A message sent to a Oakland PD officer, whose a friend, now at a distance. I was just getting in touch while a confrontation between police and protesters was on TV, and the sad inchoate tensions that were on display for too many reasons to understand, prompted me to send a note.His response was perfect and gave me a joy…first a portion of the note I sent him.
“I hope all is well with you…I just bumped into the messenger thingie and saw your name. So, after just going through Facebook stuff, there sure are a lot of good hearted-well-intentioned folks out there getting themselves all shook up about a lot of variations of injustice and the-world-is fucked-up conversations. A lot of those conversations are about compassion and loving each other and all that, actually good stuff; but I think most people can’t accept the fact that the world, as constituted is neither fair, nor just, and neither evil nor ill-intentioned. The world is what it is. Everybody, for the most part gets up in the morning with basically good hearts and intentions and yet huge mistakes are made. My own experience, vast, in mistake making; is that none of them were ever really planned, they seemed to form without my awareness and suddenly there I was…
So, the point: I assume your job has always been a difficult one, within our world of recovery in the midst of life we do have tools; even so it’s hard to bear sometimes. I just want to say you have my deep gratitude for the work you do and did and that the world is in fact a better place because police officers do commit to helping, and helping in circumstances that most people only encounter once or twice in their lives if at all. Take heart and know that you and your fellow officers are appreciated, and its difficult to respond to the world as constituted, for everyone. Another life lost, during protest for a life lost. When will we learn? We will, it is just going to take a long time when ruled by circumstance. Best wishes, friend.”
Then his response…
“…I’ve been trying to practice meditation and keep calm during the extreme chaos and confusion. I know in my heart I am a peaceful person and the ones that yell at me, throwing rocks, bottles and hurl molotov cocktails at me dont know me, and don’t know my heart… so I put my shield down and meditate. That’s my only solution…. This too shall pass Helmut …”
There are no actual sides. Just human predicaments and a huge variety of choices in response. I liked this choice and I hope I can do the same in all conditions.
The Kesa Verse; (Recited at the end of the first meditation of the Day)
How great and wondrous are the
Clothes of enlightenment,
Formless and embracing every
Treasure; I wish to unfold the
Buddha’s teaching that I may
Help all living things