The River

I was a middle-aged monk who lived in a monastery by a river in England. It was a beautiful place, surrounded by great, green fields, fertile and productive. One evening, a handsome youth came to fetch me from the monastery, telling me my help was needed in the village. Someone had been injured, and I was thought to have healing powers in my prayers and my hands.

As we walked along the banks of the river beside some bushes, I felt pressure building up. The young man looked nervously around him. As we walked by an area of thicker brush, a group of young men jumped out in ambush with clubs, and began to beat me. I looked at the young man who had betrayed me with gentle eyes and said, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do. Into your hands I commend my soul," as I died.

These two visions seemed like past life regression experiences. I don't necessarily believe I actually was the person in either of these experiences. I do believe, though, there is a level of experience where we are all absolutely One. At this level of consciousness, all experiences happen to all of us. There is, ultimately, only one of us here.

Both of these visions involved murder. In one, I was the murderer. In the other, I was the victim. In the one where I was the murderer, I was terribly afraid. In the one where I was murdered, I felt calm, sure, and fulfilled.

These feelings are the opposite of what I would have logically expected of murderers and victims. Clearly my imagination was limited when I thought of murderers being deliberate and feeling powerful, and victims being terrified. Going there in vision and experiencing the emotion allowed me to see that my projections of my feelings on experiences others are having are not always, or perhaps even often, accurate.

What I learned from the conjunction of these two visions is that I have done it all already. I have been the saint and the sage, the villain and the thief. I have murdered and been murdered. I have raped and been raped. I have loved and hated.

I don't believe it is up to me to judge the experience of others. I prefer to remember all beings are One. Each includes all possibilities, all feelings, all potential actions. I may choose the peace of unconditional love.

In this lifetime, I choose to know greater appreciation for all life. I choose to walk in the woods, loving the toads, the spiders, and the ferns. I bless the sky arching over us all. I choose to bless the murderers as well as the victims, and to imagine the fears of all men eased through grace.

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Copyright 2000 Connee Chandler

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