Sometimes Truth/Love/Aletheia Looks Like A Punch In The Throat

“The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. is bound to be noticed.” – Soren Kierkegaard

Fascinating weekend in the stream of life.  Beyond questioning “What exactly am I manifesting in the world?”, I’ve sorted some random items together to put some perspective on the current, streaming-by, over the always unseen undercurrent of Aletheia.

First, a story.  I was greeted at my front door Friday evening by a heavily tattooed unsavory looking fellow (the tattoos alone did not indicate he was unsavory – it was visible in who he was being) who showed up to do me physical harm for verbally accosting his son who’d participated in some bullying, intimidation tactics toward my son the previous week at the playground next door to our house.  He punched me in the throat.  I was being at the moment of truth as I ran down the street to avoid getting punched again.

It was fascinating and unexpected.

Now I was certainly over the top in my confrontation with his son, 14 or 15 in age, not slight and not the least intimidated by my requests to know who his friend was that ran off (a resident of the development) so I could speak to his parents about their bullying of my not slight 12 year old.  Nor was he intimidated by my loud, rude and obnoxious requests to speak to his parents since he wouldn’t give me his friend’s information.  Rather, he informed me that his father would be over that night to beat my pussy bitch ass.  He waited a week – it definitely threw me off guard.

This kid didn’t even live in my development, but was a guest in my common area.  He and his friends had been admonished two days prior by my wife for throwing around F bombs, racial slurs and derogatory language about the feminine form and I’d considered blogging about that occurrence, coming weeks after the Trayvon Martin ruling and my inability to make any kind of meaningful sense of that whole affair.  I thought about writing how we needed to deal with racism at the parks where young teen men (Black, White, Hispanic, etc. – or how is it they put it on those EEO forms? – so correct politically, but so incorrect all around) grow up and learn to share what they’ve already learned at home about race and women.  My wife dealt with these kids that day because I passed by with our baby in the stroller, willing to let it go since nobody was getting hurt and I’d been one of those boys at one point in my life.  My blogging suffered the same effect – the baby has thrown a wrench lately in any meaningful production.

Great story right? which stands at this point with my waiting to hear from the police and waiting to hear back from the results of any conversation that the president of our homeowners association will have with the board of trustees next week.  I don’t have much faith that any “real” change will come of it…as he said, the teen problem will just manifest itself in them vandalizing the signs as they’ve vandalized our community center. Who are they though?  And who are we?

Along with that I was voraciously finishing reading “The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler” published in 2002 by James Cross Giblin, a book laying around the house that my wife picked up from the library for my son’s assigned summer reading.  I’d always been interested in understanding how all of that happened since the days of my youth watching “In Search of…” with Leonard Nimoy where my memory tells me I saw my first glimpses of life (and death) in a concentration camp.  It may have been some other show as my Mother always had a bit of a Hitler “obsession” – perhaps to better understand how my Father came to be or maybe for other reasons.

I found the following passage to be most worth sharing:

In Germany itself, a group of students at a university in Munich dared in 1942 to criticize Hitler’s conduct of the war.  The group adopted the name the White Rose, symbolizing purity, and, with the aid of one of their professors, wrote, duplicated, and distributed leaflets attacking the Fuhrer.  A typical leaflet, headed “an Appeal to All Germans,” stated boldly that the war was lost and urged its readers to part company with Hitler and his fellow Nazis.

“Prove by your actions that you think differently,” the leaflet said.  “Tear off the cover of indifference which you have put around your hearts. Make your decision before it is too late. Do not believe that Germany’s future is associated for better or worse with the victory of National Socialism. Criminal actions can never obtain a German victory.”  The leaflet concluded with a vision of the future.  “Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary actions of criminal terror states – those are the foundations for a new Germany, a new Europe.  Support the resistance movement and pass on the leaflets.”

At first White Rose members distributed the leaflets only to their fellow students within the university.  Then they branched out, stuffing the pamphlets into mailboxes throughout Munich and even traveling to other cities, such as Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Vienna, with the leaflets concealed in their suitcases.  Back in Munich, they were distributing a fresh batch at the university when a janitor spotted them and notified the police.

Put on trial for treason in February 1943, the three leaders of the White Rose – Hans Scholl, his sister, Sophie, and their good friend Christoph Probst – were all sentenced to death by beheading.  The trio remained defiant to the end.  Sophie walked to the guillotine with a smile on her face, and her brother Hans shouted, “Long live liberty!” before he died.

