I believe that we have two ways to respond to any tragedy: to love, or to fear. In watching the public reaction on Twitter and on the news, I have seen that polarity even more clearly. I was in Italy when I heard about the atrocities which were taking place in Paris. I didn't sleep the entire night.
I was imagining the suffering of innocent people and trying to calm the rage that filled me as I imagined men dressed in black perform these horrible acts.
I felt the anger and fear filling within and made a conscious choice to experience the feelings but ultimately to let them go. I needed to love in the face of hatred, that was the only way.
I chose to step back from my involvement with the crisis as a professional (working on STRChttp://solvetherefugeecrisis.com/) and to try and observe the incident from a human perspective. Filled with biases, memories, feelings, and dreams—it was difficult for me to extract myself from my ego.
But one thing became clear: My ego was causing me to fear. I wanted to buckle down and protect my family. I wanted to retract and hide.
As I felt these waves of emotions wash over me, I realized I had to make a choice: to love or to fear.
Through my sleepless night on Friday I combed through all these things. Despite my gut reaction of fear, I made a conscious choice to love. To love the suffering, to love the afraid, to love the perpetrators, to love my family and myself—that was my choice.
It was not an easy one, and it is easier said than done, but if I am going to live a life worth living I need to learn how to love my enemies as well as my friends and learn how to love them well...
This is not something that can be done alone, and this is not something that is natural. I believe that a radical spiritual transformation is required to love our enemies, and it is one that I am not familiar with. It is not something I can guide other people through but it is something I'd like to aim for. In many ways, I feel life is more about the journey than the destination.
In the midst of this crisis I choose to journey towards love and to pore my heart mind and soul into loving those around me. I want to serve those people who are afflicted by this crisis. I want to serve those people who have the capacity to help.
This is my response.
What is yours?