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Monday, May 9, 2011

Some Spiritual Thoughts about Osama Bin Laden

You can’t turn on the T.V for Osama Bin Laden’s face is looking back at you. By now you would have thought because of his demise our fascination with him would be over. Instead I believe it is gaining momentum because people want to know how this man that caused so much pain to others in the world lived. Everyone assumed he lived in caves and led the life of similar to Robin Hood. Instead, we are finding out he was an old man living on the third floor of a house with a young wife and his children. He was a son, brother, father and husband wrapped in a myth that turned out to be untrue. He wasn't a Robin Hood. I asked myself do I hate this man. As a child I wasn’t taught hate and as an adult practicing Vipassana Buddhism I continue to follow the road less travel-compassion.

I never even used the word hate until one day I heard myself utter the word without thinking about it. I was attending an affair with several friends who had each gotten a cup of hot coffee. One of the ladies asked me if I wanted a cup. I replied, “No, I hate coffee,” as I threw my arms up I accidentally hit the coffee cup of a lady standing next to me. The coffee spilled and landed on my arm. Today, I have a scare in the shape of Africa on my forearm.  

I realize that Osama Bin Laden living in that room was in agony and pain and probably has been most of his life. He wanted to hurt because he was hurting which is no excuse for harmful acts. His compound was a prison. He couldn't leave it. So no, I do not hate Bin Laden neither do I hate the predators that murdered my young brother over thirty years ago.

Osama Bin Laden and others who choose to do harmful acts against others have taught me to look inside of myself to be compassionate. The meaning of compassion is to recognize the suffering of others and take action to help them. Of course, I couldn't help Bin Laden but I could pray for world peace and harmony. Author and theologian Fredrick Buechner describes the meaning of compassion in these words: "Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too."

When we feed off other’s hurt we create an energy field that exhibits a deep reddish brown color around us. This field will attach itself to anyone, place or things that vibrates with it. Then it wins. Compassion helps you to detach from that sphere of negative energy and see the suffering behind the eyes of the other. I know from experience how difficult this is to do when someone you love have been brutally hurt. No words or acts can immediately heal the pain you feel. But I will not let that sphere of negativity consume me. I know it is a defining challenge that I must work through everyday.

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