I am captivated by this story about the white helmets (watch the first 12 minutes of the video above). This takes place in a different world than the one in which most of us live. It is a different culture and a different political climate: a dictatorship in which the dictator seeks to bomb his own subjects into submission. People are not even safe in their own homes. This is not the first regime of this kind in the Middle East, but it is a far cry from the relative comfort we enjoy in the west. Yet compassionate humanity is juxtaposed with the darkest violence and cruelty.
What strikes me about this group of rescuers is their willingness to risk their own lives for the chance to save others. This is not the only story of humans giving up their lives for one another. I write about all who have chosen to risk life and limb for others. Anyone who has put themselves in the position to sacrifice for others has reached a level of spirituality to which we can all aspire: they have given their most precious life for something they believe in. As they sacrifice their lives, they say to us, “There is something that exists beyond life that is more important than life itself.” This is what gives our lives meaning. We might be tempted to think they are foolish to risk their lives depending on their cause, but we can also not help being inspired: “Could I be that brave?” The unmistakeable meaning that is demonstrated in such selfless sacrifice is that love trumps all. Our connection with one another is worth dying for.
When bad things happen, it is easy for us to feel as if God has abandoned us or is punishing us, even though it is clear good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. We sometimes start to feel guilty or as if we need to change course when bad things happen since we think if we are “doing things right,” we should be rewarded! Yet the sun rises on the evil and the good and rain falls on the righteous and unrighteous. Basically, it’s a crapshoot. The fact that bad things are happening to you does not necessarily mean you have done something wrong or you are headed in the wrong direction. It could, but sometimes it means you’re headed in the right direction. I often tell people (usually when they are setting a boundary or trying on some new behavior), “If it’s difficult, you know you’re doing it right!” People don’t usually like that. 🙂
Do not neglect to hope. Hope is the thing that can draw you into your new life. I am not saying everything will be perfect, but so often we just settle for what we have, not being able to see past the dark, looming forest before us. Hope comes in handy especially when you feel like you are in a rut – in a relationship or in your job, for example. If you go to work everyday or just try to get by in your family everyday, putting up with the same old tired patterns, you will get depressed. On the other hand, you can craft new responses to the same old situations, thereby creating a new cycle that will hopefully lead you to a different and better place. Hope is the vehicle. If you have a dearth of hope, you will lack creativity as well, which is needed to design these new responses. Each of us carries this hope. The small flicker sometimes just needs to be fanned into a vibrant flame.
If you listen, you can connect with this voice which is underneath all the things that normally fill our senses. It is happening on a different wavelength, a different plane, but you can tune in to it if you have some patience. All the things right in front of us and all the things people are saying tend to distract us from it and sometimes we forget it is there, but our minds and souls are meant to be in a state of resonance with it. Call it the real reality, call it process, call it “what is really going on”, call it the eternal – whatever you want. It is real and it is that which our spiritual practices help us to access. Our spiritual practices are there to help us push back all the distractions and noise and tune in to reality.