 9/11. Thank you for writing about this topic as we all sort out our individual and collective responses to the death of bin Laden.

  8. Judging is judging. Who am I to say that someone else’s celebration is not necessary for the last vestiges of their pain and hurt and fear to be released to the universe? I did not celebrate, it is not necessary for me; but I do believe that for others, it is needed to move on. Surely I cannot say that everyone who celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden did so as a celebration of evil; for some it may be closure. I do not understand that myself, but I know some people do. My heart goes out to the men who are paid by our taxes to hunt down and kill the Osama bin Laden’s of the world.

    • Mary,

      I agree with you that judging is not the place to go. I’m really glad that you’ve said that. That’s precisely why I needed to work with my own mind that night of the celebrations to not let it dwell in the place of judgment, and open my heart further. I’m not perfect and I understand we are all on a path of growing and learning. What I tried to express here are my own reasons for not celebrating violence. I tried to do that as best I can in a non-judgmental way, but maybe I failed in that.

      You are right that we can’t always know the motivation in someone’s mind and heart. Closure is important, but I can’t help but wonder if celebrating the death of an enemy will ever fully bring about closure.

      My heart also goes out to the men who participate in wars and are paid to hunt down and kill others.

  9. Sandra.

    Good on you for taking up the dialogue about the post-killing celebration. I too cringed when I read some of the celebratory chatter.

    Your #3 rings so true for me. Our interconnectedness seems to teach us so many lessons and mainly the importance for each of us to carry compassion in our hearts and minds for others and ourselves. When we try to make ourselves oh so separate and unique, we indeed remove love, equanimity, kindness, and peace from life’s equation.

    This happens in the smallest of circumstances in our lives. Recently, some of us in our neighborhood have been discussing the neighborhood dogs that can be very lively in their barking at all hours. During some of these conversations, I notice that the involved parties get defensive and strongly opinionated. After the last exchange, when I came into the house and related the discourse to my husband, he exclaimed, “if we struggle with barking dogs, how will we ever have world peace?” I laughed at this wise remark.

    As so many including you remarked, it starts right here within each of our hearts.

    Thank you so much for courage to shed light on this topic.

    • Susie,

      This is such a perfect example of how much we need to do our inner work to create the basis for peace in the world! You are so on target offering the smallest of circumstances as opportunities for transformation. It’s all these small opportunities that gradually build up to create change, just like an ocean is comprised of many small drops.

      Thanks for sharing your wisdom here!

  10. Thank you so much for spreading this message – a welcome ray of Light amidst the media “news” blitz and fear mongering. Thanks too for sharing Mattie Stepanek’s wonderful 9/11 poem “For Our World.”

  11. Thank you for your appreciation, Linda. I think we all want a more loving world, but fear gets in our way. I love Mattie’s work and was so delighted to see his poem on your blog. Be well!

  12. Hi Sandra,

    This is a great article filled with much wisdom! One of the problems that faces the world today is the limit that our love has for others. As you rightly say, if there were no limits to our love, the world would indeed be a very different place. We might not even recognize it.

    Like you, I was disturbed by the reactions to the death of Osama. While Osama did set in motion the chain of events that led to his violent death, which he fully deserved, celebrating it seems out of place and vindictive. (I never knew you were a Leo? I thought you were a Virgo)

    Recently, Singapore has just had its elections. The ruling party has been in power for over 40 years and in this elections, the opposition managed to win the most number of seats in parliament ever; 81-6. As might be expected, tensions ran high as Singaporeans were divided amongst the two camps. This is perfectly understandable when a person’s position, views and hence ego are at stake.

    In a parallel to your urge to jump into the debate on Osama, which I also avoided, I chose to avoid getting too involved in the elections. After all, the dust has already settled. To drag things further would only rub salt in wounds, cause more injuries and whatever we win or lose by holding on makes for a very ugly and messy situation.

    As you know, I am a big fan of history and I have some interest in tactics and war. But it is merely because knowing is important if we wish to defend ourselves. I never celebrate violence because I know that victory that comes at the price of bloodshed is not true victory at all.

    It is really a crazy world we live in where violence and being divided is so common and love is the province of saints. But if we only take the time to reflect on our actions instead of acting on impulse, we might just make better choices.

    Thank you for sharing this thought provoking article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

    • Hi Irving,

      Yes, I’m a Virgo sun sign with a Leo rising. Some astrologers says that your rising sign should be given equal importance. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do have some Leo qualities and I do have fiery side.

      I think you have made a very important point when you say that Osama set in motion the chain of events that led to his violent death. There are always multiple causes contributing to any event, that’s one reason why it’s difficult to understand karma fully. It is the same with us, we set into motion a chain of events that lead to particular effects, but often we fail to acknowledge this. There are still multiple causes but often we are one of them.

      I’m glad you were able to stay out of the fray with the elections. I take your point that these are degenerate times where conflict seems more common that harmony. That’s why I feel that it’s so important to carry the torch of love and compassion. Even if we only touch one person, it makes a difference.

