Where Are You Standing?

488. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

It is First Thursday, the night that artists across Seattle open their studios. To pass the time as we await the crowd, PaTan, the artist across the hall, shared with me a Life magazine from 1994. It has four articles that, read together, have my head spinning.

The first is entitled, “Saving The Endangered 100;” it is a photographic list of 100 species of plants and animals in America that are, by now, most likely gone. The second article is about the young boy who was identified as the reincarnation of Ling Rinpoche, tutor of the Dalai Lama. This boy will be the teacher of the next Dalai Lama. The third is an overview of Ken Burn’s Baseball documentary series. The fourth is a photo essay called “Eyewitness to Rwanda.”

Genocide, baseball, extinction, and among highest forms of spiritual tradition – all wrapped in a glossy cover under the umbrella name, “Life.” The magazine reads like a spectrum of human capabilities; the greatest horror to the heights of poetry. It is shocking, inspiring, troubling, breathtaking, overwhelming,…. It is life. At least it is life as we report it; it is life as we story it.

I long ago stopped asking why we do what we do. Asking the “why” question almost always brought a fixation on the horrors and injustice so that I’d miss entirely the other end of the spectrum. Asking “why” assumed the existence of “an answer.” What possible answer can there be for mass murder? What possible explanation is worthy of the reincarnation of a great teacher? There are beliefs, assumptions and justifications. There are stories. We destroy and we create; depending upon where you stand sometimes my creation brings your destruction; Oppenheimer learned this all too clearly. Is it right? Is it wrong? I no longer believe anything is clean enough for such small absolutes. Life is messy.

There are better questions and they usually come in pairs. For instance, “Where are you standing?” is a great question. Locate yourself but don’t stop there! Before justifying your actions consider asking, “I wonder what might this look like if I stood over there with you?”

2 Responses

  1. There was so much color added to my life when I started looking around from where you were standing, my friend. Thanks for sharing the road with me.

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