Heartbreak in Boulder: Finding Meaning in the Wake of Tragedy

Originally published at: https://integrallife.com/heartbreak-in-boulder-finding-meaning-in-the-wake-of-tragedy/

In March 22nd, a mass shooting took place at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado which claimed the lives of 10 people. What follows is a heart-full conversation that invites all of us to bring more awareness to the full spectrum of emotion that is likely moving through all of us right now, a much-needed reminder that the integral heart is big enough for all of this, because it is a heart that is both utterly unbreakable, as well as always-already broken.

It’s very common human desire to try and find meaning in the world around us.
But in situations like this I wonder which is stronger: the urge to take time to find meaning or the urge to take time to experience being, either individually or shared?

“Love until it hurts.” This is one of my favorite Ken Wilber quotes. I first heard him use these words in referencing a “traditional” female/feminine spiritual development generally favoring the path of descent and immanence. I resonated, even though my own path has been near-equal parts descent/ascent, immanence/transcendence.

While I have a full share of faults, increasingly I have this experience of loving until it hurts; I think it surely is a part of any spiritual progression. The loving, healing, merciful, forgiving, relational energy is not just a feminine or female thing, as autonomy/sovereignty, power, agency, and mindfulness are not just masculine or male things. Culture much of the time seems excessively focused on the latter. We all need better balance and integration of the two.

Ken and others also point out that non-dual realization is marked by fullness and love. So if that is the “ultimate” in spiritual development, then leaning into loving more, through intention and remembering and practice, seems warranted, now, by anyone who professes a spiritual orientation in life, or spiritual interests or inclinations.

When I first read about the Boulder shooting and saw the earliest pictures, which were of the officer killed and the young killer, tears came to my eyes. I didn’t see evil anywhere; I saw suffering everywhere. Spontaneously silently repeating “I’m so sorry,” I realized I was not just speaking to or about these two people or the other victims and their loved ones, but was expressing an ontological sorrow on behalf of and about collective humanity. Existence for so many is one long enduring illusion that we are separate from one another, and separated from our own true natures or “God/dess” or Spirit. This had to be true for the young gunman and that is a tragedy in itself, perhaps the paramount tragedy of our time, or any time.

For several years now, I sometimes find myself impulsively belting out a few verses from “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I don’t know why I just spontaneously start singing that song, but it happened again a couple of days after the Boulder event. I think there’s something about an adult calling out for their “mama” that deeply touches me, even more so when that adult is a male typically socialized to hide vulnerability and emotion, and even more so when that adult male is full of both hurt and hurtful behavior:

“Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead
Mama, life had just begun
And now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
Mama, oooh
Didn’t mean to make you cry
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on
as if nothing really matters…”

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LaWanna, I just love, LOVE, what you wrote here. Thank you for your words. Plus, Freddie is my spirit animal :slight_smile:

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Gracias, Nomali, to you and your wild and wonderful spirit animal!