I used to be a Terwilliger Nature Guide. Mrs. T. would discover something in nature and shout, "Something Special." I feel that today, how special the moments at play.
I have been reading Diane Ackerman's book, The Zookeeper's Wife, a true story about a zookeeper and his wife in Poland and how they risked their lives to save the lives of many Jewish people when the Nazis invaded Poland. The book is inspiring because it shows how many people did help. People were not apathetic. They did what they could and lives were saved. This particular couple, Jan and Antonina Zabinski were amazingly brave and clever in saving Jewish lives.
There is a paragraph in the book that surprises me because it share so much of what I know of Buddhism, of what I try to keep in my awareness and practice.
"Shapira's Hasidism included transcendent meditation, training the imagination and channeling the emotions to achieve mystical visions. They ideal way, Shapira taught, was to "witness one's thoughts to correct negative habits and character traits." A thought observed will start to weaken, especially negative thoughts, which he advised students not to enter into but examine dispassionately. If they sat on the bank watching their stream of thoughts flow by, without being swept away by them, they might achieve a form of meditation called hashkatah: silencing the conscious mind. He also preached "Sensitization to Holiness," a process of discovering the holiness within oneself. The Hasidic tradition included mindfully attending to everyday life, as eighteeth-century teacher Alexander Susskind taught: "When you eat and drink, you experience enjoyment and pleasure from the food and drink. Arouse yourself every moment to ask in wonder, "What is this enjoyment and pleasure? What is it that I am tasting?"
The Golden Rule seems to balance each religion. How do we get so askew?
Thomas Merton had this to say:
One of the most disturbing facts that came out in the [Adolf] Eichmann trial was that a psychiatrist examined him and pronounced him perfectly sane. I do not doubt it at all, and that is precisely why I find it disturbing. . . . .
The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are the most dangerous.
It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared. What makes us so sure, after all, that the danger comes from a psychotic getting into a position to fire the first shot in a nuclear war? Psychotics will be suspect. The sane ones will keep them far from the button. No one suspects the sane, and the sane ones will have perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons, for firing the shot. They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all. When the missiles take off, then, it will be no mistake.
Thomas Merton. "A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolf Eichmann" in Raids on the Unspeakable. New York: New Directions Publishing Co., 1964: 45, 46-47.
Thought to Remember:
I think it is why we must remember the words of Robin Williams.
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.