"Because of high energy use, rising living standards, the whole world is heavily interdependent. The concept of We and They is no longer. The whole world should be an OUR. The concept of war is eliminated when there is no enemy! With dialogue, just a few words is not sufficient. The way of life should be advanced. Consider others as a brother and sister. Respect them no matter how difficult it is."
- HH The Dalai Lama, Vancouver, 2008
on this morning of the new moon in libra, i wonder, i do, i do.
maybe the dalai lama has never seen siblings fight. we had a doozy of one here, that ended with meg flouncing off to katie's house at nine-thirty at night, and libby retreating to her room with a bad case of the sulks. it's jealousy, pure and simple, the realization that life-is-not-equal, even at home, that rankles so deeply, spurs so much hate. libby's life is not the same as meg's was seven years ago. there's simply no getting around that fact. here on the manor, as Beloved likes to call it, the queen and her last little princess live well. meg, of course, has it easier than katie had it, lo those many moons ago. but meg doesn't see that. all meg sees is that her bratty little sister gets more, is coddled more, has fewer responsibilities than she ever had. it just isn't fair.
i realize that if i have negotiated the tricky shoals of sibling rivalry among my own offspring with any success at all, it's because i know the hard edges of envy's teeth all too well. my children's snarls last night reminded me at the same time of wolf cubs and congress, not to mention me and my brother john.
maybe the trouble with a universal call to brotherhood is that sibling relationships dont always work out well for everyone involved. i remember how, when i was a child, i discovered a deep hatred that existed between my great-grandfather and his brother, who lived two blocks away and had a different last name.
why did uncle leon change his name, i asked my grandmother once. she made a face. "bad blood," she answered. "there was bad blood between them." "what kind of bad blood?" i pressed, sensing a story like a shark after chum. she shrugged, waved her hand, pursed her lips. "it was bad blood," she said. "that's all we needed to know."
deena's teachings, the new moon in libra - the sign of harmony and balance - the words of the dalai lama, the argument erupting between my girls, all swirl and stir around me. the contrast between my morning in sacred space and Beloved's at the edge of the financial chaos stares me in the face. that such a possiblity exists, i think deena would say, would've been unheard of forty years ago. things are changing, she assured us, even though it may not feel like anything has changed at all.
as i dealt with my daughters last night, deena's question - how do we find our way to peace? - echoed distantly. i listened to the ranting and the raving and the farflung accusations and i wondered that myself.
the only tactic i have ever hit upon that seems to work with any success at all is to help them to see each other not as rivals, but as individuals with common needs, wants and desires. and just because we all want the same thing doesn't necessarily mean we have to be in competition for it.
as i whispered a prayer for meg's safety as she stormed off into the night, i realized how slow and deliberate a process this must be.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.