The video footage online this week of two police murders of black men is clearly the detonation that will demolish many cherished and false ideals in the USA, namely that all men are created equal and that racism more or less ended with the impact of the civil rights movement.
Alton Sterling was shot in Baton Rouge with video showing he was murdered while in a prone position, held down by officers. Then Philandro Castile was killed in his own car while reaching for his drivers licence when pulled over for a minor traffic violation. His girlfriend in the passenger seat live streamed the immediate aftermath on Facebook, putting the graphic evidence into the public domain.
This recent exposure of severe police brutality is the match on a kerosene soaked anger that has been brewing in the human psyche: It is the anger of “enough.” The same righteous anger that purportedly propelled Jesus to overturn the tables of money lenders in a temple meant for holy contemplation, is now flaring in the hearts of US, and global, citizens.
You see the whole ten commandments gig (thou shalt not kill) and the wisdom traditions that preach “do no harm” are impotent unless the one who would even consider harming other is demolished. And the only thing that can do this demolishment, is grace.
In the meantime, anger that comes from a deep well of honoring the connectedness of all beings is a flare of light in the dark. We don’t awaken and sit around chanting OM, when OM could be best amplified with overtones of “NO MORE and ENOUGH.”
I watched this video today. I was surprisingly not angry after seeing this heart-wrenching footage of a man dying in a front seat of his car, his girlfriend filming and clearly–at first–not knowing the gravity of her beloved’s injuries.
The feeling that arose was sadness. I could hear the strident fear in the police officer’s voice as he still held a gun at the woman filming. I could hear his own recoil and horror as he tried to defend his actions, which clearly happened in a split second of reaction that I imagine this man will relive for the rest of his life.
My heart broke for this woman–her four year old daughter in the back seat witnessing it all–who started filming her live Facebook video thinking she was “reporting” bad cops, and not getting yet that her man was dying inches away.
I felt sorrow for this young 32-year-old man who was dying.
And I felt even sadder for all of us. All of us who still live under the fiction that other is not yourself. This is the heart of darkness. This is why cops kill black men. Why the Hutu people attempted genocide on the Tutsi. Why all wars are waged. Why all guns are fired. Why all weapons are drawn.
An awakened heart cares about the suffering of all beings. And righteous anger can be a path to that awakening heart.
I bow to the angry ones, the righteous ones who would rise up to see the All-ness. That does not mean hating the cop who killed someone, or villainizing the police, or making saints out of the slain. That is the polarity that is at the heart of the illusion of me versus you. When the truth is: I am You. You are Me. There is no Other.
“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.” — Buddha
Or I would say, hatred not not cease through hatred. But through seeing there is no other to hate. When that is seen, love is left.
And love breaks the chains…