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Irving.

      • Ah I see. Yes, I agree that the rising signs play a large part in shaping our personalities. I am Aries with Virgo Moon and Cancer Rising. Thus, I am by nature more reserved and controlled than most Aries. This is clearly reflected in the way I write as well haha!

        I think for elections or religion or beliefs, the problem is that we become too attached to our views. When people are too attached to their views, they hinge their egos on it and that is when all the problems arise. By not being able to detach and let go, they go all out to defend their views at all costs because it becomes the bedrock on which their identity rests on. Whether it is better to be right and at what costs is a question we would all do well to reflect on. At least it would make us less impulsive and might go some way to alleviating the tension in the world.

        • I have a number of Aries friends. Having the counter balance in your chart is probably beneficial, I would guess!

          I agree about becoming too attached to our views. That doesn’t leave much space for anything new to happen. It’s good to have this reminder to watch out for that. This lifetime is like a flash of lightening in the sky. I think it’s better to try to aim for common ground when we can.

          I appreciate you!

  13. Thank you for this post. It really helps me have some insight into my own reaction to Bin Laden’s death and to the reactions of others. It was greatly disturbing to me to witness all the hatred around it. Yet, I did not disagree with his death. Confusing.

    The point you make about people celebrating his death because it lets them think the evil is out there some where and is contained and taken care of makes so much sense to me. It is much easier than facing the evil within ourselves and our communities.

    I posted links to articles on Facebook saying that even Osama had a mother and people that loved him etc, and got all kinds of nasty comments. You make a good point. That this is a starting place for understanding and love to those people as well.

    • Hi Debbie,

      I think this is a common experience > to feel uncomfortable with what’s happening around us but not able to fully explain it. It can be confusing. It was brave of you to post those thoughts on Facebook, but it seems there is so much anger that it’s difficult for some people to think beyond that. I understand the pain and trauma that many people have felt due to Bin Laden’s actions and my heart goes out to them. But some people are able to bear pain and trauma and learn to heal without being vindictive. I know it’s not easy, but that’s the aspiration in my life.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Debbie.

  14. Hi Sandra,
    Thank you for sharing through this post! I absolutely agree that Love is the answer; love is the foundation of my life. However, I observe there are times that the collective mainstream will say love is the answer *but* this is the exception. I open my heart to love..All..I do not have to understand, just to open to understanding. Like you, I have experienced a personal violent life threatening crime, and I do not wish for revenge–I wish to end the cycle of violence and I only offer loving kindness. I also do not celebrate Osama’s death, for I know I have surely “killed” Spirit with unkindness in my own life. It is not for me to judge, only to apply love to it.
    I once asked an audience how many had experienced unconditional love and very few had; since then it is my goal to cultivate and share unconditional love. A great space to heal and to create from…The story Gail mentions sounds beautiful, I will try to find it.

    • You are a tremendous inspiration, Joy. It’s sad to hear that so few people say they have experienced unconditional love. But I fully understand how it can be locked within us. I am on a path of healing and learning how to cultivate more love. I know it takes time and practice. But the first step is to even know it’s possible. People like you wake us up to new possibilities with their generous gift of unconditional love. Thank you!

  15. This is the first article I have read on your blog and I was literally blown away.
    I did celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden and I am still happy that he is gone from the world, but like you said, killing doesn’t kill the root of evil.

    I am very afraid that al qaida will respond and that the situation will in fact get worse before it gets better.

    That is usually what happens as a result of murder and killing.

    I am a big fan of Mahatma Ghandi and I believe his path really is the only way to change the world for the better. What I have noticed is that if you decide to be a model for what you want others to do, others usually follow.

    • Hello Daniel and Welcome,

      Thanks for taking a moment to express your perspective. I appreciate hearing from you. I agree with you fully that we can’t force others to change, but being a model of what we believe will sometimes inspire others to see and embrace the possibility for change. There is much fear in the world today. I hope that we can move on a new path instead of the worn path of retaliation. I’ve been pondering the loss of innocence.

      It’s nice to “meet” you. Thanks again.

  16. > harming others actually harms us
    Well put.

    I’ve seen people carry bags through life because they couldn’t forgive. I’ve seen people sour their life because they poisoned themselves with hate. I’ve seen people take the most dangerous road … the one called revenge.

    • Revenge does seem to me to fall flat of expectations. I remember once when I was young, I brought home “The Count of Monte Cristo” from the school library. My father asked me where I got it — it had, until quite recently, been on the Vatican’s list of “banned books.” (I went to a Catholic school.) I was curious why it would be banned and my father told me because the church thought it glamorized revenge — but if you read it, I don’t think it glamorizes revenge at all! I was struck by the Count’s miserable-ness of life — despite material wealth. Not the first time the Catholic Church misunderstood a teachable moment — and obviously not the last! I recently read something on the difference between forgiveness and forgetting; I think someone in that conversation mentioned the latest issue of Oprah’s magazine.