Yesterday I came across the short story Dialetheia* – by Anil Menon which just happened to be set in pre-World War Two Germany and amazingly and eloquently shares a “view” or “taste” of this phenomenon which I attempt to explain while attempting to catch glimpses of it out of the corner of my eye.  Perhaps I’ll have to investigate this notion of “inconsistent mathematics” that he mentions.

In reading this book, and this short story I see that we are very much still living in a world vastly shaped by the charisma and actions of this one very determined person.  The state of the world today, shaped by the past yesterday – “Time is a partial order!” indeed.

Linking that, one of my facebook friends posted a link to this video.  It says a lot, it’s worth watching and it’s worth questioning everything through the video as a lens.  Life isn’t clear cut, especially when Love is concealed and your righteousness clouds the view.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsqwErd6sPg&feature=share

Finally, this excerpt from a link from the above interviewee Glenn Greenwald’s page puts a final lens on my thoughts for the weekend and really for the last few months.  “Civil rights hero John Lewis, in an interview with the Guardian today, praised Snowden for engaging in “civil disobedience” in the tradition of Thoreau, Gandhi and the Civil Rights movement.”  – Read the full article here.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts brewing, for a long time, a lot of unrest – apparently like the rest of us.  I thought I’d better start blogging again to begin unconcealing.  Perhaps if I can return to, or get closer to, Truth/Love/Aletheia I’ll open my front door next time with open arms and a smile or admonish a bully with a gentle, loving approach.  Either way, living life is clear cut.  I may get punched and I still love us all.

Wounded with love,

Ed

Advertisements

How Can I Love You If I Don’t Know You?

In a previous post I’d mentioned that many people probably react to meeting me, in their heads, with “Yeah, well you don’t know me.” after I’ve explained to them that I love them.  This article will attempt to explain the apparent paradox of loving somebody that I don’t even know.

Most of what we traditionally know about loving another person has been given to us through what we’ve learned in books, or what we’ve heard in love songs, or what we’ve seen in television or movies about love, falling in love, being in love, how torturous love is, etc.  So the first thing about that is that you may want to consider the question of “How did I come to know what it is I think I know?”  And not just in regard to love, but in regard to knowing period.  That’s a topic for another post but in this case, consider the question “How did I come to know what it is I think I know about love?”

As mentioned above there are a number of sources of this knowledge.  You may have witnessed or experienced love from your parents, other people’s parents, family, friends, God, movies, TV, books, love songs, sad love songs.  Perhaps you’ve “fallen in love” as we like to say in our culture.  You just knew that you loved that person because of the way they made you feel, or said more accurately, the way you felt when they were around.

Maybe you both shared common interests such as competitive kick-ball, or eating sloppy joe’s by candlelight.  Because of this common interest you knew you loved that person.  Certainly you’ve had friends that you’ve loved and you knew you loved them because they thought similar things as you, or were there to pick you up when you were down, maybe they helped you get over that other person that you loved so much.

What I’m not about to do is to tell you that those things aren’t love.  They may or may not be.  What I am about to tell you is that love is much more simple than that.  Love is much more simple than that.

Love just is.  The reason it shows up in all those examples above is because it’s already there and in those situations you’re open to it.  You’re willing to receive love as a presence and then you experience love.  Now, there are cases where you continue to call something love because love used to be present as an experience and it isn’t present anymore.  Often that experience comes in the form of somebody breaching the integrity of the relationship.

So what?  Right?  I mean really what’s the point here.

The point is that I’m an opening for love being present and experienced.  Sometimes I’ll get hurt being this way, I know, because there’s no better way to get hurt than to make oneself entirely vulnerable with another who is unwilling to make themself equally vulnerable.  It’s worth the risk.  Often, what shows up is people’s magnificence.  Sometimes it takes a while, I do occasionally have rough patches and I find myself closing down, not willing to be vulnerable anymore.  Then I notice that my life is quite a bit less grand than it used to be.

What I do in those situations is identify what is covering over or concealing love.  It’s not so much that I have to do anything, because it’s there whether I uncover or unconceal it or not, but I can’t experience it when something is in the way of it being present.  Usually I’m holding on to something and unwilling to let it go, or not saying something that I need to say, or I was expecting something to happen that didn’t.  Once I say it, or let it go, or give it up love is present.

