Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

This is the day we remember and honor fallen soldiers. Who the enemies or friends were in past wars gets forgotten over the years. All that remains in our minds is the surrender and obedience of soldiers to something bigger than themselves. The soldier with the heavy machine gun, having killed many before being killed himself, remains to strike me as somewhat innocent. Maybe it is because of the discipline, and the surrender to authority, that a soldier agrees to live by. His willingness to give up his own will and to face death, or a difficult life after war, trusting in something beyond himself.
Today we wonder about sacrifice, obedience, and surrender to authority. We have seen it go terribly wrong too often. And still - the fallen soldier, as well as the still fighting soldier, has my admiration, my gratitude, my compassion and has me wondering whether the rest of us have become too selfish, too obsessed with our own will and comfort, and too busy gobbling up the earth with our consumerism.
We do not yet live in a world where war is unnecessary. Some day we will. It will take many more soldiers to get there. Too many. I thank them all for the peace and freedom they have created so far in the Western World.
From a spiritual point of view I know that freedom cannot be gained without trust far beyond reason, surrendering of one's will, and the willingness to face death or a difficult life. As such, even the Buddhist who would not even kill a fly, hoping for liberation, can learn much from the soldier. And the soldier some day may need the Buddhist to teach him how to still the mind.

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