  17. This is such a challenging topic to discuss and even after writing my post I am still terribly confused. I really do believe that celebrating bloodshed leads to more bloodshed and in the end, quite possibly, the loss of more innocent lives. And this idea is not something that I want to celebrate.

    It seems to me that we need to find a way to break out of this cycle of violence, but of course I struggle when I try to think of how that can be accomplished. All I know is that acting with peaceful, loving intentions seems infinitely more beneficial to the world than dancing in the streets, declaring that killing is acceptable as long as we are the ones doing the killing.

    Thank you so much for this post (and for the link as well of course).

    • Hi Earl,

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I agree this is a challenging topic and I understand why you still feel confused. I wish there were a way to bring about peace on a grand scale. Maybe it will happen someday. In the meantime, the way you suggestion, creating peace within and having loving intentions is the most powerful way to impact others. When we pass on love the ripple effect can continue touching many others in the world.

      Thanks for your great article on this topic too. It was very insightful for me to read.

  18. Hi Sandra, it was interesting to read your take on the bin Laden assassination. I was surprised because I figured he died long ago as the US government hadn’t mentioned him much anymore. Then I was surprised how happy people seemed as I didn’t think bin Laden had much power anymore. The revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia had nothing to do with him, for example.

    I guess that reactions to his death was like your team winning in football, or the bad guy dying at the end of the movie. People were happy that the “good guys” won. Yet it changes nothing in my life. I still have to take off my shoes at the airport if I want to visit my grandmother, and we are still at war. I don’t feel I have anything to celebrate.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      It’s interesting to hear your take on all this too. What you’ve said makes me reflect on how much our world has changed and how it might never turn back to the pre-terrorism, pre-security days. It’s quite sad. I understand why you feel you don’t have anything to celebrate. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  19. Finally the voice of reason which we can count on from you. So much sadness in the world and another death (with more to come I expect) only adds to it. An eye for an eye? So unproductive. Love is a better way. Hugs to all of you.

  20. Sandra, Just taking advantage of a chance to agree with someone on the killing of Asama bin Laden. Revenge is indeed ‘sweet poison,’ as you say. I believe the Dalai Lama writes somewhere about the mitigation of certain killings, i.e. lessening the Karma. this one of Osama was unmittigated–planned from the start and carried out in cold blood when it looked like he could as well have been taken captive. thanks for airing the subject. john

    p.s. I’ve a Virgo sun , Scorpio rising, Moon in Aries, and a seventy per-cent belief in astrology.

    • Great to see you here, John! Look like your internet skills are sharpening up quickly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this challenging topic. The point you make is crystal clear.

      Ah, a fellow Virgo. And one with a good sense of humor! I’m not an astrology fanatic, but I often find good guidance and solace in the starts. Be well!

  21. Annabel,

    I love seeing your bright smile. May the world be filled with brightness that burns away all the sadness. Thank you for your vote for love. Wishing you all the best.

  22. Thank you for your openess and honsty in writing this post, and in your truthful responses to those who left comments. Perhaps your greatest teachings in this post reside not so much in opinions and perspectives, but rather in your willingness to be honest with yourself. I hope that I may be as open as you are, so that I may learn from you. By the way, I nodded in ageement to everything you wrote. Everything.

    • Thank you so much for your support. It’s not always easy to be honest with ourselves. I’m sure I fool myself plenty of times. But I know the only way to grow is through looking honestly at oneself in a supported way. So I try to do that as best I can. We’re all learning and evolving so I finally figured out that it’s OK not to be perfect. I really appreciate your comment and hope you are well.

      • I too am in 100% agreement with wht you have said. Indeed you said it all. I do not ever celebrate anyone’s death. I was heartsick and stomach sick by the triumphalism Americans displayed. The reality is that Osama Bin Laden was a war criminal who was a mass murderer of Muslims. He assassinated under Presidential order and the triumphal response was deeply distrubing. BTW I posted what I just said to a forum where many Americans did not want to hear what I said. I also posted this:

        “Let’s not forget that he was a human being, a mass murderer of Muslims who committed monstrous acts. I think the danger of dehumanizing him or anyone else who has committed such acts as being a “monster” is that when we get caught up in demonizing individuals we forget that all humans are capable of monstrous acts driven by political and religious ideologies they choose to embrace. History clearly demonstrates that humans are susceptible to following charismatic religious and political ideologues, and deluding themselves into believing their god is on their side when they murder other human beings in their god’s name. “

  23. timethief,

    These are important points. At the heart of it, I too think it’s important to separate the person from the actions. The actions are indeed monstrous, but sometimes even the worst criminal can redeem themselves. This is the story with the great Tibetan teacher and practitioner, Milarepa. He murdered almost a whole (small) village as a young adult in retaliation for injustices toward his mother. But he realized the error of his ways and spent the remaining of his life devoted to the spiritual path and helping others. It’s sad to see people murdering others in god’s name.

    Thanks for adding your thoughts.

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