To My Sisters in Israel and Palestine
Categories: Society & Politics
Guest Post by Jalaja Bonheim
Reposted with permission from JalajaBonheim.com.
It’s evening in Ithaca, and we’re having a thunderstorm. And now, the power has gone out and the whole room is plunged into darkness, as if to reflect the darkness that threatens to engulf your world. Beloved sisters, my heart is aching for you. How is it that the insanity of a few madmen can turn so many lives to hell? I have no answers to offer, only my tears and my love.
I know how deeply committed you are to peace and healing. I know that many of you have spent decades working for peace. And now this!
But I want to remind you that we are in the midst of a transition that is far greater and more far-reaching than the situation at hand. This isn’t just about Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. This is about ancient habits that we humans acquired thousands of years ago.
Back then, when we met rage with rage, and hatred with hatred, the results were tragic but limited in scope. But now that we have the capacity to blast our entire planet into oblivion, we can no longer afford to indulge those old habits. Either we will learn new ways of relating or we will destroy ourselves. As Martin Luther King said, “The choice today is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.”
Of course, when someone attacks or harms us, our impulse is to strike back. But we have the capacity to take a deep breath and remember that we, and only we, are responsible for our inner world. Nobody has the power to rob our peace, unless we allow them to do so. We have the freedom to choose light over darkness, and peace over violence.
We, who are committed to working for peace, should never expect to see immediate results. This evolutionary journey we’re on will not be completed in a few decades. It may take centuries. Remember that so many people who fought against slavery in the United States never lived to see its end, let alone the inauguration of a black president. Many who fought against Apartheid in South Africa never witnessed its demise. We may never witness peace in the Middle East, but that does not mean our efforts are in vain.
Who knows what I would feel, were I standing in your shoes. Nonetheless, I want to say to you, please do not let the present situation drive you to despair! In the long run, injustice and violence can never prevail, no matter how powerful they appear to be.
You can crucify Jesus, you can assassinate Gandhi and Martin Luther King, but the consciousness that inspired them will keep returning in new forms. It can be suppressed, yes, but only temporarily. In the long run, no one can destroy the knowledge of our oneness, for what is true cannot be denied forever.
You have experienced the power of the circle to hold and nurture you. When you are scared, it can rock and cradle you. When you are filled with grief, it can hold and comfort you. In the circle, you can offer your scream of agony and your song of despair, knowing that the circle will not let you drown in your grief, but will support you in moving through to the other side, where there is acceptance, peace, wisdom and clarity. Please be gentle, infinitely gentle with yourself and others. Attune yourself to the vibration of love, of peace, of healing. Call upon your spiritual teachers and guides and ask them to surround and protect you.
Dear sisters, I know I am speaking for so many other women when I say that my thoughts and prayers are with you. As women, we know the value of life and the value of peace. We know the power of kindness and gentleness. We are tiny and powerless, yet also magnificent and powerful. The great Indian sage Nisargahatta said it beautifully:
“Love tells me I am everything.
Wisdom tells me I am nothing.
Between the two, my life flows.”
To me, dear sisters, you are everything. Please take good care of yourselves. I am praying for your safety, and that of all your loved ones.
Jalaja Bonheim is the author of The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and Our World (July 2015) as well as the founder and director of the Institute for Circlework. A uniquely skilled facilitator, Bonheim has trained hundreds of female circle leaders from around the world and is internationally known for her groundbreaking work with Jewish and Palestinian women in the Middle East. Growing up German and Jewish in post-war Germany, Bonheim struggled to make sense of the events that had left both the German and Jewish people deeply traumatized. This struggle has guided her work. Now an internationally acclaimed author and speaker, she shares stories, insights, and hope.Tags: Grief & Loss Sacred Activism Jalaja Bonheim