I have encountered in my life many refugees, many of which who had been kept as hostages. I have been to enough places to know that some people speak with fear and in almost silent words in front of me. Others speak casually about it all. I have learned through the path to recognise someone in pain. Nothing special about me, it is something that some people just also feel.
Today I was sent an article to read about the life of a hostage who was kept in Iran for a long time. Nowadays , I choose carefully what I read. Yet I read it. And it moved me so much. It was a letter. I wondered how many people could actually identify with these words. I did.
I thought so much about it. I have never been kept as a hostage, nor have I ever been tortured why was it that I knew that, how was it that those words made so much sense to me?
There is something intriguing about reading it. I did not laugh like someone told me, would have been the most compassionate way to read it. I could not possibly laugh at it. I did once see an Iraqi speak in a conference ” laughter is the easiest way to cope with something that is so painful that you can’t deal with.” I was impressed that day. He was Iraqi, ironically at the time ( the time of the Iraqi war) he had studied public health in Syria. Then he became a student at Harvard. I was an undergrad at the time, but because I was always so interested in the Middle East I was introduced to him by my professor. This was NY, a couple years after 911.
As I read it today, many years after. Having met so many people who are from countries that were, or are in a war now, those images lingered in my mind. Somehow I definitely could understand a student from Harvard, a doctor writing about laughter when his country was being bombed. He was a doctor. But I can not laugh.
I read the article again and wondered why was it? And that are some thoughts there which are so powerful. Shane bauer, the hostage, and journalist, in some part of his page says he never thought prisons in the US could be worse than in Iran.
But the reason I went to his page was to see who he was. More importantly because I was very intrigued by something in that article. And that is such a non popular notion but I really understood it.
Somehow he said it that being freed was harder than to be a hostage. If you are to say that to anyone. They would invoke the “Stocholm syndrom”. Yet this is not really why I thought it was so powerful. It is something else. The return to freedom, in a world where suddenly you can realise the superficiality of it all. The invoked tones. The questions. All of this is unbearable.
This is not even knew. I guess in manufacturing consent it is quite clear. But the idea of the whole west being addicted to pleasures, chemical releases…. Addiction to Freedom, is always hard to tell people.
How many steps further you have to go to understand that a total search for “that” freedom cannot be disentangled from total abandonment of responsibility to the world where you live in. Where you actions do matter!
And so I go back to my love of Mountains, the admiration of those who do not need to conquer them for the chemical release that comes from that. They were born there.
In my mind I go back to Tibetan lamas who are capable to be in silence, self-contained, and are able to control brain chemistry through meditation.
In my mind I go back to the indigenous I have met in South America, who tell you all over to not take away a person from a hole. Let them lay there. I used to find it cruel. Yet, it is not. It comes from an awareness of discovering self resilience, strength, and the value of one’s own life.
I doubt any Tulku, or Shaman abandons anyone. They are there in silence.
So when I read Shane Bauer I can but think, that I understand he found his strength his value. And was almost convinced he was freed. Only to realise that Freedom is internal, to be externally Free in a world where most people have not found their own strength leads you to feel completely lonely. Free in a world of disconnection, oppression done under your name.
It is painful to see around you all of those addicted to something vaguely related to Freedom. It almost makes you hate freedom. It almost makes you want to be trapped so that you can at least know who your enemy is. But, in the end, we must realise that this is not freedom. Freedom is inside.
The article by Shane Bauer is here http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/letter-bowe-bergdahl-shane-bauer