Peggy sent this to me. I felt it was such a good story of how we come to a clearer understanding of Life Purpose that I wanted to share it.
Reflections from Peggy Smith's Journal:
On September 9th, 2001 I left Seattle, WA for my first cross country train ride. My destination was Denver. I arrived in Denver on the evening of September 10th. The next morning I found my journey had been altered. My reality had been altered. My senses were unable to find the world I thought I lived in. This is an excerpt from my journal.
I want to thank a dear friend of mine who has inspired me in so many ways. She recently sent out an email that re-kindled my thoughts. Her question was “what can we do?” In her newsletter she shared the concept of having community “meet-ups”. A place and time to gather in the memory of those we have lost. Welcome to my "meet-up."
This is where I was 10 years ago.
Journal Entry: Sept. 16th, 2001
God, Satan and the Human Heart
And now the worst possible blight has stricken mankind. Hatred is not a new disease and it is possible that it may never be eradicated from our planet but what if we could become 100% of our potential as loving human beings? What would the next generation look like? Could it be a place without hate, violence and war? In his book, An Open Heart, the Dalai Lama shares these thoughts.
“I believe that every human being has an innate desire for happiness and does not want to suffer. I believe that each of us has the same potential to develop inner peace and there by achieve happiness and joy.”
These are simple, loving words from His Holiness, and as I read them I realized that they resonated very much with my personal simplistic, idealistic view of reality. But that was before I was witness to the atrocity showered upon my country, my people, and my home. When I left Seattle, I had so many questions about everything. I was ready to find the answers and recreate my life. It was time. It had been over a year since my husband had died and I wanted to gain clarity about my path. Now I am returning home with twice as many questions. As I was mindlessly channel surfing on my car radio, I happened upon a conversation about the weakness or power of our spiritual beliefs. Normally, I would have skipped over this program, but normal no longer existed. The question presented by the radio commentator was the universal question facing all of those who believe in God. “If God is all powerful and loving and protects his followers, why did he let this happen?”
I do not know the name or religious affiliation of the person being questioned but his answer held a wisdom and understanding that I share whenever I can. A theologian answers; “God did not let this happen. Satan used the human condition and the gift of free will that God has granted to direct man to this act of evil. Men of free will manipulated by Satan are responsible. Not God.”
Interviewer, “But God supposedly has power over Satan. Why didn’t he use this power to save innocent people?”
Theologian; “Satan and God co-exist and can be the source of our destruction or our strength. This is not a new struggle for man to face. It happened when thousands of Jews were slaughtered. It happens every time there is death by aggression, greed, prejudice and all of the other traits that man’s worst can conjure.”
Interviewer; “So then we are in a hopeless contract of not being able to save ourselves. There really is nothing we can do but hope that Satan is not more powerful than God at any given moment.”
Theologian; “If this were true, Satan would always win because he thrives on fear and hopelessness. But the fact is that God and goodness will prevail over evil. Look closely at the faces of the people who are becoming known as our nation’s heroes. Satan has already lost just by the action of evil because our reaction is to give care, support and loving kindness to each other. We have already begun to rise in renewed spiritual strength from the ashes of destruction. I think that you and I should really be asking the question, “Why not me? Why have I been left alive when the possibility of death is so near to each of us at this time? What have I been left here to do?” If you are able to be witness, to grieve the loss and then ask why, the next question is simple. Why are you here? I think that everyone in our nation should not go to sleep tonight without finding an answer to that question and in that answer we will all know that God is within each of us. Satan cannot step in where God and goodness fill the heart.”
Traditional Christian dogma is far from my personal spiritual belief but in these words there is a message that is important for anyone that is stunned beyond reason and cannot seem to make enough sense out of life in order to take the next step. The magnitude of what happened on Sept 11th will never be forgotten and will continue to be felt in generations to come. We cannot change the events of this horror but maybe the best thing to do is to move forward and ask, “What I am left here to do?”
When these words came to me I was driving across the expansive plains of Colorado. I had become a pilgrim of sorts and had just spent a week or so with a wonderful group of people who knew, with out a doubt, what they were here to do. It was my privilege to have met Carl Barnes, a seed saver. He is the steward of a collection of native corn seeds. He knows what his life is about.
One evening while visiting with Carl as the sun, the sky and the magic of the earth were painting the horizon, I asked how he had been affected by the hostilities and terrorism that had fallen upon our country. He gazed thoughtfully into the sunset and said, “Nothing has changed for me because I am blessed with knowing why I am here. I will continue doing my work and embracing my purpose. If you know what you are here to do and focus on your contribution to mankind you are never afraid.”
The wisdom of a farmer and the prayers from the Dalai Lama may be languages apart but the insights are the same. The following is a prayer, again from the Dalai Lama;
So long as space remains,
So long as sentient beings remain,
I will remain,
In order to help, in order to serve,
In order to make my own contribution.
It is the Buddhist belief that our enemies are here to teach and guide us to the right way and without them we could not achieve spiritual enlightenment. Yet it is so difficult to understand such hatred and destruction and see that it holds any good purpose in our universe. And this is when I think of the seeds. There was a time when the only seeds that survived the worst growing conditions possible were able to germinate the next harvest of food. Out of the heat of drought and the blasts of burning winds, a stronger more resilient generation is born; born to be stronger by their ability to endure. I still can find no sense or logic in the actions of the terrorists. I see the unity of our country and the brightness of those who were transformed by this loss and I hope that in the years to come the next generations may eventually be inoculated against the disease of hatred. But for now we should ask, “What am I left here to do?”
I find it no coincidence that the Dalai Lama’s new book is just now available and in gratitude for His wisdom I would like to share one last Buddhist prayer.
“A practice to warm the Heart.”
May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy.
May the forlorn find new hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.
May the frightened cease to be afraid,
And those bound be free.
May the weak find power,
And may their heart join in friendship.
As I close this story, American forces are bombing Afghanistan. We are at war. Let us all hold on to one great dream. The Dream that we will soon see the dawn of peace forever on our globe and come to know in our hearts what each of us has been left here to do and in that knowing we will accomplish that Dream.
That was ten years ago. Today is Sept. 10th 2011.
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