Saturday, February 27, 2016

The freedom to love: Reflections from Germany

Love and Acceptance, equanimity, any way you try to say it, this picture may look like a crazy man standing in the street with his arms stretched out. However, if you understand that he is in Berlin and the bricks on the road represent where the Berlin Wall used to be, it takes on a whole new meaning.

This is my husband Joachim and we visited Berlin the last two days and it deepened my heart of understanding to the importance of being in love and acceptance, and being equanimous. These are words that some of us speak quite often. We visited the Topographie des Terrors and it was a life-changing experience.

Growing up in America I feel blessed that I grew up in a culture where I felt open to explore. While it wasn’t the perfect life, I was able to experience a life where we were able to live together with people of different religions, races and lifestyles. I had heard about the holocaust, but it hadn’t really hit me until I visited the actual place where these tragedies occurred, escorted by a friend of my husband, Wolfgang, who was kind enough to take the time to take us through the museum and for a walk around what remains of the Berlin Wall and the center of Berlin. It’s like how visiting the 911 memorial at ground zero in New York, made me realize it really happened.

There are people today who try to say that the holocaust never happened, and to be honest, it would be comforting to be able to believe that. But seeing the wall, and then seeing the remnants of the building where the Nazis tortured people…to see the little cells where it happened, is a cruel reminder that many people suffered because they were being judged for being who they were. They had the wrong color eyes, or the wrong religion, or the wrong lifestyle.

My husband and I spent 2 hours just walking through the Topographies des Terrors exhibit. It began with an explanation of the process of how the Jewish people were gradually eliminated from the Germany society. It started by having them move from their homes to a different part of town. They took all of their belongings that they could carry either on their backs or in wagons and moved into

an area of town that was just for them. It became known as the ghetto. They went with the understanding that they this would be a temporary situation for them until they would be moved to a new place where they could have a better life. Their next move was to work camps where they would work themselves to death, or to extermination camps where they would be killed in gas chambers or through euthanasia techniques.

These were people who were very sincere about their religion, and despite the terrible conditions, the parents tried to give their children hope even in the midst of this dire situation. It was moving to see the pictures and the excerpts from the diaries that were on display.
The picture and comment above reminded me of my own up upbringing and how I was taught about the spiritual significance of a rainbow. This child was deeply contemplating how to process her reality given the values she was taught.

The next picture touched my heart because Wolfgang explained that the bun on top of this man’s head contained a rolled up piece of paper with a holy scripture written on it. He wore the scripture on the top of his head so as to have the vibration of these holy words over his crown chakra (the connection to God). The straps on his arms had some significance to him and these were the articles that were worn while he prayed.
Whether you have the same beliefs as these people or not shouldn’t matter. The fact is that they are practicing their spiritual tradition and it gives them power to function as a human being.

As sad as it was to see the pictures of how unjust the plight of the victims of this societal purge of those who didn’t fit into Hitler’s grand scheme of what it meant to be the perfect human being, I felt moved by the faith that was constantly communicated through the pictures and the writings in the diaries of those who were suffering.

I got a different feeling when we got to the section that documented the perpetrators of these injustices. I just got a feeling of the presence of evil. There was no love, only judgment, lies and evil. Eventually I had to leave the museum because the feeling became so heavy as we were seeing the extent of the corruption that had taken place.

I was grateful for the experience of this part of Berlin’s and Germany’s history. When I meditated this morning I saw the above picture of my husband standing over the line of bricks that serve as a remembrance of where the Berlin Wall used to be. I realized in my meditation how we all have this wall within us. It is a wall of judgment that always makes us see things from the perspective of right and wrong, good or evil, a wall of separation that we create between ourselves and others. I was reminded of the power of being in love and acceptance of every person in every situation; to be the silent observer and to experience the power of being equanimous.

So much is represented in this picture of Joachim, arms spread out standing equally on each side of that line that marked the wall that divided a nation and the world. Joachim is representing the freedom you feel when you can be in love and acceptance; to be free of judgments. What I want to bring back from this experience in Berlin is to remember that even though I am one person, if I can master the art of being in love and acceptance, I can bring that freedom to the earth. Just as one man’s misconception of truth could affect the world in such a negative way, so can one woman’s love affect the world in a positive way. Please be at peace and know that you are loved…

Blessings from Berlin, Germany

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