Two more stories from Tibet in Exile, stories that sent told much in my world. They revolve around the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the human rights atrocities being undertaken with ease. They speak to the unimaginable power of human spirit and being and have inspired me to live more from my truth and from stillness and courage. Here is hoping I can do these monks justice and find words that can hold the experience.

I listen to the monk talk about escaping Tibet and the atrocities that the Chinese performed on them- the torture when as a monk he rebelled and refused to accept Mao and Stalin as his leader and instead claimed the Dalai Lama as his leader. The forced removal of blood and organs for sale back in China and the years of captivity where there was no water, no food and the prisoners starved to almost death at which point were released to avoid a death in the prison that would be reported on by Amnesty organsations.

I watch him talk about his life with such calm and peace and I realize that I am witnessing my ‘something’, that thing I have been chasing and looking for. It is a power that is all stillness, a way of showing up and of being human that I have never encountered before – it doesn’t exist on a day to day basis in big corporate or busy social consumer land. I see for the first time how little I know about the human spirit.

And then I hear the tales of the 152 people in Tibet who set themselves in fire to protest what China is doing. Can you imagine feeling some,thing so deeply that you are able to not only set yourself alight but as you burn, you shout out prayers, for the freedoms of Tibet, for the long life of the Dalai Lama ?

I can’t imagine feeling the loss of something so strongly that I would self emoliate myself as a form of non-violent protest. Have I ever felt an emptiness so deep, a rage so deep, a loss of freedom so absolute that I can no longer bear life ? Could I live my life from a truth so deep, so vital ?

Could I live from a place of stillness and compassion where torture and personal suffering is not accepted, but not somehow taken as reason enough to stop believing and living from compassion ?
Could I imagine a compassion so deep that when facing someone pointing a gun at me, about to kill me, that the only thought in my mind is how much suffering they must be in for it to be OK for them to kill others ?

I am wondering all this and feeling a sense of doubt! I have never had to stretch myself that far, never had to live from a place of such commitment and I am wondering if I even can.

I am wondering if, seeing it being lived, I can ever not?