When I see the pictures from Bucha, I feel a part of me dying, losing hope, falling into fear, closing down. And when I meditate, I feel the ache in my gut, in my legs, in my face.
My years on the cushion have taught me to just feel, just feel.
Drop the commentary. Drop the narratives. Simply be with fear, anger, and rage dispassionately as they play themselves out in the psyche. Watch the enticements toward reactivity, but don't follow them. Just watch the mind looping, looping.
The Buddha pointed out the many conditioned loops the mind can go through, and a way out. The big loop, of course, is samsara. And the way out is always through–clean through our resistance.
A clean death leads to a clean resurrection. By clean, I mean free from reactivity and resistance.
This is the work of meditation. Observing our resistance and feeling our way through, not falling into reactivity, and coming out alive, fresh, newly emboldened to work for the benefit of others.
I can’t remember who said this–that our pain for the world, of seeing the image from Bucha–is not a mistake to be corrected. Our attempts to get rid of this pain, through anger or hatred, only make it worse, as the Buddha never tired of telling us.
I can see the Four Noble Truths everywhere I look. The truth of this world is painful, but ignorance is more painful. The path is through the pain.
The Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988, wrote in one of his novels: