My Thoughts on Paris

The Lighted Ones

I’ve been thinking about the violent acts that have occurred across the world over the past few months. When tragic events occur, people often reach out to me for an explanation or a reason. Whether those events are personal or global in scale, the questions are always the same. I find that many times in spiritual circles or in communities that are bound by faith the answers too often come in the form of “everything happens for a reason” or “it’s God’s will” or something in that vein.

On one hand I agree. There is always a reason for why things occur. In this universe, nothing is wasted. However, sometimes those reasons are not for us to know. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers…quite often I doubt whether or not I have any of the answers at all. The mystery and the order behind seemingly chaotic events escapes my comprehension all of the time. When tragedy strikes it breaks us open. It forces us to a place that none of us enjoys. It knocks the wind out of us and slams us to the ground. There certainly are reasons behind it…but sometimes the reasons offer little comfort to us in a time of confusion, anger and pain. Sometimes the reasons make us even more angry and confused. From our human perspective we are always looking for some way to make sense of it…we grasp out in search of information that allows us to give it meaning and context…to make it something we can see as being “fair”.

What I know for sure is that life is not always fair. Sometimes the reason behind horrible events is simply that we are to carry them with us as a reminder. A reminder that human life is tenuous. While we are all limitless and eternal as part of All That Is…the flash of light that constitutes a singular, human, life is delicate, fragile and finite.

Sometimes life is maddeningly unfair. Sometimes it is scary and violent and horrific and confusing. Sometimes we are called to walk a path that is insane and dark and twisted and terrifying.

Sometimes we are pushed to the brink simply to remember that while we have breath in our lungs and light in our eyes that we still have a choice. We have a choice to point fingers and lay blame and seek revenge. We have a choice to perpetuate cycles of violence and destruction and killing. We can remember that the fire which burns in all of us is powerful beyond measure. Powerful enough to create life and powerful enough to destroy it. We have a choice to come together and marvel at the beauty that still exists. We have a choice to remember that all life is sacred and that separation or division of any kind cannot stand. We have a choice to choose Love over fear…to choose celebration over condemnation and to accept that some things in life must be carried even if they cannot be understood. We have a choice to decide that even if we are to carry the grief of lives lost, we can still choose to let our fires burn for Love.

We must allow ourselves the space to grieve and be filled with rage and to be afraid. But let us decide that that space is temporary…we must not camp out there. We must not erect any more monuments to fear and darkness. The opposite of Love is not hate, it is fear. Even if everyone who ever committed any horrible act was found and convicted, we would still be faced with the choice of fear or Love. In the end, after the dust has settled and things have come back in to focus. We must always remember that fear is a choice.

Fear is a closed loop. Fear only ever serves to perpetuate more of itself. Fear is a Mobius Strip/MC Escher painting from hell and fear will not grant us an escape from it. The only way out of fear is through Love. Fear is constricting and small and dark and tangled. Love is expansive and massive and endless and infinite.

Let the truth that we are all connected to All That Is, because we ARE All That Is be the guiding truth. Let the refusal to give into the death sentence of fear be what calls us back to Love. If we are to carry pain as part of our human experience then let us carry that pain in honor of those whose lives were lost. Let us remember that to live in fear and anger and revenge does no service to anyone who is gone. In that choice, we are committing ourselves to a path of pain and darkness.

Let us come together and say:

“Fuck.This. We are not giving in to fear. We are choosing to live brighter and bigger and bolder in the face of this darkness. We are choosing to let our thoughts, words, actions, and deeds be those of people who hold a vision of a world where things like this don’t happen anymore. We carry the pain of loss with us as a reminder that we all have a choice in every single moment. We can be reminded that despite the fact that we have the power to destroy life, we can choose not to. That our ability to choose darkness does not define us…it is our power to choose Love in spite of fear that shows us who we are.”

It may sound like a platitude, but Love is the answer.

We as humans so often want to make the choice so very complicated, but that’s it.


Ironically, choosing Love above all else is a deceptively simple choice. In a world that so often beats the drums of war and death and greed. In a world that tells us that Love and Compassion and Vulnerability are only for the weak and the stupid.

In this world, choosing Love is an act of bravery.

Choosing Love is an act of heroic proportions.

Choosing Love is the ONLY way to make a world where Love is the only choice a reality.

The choice is simple, but what we are called to do to honor that choice is the real work. To be unrelenting in our allegiance to Love is the work. It is work that will call us to face down some really dark shit. It is work that will push us to confront the ugliest parts of ourselves, our communities, our cities and our planet. It is work that will push us to the limits of what we think we can handle and beyond. It is work that will ALWAYS present us with the choice of Love or fear. This work takes commitment and an unwavering loyalty to truth. But it is the only way. Love is the only way.

Copyright © Andrew Martin. All Rights Reserved. You may copy and redistribute this material so long as you do not alter or edit it in any way, the content remains complete and you include this copyright notice link:


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