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Lengthy but worth reading

October 29, 2008

I wrote the following journal entry years ago when I was in Oaxaca City, Mexico.  I remembered it tonight when I hiked to the top of Charging Horse Hill and looked out over the serene pastels of the sunset landscape.

March 2003

“It’s funny how enrapturing the feel of such a place is, yet it has such a horrible history of domination.  The most beautiful places often have such a terrible past; I almost feel guilty enjoying them, especially since even in the present, most of the people who live here don’t get to enjoy the splendor, only the suffering.

“A little girl was using the fountain water to wash two square pieces of cloth she had with her.  She’s scampered off by now, but she had a little Coke bottle filled with soap that’s now sitting empty on the stone bench next to me, and she was scrubbing the pieces of cloth on the bench as if it were a laundering board.

“That’s what I mean.  The most beautiful clashing with the most difficult aspects of life.  That little girl was so pretty and sweet, but she was clearly very poor.  She surely deserves better.

“I can’t think of a profound way to end this entry.  Perhaps by simply describing I’m being profound enough.”

October 2008

The word beauty doesn’t suffice to describe the landscape out here on the reservation.  Yet nestled among this astounding scenery, hiding out in the homes tucked between the hills, is astonishing pain.  Hunger, anger, despair, hopelessness.  A beautiful landscape and culture isn’t enough to save a people from the modern world, and it isn’t enough to save me. 

As I watched the sun dip below the hills, I knew I will never feel completely at peace for as long as I know that people who deserve to feel the light of love continue to have its warmth undermined by insecurity.  I will never feel completely at peace for as long as I live simply but watch others suffer to achieve things that likely won’t bring them as much happiness as a hug. 

And I will never feel completely at peace for as long as I feel alone in understanding the meaning of life and the solution to all of the political woes that people think they will be addressing on election day:  love.  There’s really nothing more to it.

The following excerpt from a letter by Linda Neely in Sun Magazine says it pretty well:

“At our last meal together I looked around the dining hall again.  The monks had told us many times to try to see the ‘Buddha nature’ in everyone.  I saw that these people were all the same as me:  full of love and wanting only to be loved.  The [incriminating] thoughts I’d had about them before were gone.  My eyes filled with tears.

“On my way home from the monastery, I stopped for gas at a truck stop.  The sudden transition from silent retreat to noisy filling station was jarring.  Yet even among the rushed, angry, tired travelers, I saw only people all looking for the same thing.”



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One Comment
  1. If you would take the time to read “Dreams from My Father” I think you’d find somesimilar yearnings. Perhaps knowing that someone running for the highest officein the land is coming from a similar place as you would afford you a glimmer of thehope and new direction in humanity that you’re searching for; I know that I have seen inthat man the potential for a significant turn around. Yes, he’s only one person, but so areyou, and people like you and Barack are the few that can lead the many out of complacency–and it’s complacency that destroys. I continue to believe that it’s just a matter of time before our better selves resurface and we’ll reclaim the inner goodness, the peace and the love, that resides within all of us. We might not have “bottomed out yet,” but once we do, the correct order will reassert itself and some of the wrongs you mourn will be righted because they’re just too obvious to go unnoticed by people who can empathize and, yes, love. Mom

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