There are some things - news, events - for which there simply aren't the right words. Like when your long-married girlfriend shares that she's filed for divorce . . . or your co-worker tells you he's been laid off right after he's returned from his dream vacation . . . or when you learn that your teenager's best friend has been sexually abused by a trusted adult . . . or, as we've experienced this past Sunday, when someone who's your country's and humanity's enemy is hunted down and killed in his home.
It's not just not having the right words. We also don't have the right emotions or the right thoughts. The emotions are a jumble of visceral reaction and pent-up feelings that burst out in surprising ways. The fact that in the case of the killing of Osama bin Laden the feelings are shared with an entire nation puts your own emotions and those of the people around you and in the country into a sort of centrifuge for which an external force is pushing the on-off button. Everyone's emotions get stirred up as each new factoid gets released and reported. There is altogether too much of a frenzy and smorgasbord of so-called news about the event and its aftermath, and it's confusing and exhausting.
There has been both jubilation at bin Laden's death as exemplified by the mostly students who gathered outside the White House to celebrate on Sunday night and sober reflection in the numerous blogs, articles, sermons and other writings from religious and spiritual leaders and some political pundits. My own reaction has been to maintain a thoughtful watchfulness, listening to what others are saying and not saying, and to refrain from jumping into the fray of speaking my mind.
Sometimes, things are better left unsaid, held in sacred contemplation between you and the divine. Sometimes, your words add nothing to illuminate or to help the situation. It's an exercise in humility to recognize that not everything you think or feel is worthy of being shared and to maintain your own peaceful silence. Sometimes, we are called to just be, in peaceful coexistence with everyone and everything else. Om mani padme hum.