Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Feelings vs. Thoughts: Aftermath of Osama

I think aside from all the obvious political ramifications of Osama Bin Laden's death (finally), there are some interesting lessons I'm seeing here. There are plenty of opportunities to learn right now. So pay attention.

As I watch my Facebook stream flow and echo with the thoughts of my friends list, there is a clear contrast between those who are unabashedly happy about today's events versus those who are glad but guilty or downright angry about the celebratory comments from some.

"What does Christianity or (insert religion here) teach about the death of an enemy?" --- from my more religious brothers and sisters....

"Boooyah!!!!" -- from my more honest and less guilty friends

"Why are you celebrating the death of a human being, you animals??" -- from my compassionate, and also honest, but perhaps in some cases 'holier than thou' companions

I am sure there are also those, like me, who are feeling all three things. Perhaps we all are. I admit to it, at least.

Here's the lesson: All of those positions are valid. All of those people feel justified in what they are saying and feeling. All of those positions have aspects that both create unity among us and divide us.

In my personal view, the Conscious thing to do here is accept that all of these points exist and are valid, and not try to eliminate any one of them by shouting or creating MORE division, but rather to understand that everyone who takes one or more of these positions has got reasons for doing so. Then look at the person and try to understand what reasons they have. A new picture might emerge, enabling true compassion for what that person is saying or feeling, and at that point their actual position may not matter anymore, because you have now increased your view of the terrain, so to speak.

Also let's remember that we can't really control what emotions we feel, but we CAN control our actions in regard to those emotions. I feel pretty darn happy right now, but I think it might sit the wrong way in my own conscience if I go out to crack open a few bottles of champaign. I don't begrudge anyone who does, because.... I'm sure they have reasons.... but for me, that's not what I feel is right.