Westgate

It has taken me this long to respond to something so close to me.

It has taken me this long because I don’t know how to respond.

I don’t know how to respond to the fact that a place I once drank coffee in, discussing politics, poetry and funding with friends has caved into a heap of rubble.

A heap of rubble.

I don’t know how to respond to the fact that the people whose stalls I visited may no longer be alive. I have a silk scarf bought as a present for me from one of these stalls.  To think, this scarf is now a reminder of the impermanence of life.

The impermanence of life.

I don’t know how to respond to the fact that people have been killed, wounded, maimed and shot in a place that felt safe.

Felt safe.

And where is safe?

*

I was up North when I found out about Westgate. I had no internet access, only a text message from my mom that read, “Did you hear about Westgate?” No, I hadn’t. And when I heard, there was no way of unhearing it.

I was up North because I went to witness the creation and destruction of the Medicine Buddha Mandala, which was being carried out by an elderly lama from Bhutan. He had come with Lama Karma Namgyel, who runs  Drukpa Mila Buddhist Center in Longmont, Colorado and was leading a Medicine Buddha Retreat and numerous teachings/ceremonies throughout the week. The sand mandala is created and destroyed to symbolize impermanence (a very simplified reason, the mandala is a complex palace of visualizations and symbols- it would take much time and research to explain it completely and fully), but also so that the coloured sand could be released into a nearby spring/body of water to protect and purify the land/water and all the people who live near it/by it. It is a means of circulating healing.

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The elderly lama, who created this beautiful mandala, hopes to create and destroy 108 mandalas in his lifetime.

I couldn’t help but hope that Kenya would be one of the receivers of this blessing of healing.

Wishing peace for those who passed away from the Westgate attack and those still suffering from its effects.

The Four Immeasurables

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.
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