Given that, when I used to meet people, I used to wait for something from them to indicate that I could or should love them.  Rarely would I get it from them.  As soon as I gave that up and just started loving them that’s what started to happen.  Love would happen.  Sometimes it takes a while for their reality to match mine, sometimes it never does, but my reality is so beautiful.  Imagine loving everybody you meet.

Then love everybody you meet.

With Love,

Ed

If We’d Met Previously

There are many people that I’ve met in life prior to knowing “who I am” and as a result I may not have been true to myself and very likely, not true to you.  Now, there are many people, those that I hold closest to my heart who were able to get to who I am anyway.  These people are generally my family, my closest friends, and even others who’ve known me even though I didn’t know myself.  This entry is not about them, it’s about all the others who I haven’t spent enough time with for you to get to know me and me to know you.

For those people, the first order of business is most likely an apology.  Now, I wasn’t always a jerk to you prior to my knowing who I am, but the odds were increased considerably that at one point I may have been.  So, I apologize.  I hope that you’ll consider this apology deeply and accept it with my promise to be true to myself, to uphold my word regarding who I am, and to begin again with you.  After all, I know now that I love you.  That you’re perfect exactly the way that you are and exactly the way that you are not.  Even if you don’t forgive me.

However, if you’ve read my apology and you’ve gotten all your questions answered about it, and who I may have been that had me being the way I was in our relationship previously, and you understand who I am now and that I can say with utmost integrity that it is who I am, and you can’t or won’t accept my apology we may be better off parting ways.  To maintain the relationship in that state is to hold the past in place, to not allow me to be who I am in the eternal now (and now, and now, and now).  I can be ok with that.  But what I can’t be ok with, is you continuing to be who you were for me when I was who I was.  Not forgiving and not letting that go holds who you were in place as much as it holds me in place.  I know that you’re much more than that.

There are some of you out there and we’d only “met” in passing.  There’s the guy in the parking lot at Peaches Record Store in Old Brooklyn when I was about 8 years old who drove by and asked me, “What are you looking at”?  Or those kids that asked me if I wanted to go to Jim’s house because, as you said, you were going to go beat him up. There are also countless people I’ve passed in the hallways at work, or high school, or just out on the street.  We had the opportunity, for one brief moment, to really be together.  To take just a second out of what I was reflecting about and be with you, and share some space, and some time, and some love…that’s what I apologize for.  That I wasn’t present enough to create that for the both of us to share.  Me in your world and you in mine.  Just for a moment.

There are others that I’ve met where no apology may be necessary.  I may have been known to you as “that funny guy”, or that “really smart guy”, or that really persistent boyfriend who just couldn’t let it go, or that kid who was so competitive that even when you won you felt like you lost.  But I was never really mean to you, not really. To you, the apology is still offered but it’s more of an apology for not really and fully getting to be with you.  I was, essentially, a front or a mask or a facade.  I mean, parts of the real me may have come out, but mostly I was pretty busy protecting myself (from what now, I don’t know).  I wasn’t really authentic with you.  Sure, I was funny and I told you the truth as I knew it, but it wasn’t coming from the place where truth comes from.  It was coming from the place where people come from when they’re trying to protect themselves and survive.

I’m over that now.  And I’d like to reintroduce myself to you.

Hi, my name is Ed Malinowski, I have 3 kids and an amazing wife, and I work as an organizational consultant and coach.  But what I really want you to know about me is that I just love people.  So I want you to know that you don’t have to be any particular way with me, and that I already love you.  I love you exactly the way you are and exactly the way you’re not.  And, I want you to know that I know that you love me too, whether you know it or not, and it’s ok either way.”

It may be a little strange interacting with me now since some of the “ways of being” I’ll be won’t be what you’re used to or expecting.  But I’d like you to consider that those weren’t me anyway and from how I was being you weren’t you either. 

And if we pass in the hall, you may wonder what I’m so happy about, or you may get the feeling that I know something that you don’t know or that I’m up to no good.  That’s just me present to love, with you.  Strange as it may seem.

The true gift that comes from me being who I am is that you get to be who you are.  I can’t wait to meet you.

With Love,

Ed