Just Jean is one woman's life journey in this world. These brief essays speak about the ordinary magic of everyday life and people. During our life journey there are an infinite number of chance meetings that impact our life forever. These are opportunities to connect deeply to our common humanity both fearlessly and daringly. Basic goodness is available to us all. There is always a fresh moment waiting in the next breath to press the reset button and begin again, to love again.
Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Christ and The Buddha -- True Oneness through Loss and Emptiness
“Treasure what you have
and when it is gone be happy that you had it.”
I am sitting in my car which is parked on the shore of Lake
Erie.I can see the land jutting out to
the south of me and the windmills in the town I grew up, Lackawanna, their counterclockwise spinning
generating clean energy that is being harvested for the families
in my hometown.
I grew up here on the edge of this waking world. Buffalo
feels to all my senses as a community that is coming awake, enlightening in the
first part of this 21st century.The wind farm, urban food farms, refugees from Burma and Somalia and
Bhutan transforming our cityscape with their food and farms and spiritual lives,
local food and farmer’s markets, grassroots action and mindfulness community
growing.And yet, I sit here with a hollow and raw human heart
freshly wounded by the madness of one young man and wonder why. What could have
brought him to this point of insanity to massacre so many children?Was it something we as a society are
creating?How can we change collectively
to ameliorate this senseless violence?
My mind feels numb, my heart feels the agony inflicted, and these are not even my children, this is not my boys’
school, I knew no one from Newtown, at least I didn’t think so until this
morning when I awoke early on what is my youngest son’s 12th birthday,
and I picked up my phone to check Facebook and see that I do indeed know
someone from there.A Facebook friend
and mother also interested in creating a good and healthy world for her
children had just moved out of that very town two years ago, and her children had
attended that very school.My 14 year
old son told me only a couple days ago that we are mathematically separated by a
mere six degrees of separation on this earth as long as the person is not
living a remote, completely off the digital grid, or Bedouin existence.
As news of this traumatic loss of truly the most innocent of
life sunk in and met me at my core, I realized that if I moved into the
sadness, I could and needed to feel the moms’ and dads’ grief, that there is no
separation, that the separation has always been an illusion.I also realized listening to our President
speak that I had never heard a US President before cry publicly, never in my 47
years on this earth, as a proud and dignified United States citizen, had I felt
the utter woundedness of a US President so palpably.I was grateful for his tears, for his
humanity touching mine. Either you love and feel your heart and go there to
that place that you feel and it is hard, or you fear and you shut it all down,
close it all up tight, fix on a point and hope it will never change, that you
will never move off that spot.President
Obama bravely felt it and expressed it; his tears spoke for all of us. This is
bravery coupled with gentleness, a 21st Warrior with Heart has emerged
as an example for us all.
A whole bunch of young children and their teachers gone from
our world, plucked out of our world because someone’s spirit and soul were
sick.Why so sick?Why living in such darkness, and ignorance
and fearfulness?We must ask these
questions, we must delve in deeply to the place of darkness and shadow so we
can answer these questions intelligently and meaningfully, so we can take
sensible action that will make a difference, so we are not, goddamn it, asking
this question in another six months.It
is time for us to stand up collectively in a national united embrace and change
things.We should all be gathering today
in a community place, entering the silence together, holding one another,
embracing and loving each other, and settling for a world that is creating
peace in our hearts and in our minds and in our families and in our schools and
in our neighborhoods and in our nation and in our world.
The mindless and heartless death of yesterday should all be
hallowed deaths; deaths that help move our collective hearts forward to stop
gun violence and the easy access to ridiculous rounds of ammunition.I am not a lawmaker or policy person, but I
am a mom, I am intelligent, I am a human, I am a citizen of this great nation,
and I will not stand for this any longer.I challenge us all to wake up, to gather together, to meditate together,
to contemplate with grace our basic humanity and goodness, and then to give our
President and our representatives and lawmakers in Congress the mandate to make
change that makes a difference, so we are not wondering again in the near future,
I am not against the 2nd amendment, but I know the balance has tipped, we live in
a culture of violence from movies, to video games that glorify violence, to
access to guns and military-style artillery.
And the access to such destructive power just is too available if someone wants to inflict such violence.
I only know that as I began this essay sitting in my car last
evening as the sun was setting, staring out over the vast lake with cloud
formations turning above me and colors beginning to mute and darken to soft heather
grays with oranges tucked behind the winter mix of clouds, that my heart was
with the families in their devastating grief.The gulls flew over heading for some unknown point on the distant
horizon, all lined up and knowing.Now
we humans know this weekend will begin a period of mourning nationally.The holidays will be impossibly hard, the
suffering from the wound so raw and recently inflicted.
Then we will meet, hearts and minds unified, and we shall act
to change things, in our own hearts and minds, in our own families and schools
and communities, and in Congress.
Having this week struggled with my exhaustion from familial frustrations,
I awoke on December 14th to fix scratch brownies at 5:30 a.m. for Aidan,
my soon-to-be twelve year old. I said a little mindfulness chant to awaken my
confidence, and stirred baker’s chocolate and butter, realizing that the
irritants of the week had were no longer in my mind.That I am not those irritations.I am not that anger.I am a being ever changing and sometimes
struggling but aspiring to open further and further and further to my world and
circumstances.To feel my world on the
most basic gut and heart places.I
stirred and added compassion to these brownies, these compassion brownies.
I went over to my son’s school during first period to
decorate his locker for his birthday today, with his favorite colored wrapping
paper, red, and a Sponge Bob helium balloon.As I was leaving his school and saying goodbye and thank you with my bag
of leftover wrapping paper, and ribbon, and scissors, and tape, for some reason
it occurred to me that it is very easy to access a school.It was a fleeting thought, and yet only a
half an hour later was this madness happening in Newtown.
I called this essay Christ and Buddha because they are both
my teachers.They have been with me my
entire life.Both of them, side by side,
residing in my heart going back to my childhood.They are my friends, my confidants, my
cheerleaders, my roots. Christ by ancestral lineage and Buddha by association
from a lifetime of dreams and visions and a long ago past.I call on them now and offer to them my
devastatingly dripping heart of sorrow and sadness amidst my human blood and
feeling.I offer to them all that I am
and give back all that I am to my world.I offer to my sisters and brothers and their babies my essence.I place my heart of sadness tenderly and presently
next to yours.In truth I am you.And I have never been anything else.