Reflections from the last war/ conflict between Israel and Gaza….
The war got me on the fifth day. On the way back to Tel Aviv from a work visit to the west bank I was suddenly filled up with deep sorrow. Raw. Heavy.
It was the overwhelming sorrow of an unnecessary war with all it’s meaning – the dead ones and the wounded ones, the rockets and missiles and millions of people looking for shelter. It was the sound of the alarming siren that went through my entire being and woke up some ancient post traumatic bodily reactions from previous wars and conflicts. It was the helplessness vis-a-vis an overwhelming sense of fearful and angry collective consciousness and voices who openly and loudly wanted a war to continue. It was the disheartening thought that I’m used to war and conflict as this last one was my 7th or 8th full scale violent conflict in this life time (this is something I wrote ten years ago). It was the discouraging idea that despite years of wholehearted attempts and an endless investments of time and heart into trying to bring about an end to this conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, nothing me , my friends and colleagues and the ones before us have done, mattered.
It was also the sadness of others, of dear ones, who recently went through personal terror, lost, separation and life changing events that left them vulnerable, confused and hurting. And it was also the sorrow of personal unresolved grief, the recent death of my beloved auntie and the helplessness of watching her dying so painfully. The frustration of professional failures, the pain of distrusting someone, a sense of betrayal, confusion, “selfing” or simply not getting what I want. It was the sadness of being alive in this world. It was raw sadness, the one which the Buddha called the first noble truth, there is Dukkha.
On the evening news they showed a missile being intercepted by a sophisticated defense mechanism. The people talking on the TV Studio applaud the machine and the men behind it and were very excited with its performance.
But I suddenly saw something else. Something I hadn’t seen before. I suddenly realized that once the rockets/ missiles hit each other they both dissolved into the vastness of the sky. Somehow – the metal, the explosive, the fire, the smoke and the rest of it – all of it disappears into the infinity of the sky. Something that moments ago appeared as life threatening literally disappeared into thin air. Alchemy. Magic.
And it went on this image and I suddenly realized that the sadness, too, can dissolve into that vastness of sky, of space, of infinite. The sadness and grief and sorrow and fear. And somehow in the midst of war I was given the gift of infinity. I was reminded that whatever happens to Adva appears and disappears into that vastness. And there was a sense of sky in the heart, an extension of the capacity of the heart to take it all- the sorrows and the joy, the failures , rejections, confusion, judgments, stress and not getting what I want as well as the joy of being able to do something wholesome for another, to be able to listen to a friend, being listened to, the smile of a child, a beautiful tree and the pleasant smell of rain. The whole lot. None of it matters. All of it matters.
I “lost” that sense of vastness of sky somewhere in Bhubanewhwar, a few months ago. Somehow, in the midst of a war, I was given back the gift of sky. The sky within me.