As the politicians wrangle heatedly, peace in the Middle East seems impossible too, its expectant calm threatening to become inflammatory, even more than it has been for years. There is a trace of a parallel that can be drawn between the two scenarios, and I am so grateful that I am not one of those brave souls who have chosen to live in the troubled lands that are the focus of world attention. My appreciation for being able to be in a place of serenity and beauty is unbounded.
While it may seem as if the life of a Syrian is far separated from mine, it is not so, except in terms of geography. The core teaching of the Spiritual Wisdoms is that everything is interconnected through the Life and the Light which is in everything, everywhere: I am part of the mountains and waters before me, I am part of you, and I am part of Syria – just as you are. It is ironic that our world leaders argue and threaten and attack, but actually they are fighting themselves. How different would their actions be if they knew the hurt they inflict is hurt upon themselves?
It is easy and tempting to watch the scenes of great cruelty and suffering in many lands, not just Syria, and to be comforted, in our observations, by the fact that we are not a part of those faraway horrors – but we are. It does not mean we must wallow in emotion or become preoccupied by these sad events, but the awareness of our interconnectedness with all that is may cause us, at least, to have great compassion for the people caught up in situations which involve us too. And we can do more than feel: we can pray, for all souls, everywhere, including our own.