Monday, May 2, 2011

To the Rapture

Is Osama Bin Laden in his rapture? 72 virgins and all that?
As I wake up today to the news that this long hunted enemy of democracy is dead I feel both relief, triumph and darkness at the same time. I do not feel joy. I cannot rejoice in the death of a human life. I can rejoice in perserverance, a stand for freedom and for our brave soliders. But still, killing has taken place.
I wonder though, in the name of Allah, if it was all worth it to Osama and his followers, if his death now actually has him in peace, in his heaven as his religion tells him. In his point of view, he died fighting in the name of his God.

We have visited many places of worship, Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, and in the past two weeks we have taken our children to two religious events where God, Heaven and afterlife have been of much discussion. Not sure how much my children absorbed while they ran around a park at an evangelical service on Easter morning and the minister spoke of Jesus being alive...or last night while they ran in and out of the Hare Krishna Temple in Laguna Beach and saw the devotees chanting, jumping and dancing...but the exposure was fascinating and important to me. It's important to me that my children are exposed to different ways to pray, to be devoted, to feel the rapture of divine connection, here on earth. The differences are vast and enchanting and a crucial part of being a compassionate and vital human being. There is something to my very core that opposes one way, even my way. That's why I try to remain open. There is no one way to get to heaven I believe. Really. Who says? Only us. Only the God that WE say is important, ( nobody makes God mean something to us but us) so in the end, only we say there is one way.
So standing in Adventure, Love and Learning, our family explores those ways.
At the Chapel service on Easter morning in a gorgeous San Juan Capistrano park, we are touched by the community, the welcoming, the attentiveness to children, fun and generosity. What a wonderful gathering of people devoted to the freedom of every person through choosing to believe that Jesus died for us and he is resurrected. I was moved to tears by the people who bravely chose to stand up and go to the front to chose Jesus Christ as their personal savior. I could relate deeply to the choosing of a new life, of being free from past "sins" (a loaded word for me, I detest the make wrong in it...we are simply human and do things that don't work, that's all) and choosing a pathway which has them assured a place in heaven and most importantly, freedom from worry and concern about that here on earth. I rejoice in their choice. I love their courage and connectedness to others. As they drape their arms around each other at the front of the stage, I cry tears of relatedness and relief for them. We all want to be free. They are free.

At the Hare Krishna Temple, sitting on a smooth, cool tile floor, I was fascinated by the presentation of the hundreds or thousands of temples around the world, curious about the words when the chanting began and soothed by the slow movement that began to ripple across the colorful crowd in the incensed temple. I swayed with them, gazing at the sensual blue figures of goddess and gods, manifested from Hare Krishna, a figure much like the Dali Lama who reincarnates over and over again. My eyes feasted on the apples, bananas, oranges and strawberries that decorated the stage, windowsills and alter, like sprinkles in this sacred temple. The woman wore bright saris, dresses, skirts and glowed with femininity. The men mostly wore white, varied between shaved heads or shaggy long hair, and they stood proud, men radiating power, strength and a steadfastness. The groups shifted and I noticed the men were mostly on the left and women mostly on the right. The women swayed, began taking dance steps and the men beat harder on the drums, chanting louder and louder. As the pace progress, hands were raised, smiles beamed across the room, women grasped hands or touched each others shoulders with tenderness and grace. The chanting grew louder, the steps moved faster and the energy built up, a palpable buzz swirling with intoxicating exotic incense and devoted rapture. I felt a stirring and then a wave of emotion, the energy of the room washed over me and I believe I flushed, I felt encompassed and swept up by the devotion and what they call cosmic energy in the room. They chanting and drum beats were so fast they overlapped each other, faster faster faster.My sons held their hands over their ears and needed to leave. I stayed and swayed, smiling with the women, admiring the all-out fever and jumping in the mens side. My heart swelled with admiration that human beings spend time to unabashedly, freely and completely devote themselves to something larger, something unseen, something completely of faith. People want to feel love and devotion. These devotees do.

They will all go to Heaven I believe, and most importantly, through their devotion I believe they are creating Heaven here on earth now. I believe my family will too, no matter our faith, because it's what we believe. Just as Osama, despite his unimaginable acts of violence, because HE believes he was a devoted servant of his God, is in his souls expression of rapture. I want to believe he is in Hell for what he did, but that's where the darkness sets in. I choose the light. He believed what he believed and he has what he believed.
As we continue to explore spirtuality, religion and faith, we are creating our own Heaven on earth. It is Heaven on earth to me to Learn together, to go on Adventures and be fascinated by other human beings, to be enveloped in Love and another's welcoming hands. Heaven.
Thank you to our hosts.
Someday, perhaps, we will choose a "home" for our expression of spiritual connection and host others the way we have been received. We continue the exploration.

Zen Honeycutt

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