The Form of What Has Never Been Before

"Early this morning, there was fog & as the sun rose around us, everything began to glow & it made me wonder what this world will become for us when we remember in our bones that even the darkness is just another shape of light." - Brian Andreas

The day before the Unity Rally, I listened to Reverend Ray at Unity of Louisville share that their congregation believes every human being carries the Christ presence deep within - every human, even Donald Trump. They believe each person harbors at their core the capacity to be transformed and liberated in as little as a single moment. Therefore, although opposing people's unjust and violent actions is necessary, so is maintaining respect for their dignity no matter how abhorrently they have violated the dignity of others.

The next day, neighbors from across our city gathered in Unity to celebrate connections across boundaries and revel in the common Light of our being. While Trump spoke words of hate and division from his podium and his constituents instigated violence, those who attended our rally intentionally chose not to share negativity toward him or any other, instead holding up our common hopes and love. The clashing reverberations of Trump's rally further downtown and the lyrical, musical, community gathering at which I stood were almost as palpable as the thunderclaps overhead.

In spite of the beauty of the Unity Rally, this week has been shadowed by dark clouds of suffering and righteous despair in our city. Last night, when a friend invited me to meditation at the Drepung Gomang Center, I went to find some space to be silent and release my internal anxiety and fear. I sat and let the monks' mantras wash over me in cleansing sound waves that spoke of cosmic compassion, the noble venture to unify all beings, and the human task to honor our emptiness as individuals and awaken to our common identity.

The prayerful syllables painted mental pictures of snowy mountains and clear plains: soft, fresh, open spaces.I felt my awareness pan out to our planet as a collective Lifeform...and let myself dissolve into the silence, imagining generations of humans seeking to bring forth a new world. In the dark, I envisioned swirling particles and gasses aeons away in supernovae and nebulae, striving to form something that had never been before.

"If there were no internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level — indeed in the molecule itself — it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in hominized form...Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being."

"There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.” - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Last Saturday, I saw a Facebook status posted by a friend that articulated his vision for a peaceful, celebratory event in opposition to Trump's political rally happening Tuesday. I knew of Jaison from his extensive community work in Louisville but had never met him personally. Nevertheless, his idea resonated deeply with me: being 7 months pregnant and knowing I would have my 20-month-old in tow the day of Trump's rally, I, too, was looking for a nonviolent place to share with others. I reached out and agreed to make an electronic event for organizing.

Little did I realize that having my name on the electronic event would mean taking on a significant role in bringing it to life. Over the three days in which we planned this rally, I came to meet (first in virtual space, then face-to-face) many incredible, compassionate people I perhaps would have not otherwise met: Jaison, Muhammad Babar, Pinky, Reverends Valerie and Ray, and scores of others who showed up at the rally to make our time one of true community. 

Standing onstage and looking out at the bright diversity of ages and colors, identities and imaginations represented in those gathered together, tears sprang to my eyes. My son and nephew played drums and danced at the back of the room. I saw family members and friends and unknown faces that shone with a familiar longing. The baby in my womb kicked. I felt overwhelmed by the wonder of what can happen when we seek each other out and choose to recognize one another as extensions of the same body.

None of the key organizers had met prior to this event, but the mutual respect and trust shown between us in our planning, even as perfect strangers, left no one alien. All were invited to create this place of joy and celebration. It would have been impossible for any one of us to make the gathering a reality on our own. Tapped into the well of human potential, honoring the light and dark of each one, we gathered as a beacon against the gray hatred seething to the north. Here, simply by sitting together in our humanness, we demonstrated how our country can be great.

"In every age, no matter how cruel the oppression carried on by those in power, there have been those who struggled for a different world. I believe this is the genius of humankind, the thing that makes us half divine: the fact that some human beings can envision a world that has never existed.” - Anne Braden

I continue to read the rolling updates of the horrors that happened down the street that day at the other rally. Slurs and hate speech, attacks and assaults, outright recruitment for hate groups, all from people blazoned with ball caps declaring that such demonstrations will "Make America Great Again" swim across my screen. My chest tightens and my heart aches. What am I thinking, bringing babies into this world? How will I begin to teach them why these evils persist? How can I address my regular complacency when the injustice isn't echoing so loudly in my city streets? How will I know that I am tending well to myself and my family instead of escaping from the horror?

This morning, like a prayer or a gift or an invocation, thick flakes of snow began to fall as my family watched through the window. The spontaneous beauty took our breath away. In the half-light of morning, my boy and I settled in the dark for an early nap. We are tired, but this exhaustion empties me of my desires. Instead, I feel welling up an energy deeper than wakefulness. This awareness is light and dark, illumination and mystery. It is the look in my son's eyes when he says, "I love you!" and nestles his face in my neck. It is my husband's steady hand on my back when he knows I am afraid but am acting anyway. It is the knowledge that I do not stand alone and delighting in the discovery of each fellow companion. It is honoring my own faults, looking squarely at our country's gaping wounds, and feeling the pain. It is knowing that the body is not healed until all parts are healed.

I feel peace settle like snow across a tree branch, ephemeral and transient, sustained by each falling flake. I trust we can only create the world anew if we notice and try to create examples of how it can look. I believe we must let our children speak to us about their dreams to know what the future holds. I have faith that filling our hearts with music and poetry, celebrating humankind's myriad manifestations, and honoring each person as something precious to the earth will teach us why we stand together. I honor the cosmic movement in our collective efforts as we strive to form something that has never been before.

"Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness. The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared. The light spread until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure." - Madeleine L'Engle