The rabbi sounded the shofar, that ancient musical instrument made of a ram's horn. The minister rang the Tibetan prayer bell. Ancient spiritual tools employed to awaken our consciousness to a larger, more inclusive reality; one where we can perceive and appreciate the spark of Divinity that resides in all our hearts. We came together in a multi-faith gathering to reflect and pray for those who lost their lives in Gaza and Israel. 1, 962 people were killed in Gaza - of whom 80% were civilians. We thought of their beloved, who must endure the lasting trauma of this massive, evil violence. 67 also died in Israel - 64 of who were soldiers. For once and for all - can we stop calling this one-sided massacre a conflict. Or a war. Or self-defense. The sign I made for last week's demonstration said it quite plainly. "Want security? Lift the blockade. End the occupation. ( It's not rocket science.)"
I find it unbearable that our governments have directly and significantly contributed to this unfathomable pain, death and destruction. Their complicity has enabled Israel to unleash this sadistic military campaign with total impunity.
Tonight I thought of the Sanskrit greeting we say to one another in Nepal and India. Namaste. As Ram Dass explains it: "I honour that place in you where the entire universe resides. I honour the place of love, of light, of truth of peace." And the part that I love the most; for he captures the essence of a soul to soul encounter perfectly: "I honour the place within you, where if you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us."
Perhaps if we could all hold onto the perception that in a deep sense we really are our brother's keeper - then how could anyone harm anyone else? If we literally all are One Self, and murder is thus suicide, then a felt universal compassion would make it impossible for humans to engage in such atrocities. "When one is weeping, the whole world suffers too."
How much calmer it was to walk in this delicate landscape.
Poppies amidst fields of wheat in rural Slovenia.