Today, I came across the character for 'harmful' in my studies of the 'kanji' or the ancient Chinese system of writing. It stopped me in my tracks. This character, made of three elements, brings together the essence of what creates harms, put together so eloquently, as ancient Chinese wisdom does.
The elements for this character are :
The sense I received from this character is very palpable for me these days. Today is the 9th of May = 19th day of the 2nd month of the calendar year 1402 in the present Iranian calendar.
With millions of other Iranians, I am observing the events surrounding our uprising to shift the form of our government from the Islamic Republic to a democratic form of self-governance. We want a chance to live dignified lives ... this is the bottom line for the Jina, or Mahsa Amini uprising.
Since September last year, we have been experiencing intensified inhumanity unleashed vehemently on our land. A people, a nation who has not much to lose, because we have sunken deeply in the dredges of poverty, corruption, isolation, has risen up out of outrage, shouting for nothing less than 'woman, life, and freedom.' Witnessing nothing less than our most beloved citizens being brutally beaten, blinded by bullets, hung. The Persian soul is terribly wounded and is somehow stuck in deep valleys of pain these days.
What felt like nourishing grains of hope, growing on the field of people's awakening to their power and purpose last autumn, is turning into distasteful historical vomit. I turn to news channels on Telegram, a popular app in Iran, to receive news and updates on what's going on. I also receive a dozen or more pieces of daily news from friends who send popular clips 'from hand to hand,' so to speak. These days most of the contents I am receiving are of the Chinese character above : undigested words, spewed out, under the common roof of our country ~ so harmful.
I wish I could bring this sense of 'ownership' of our own words home to my country folks. What I speak of, or about, describes me foremost. What I hear in most of the media these days, coming out of the Iranian communities whether in Iran, or in exile are bile-loaded bitter words of projections, accusing 'the other' for our sorrowful state of a deep fall from grace. Where I live in the Findhorn community, we have a very helpful practice of making 'I' statements. I for speaking for myself, for owning up my truth and integrity, for claiming my power back.
If we want to take our country back, from the depth of miseries and disgrace we have been thrown into, we need to claim our own truth and power back. This is really possible when we learn to speak for ourselves. Words of accusation, half-chewed and digested words spewed out, only causes harm, both to the other-self and to oneself. This is what the ancient wise Chinese philosophers saw and immortalised in their pictorial writing.
So what is the opposite of harmful? 'Helpful' could be one response. How could we help ourselves and those around ? In Findhorn Community we have a common ground agreement on triple 'I's : 1- speaking for myself, of the state of my heart/mind. 2-make eye contact with the other to take the other person into my being. 3- opening up our third 'eye' to see the truth of the matter, the humanity of the other person, who has as much right to be, as me.
The switch from Harmful to Helpful for us Iranians, could be embodied in one word : Mahsa. She is the name of our young Kurdish lass, who gave her life for our awakening. She was killed on September 16th 2022 while visiting Tehran for not wearing her head-scarf 'properly.' The word 'helpful' in Japanese is 'sodachi,' written like : 育ち。Its elements are : arm & elbow + moon. Literally it means to bring up the moon. What does Mahsa means in Farsi? It means a face as enchanting as the moon. The two words are converging in my mind. To our feuding foul-mouthed friends in Iran, who are killing one another out of rage and short-sightedness, I want to breathe the word, 'Mahsa.' Friends, how about we pause and breathe her name in, for a moment ... let us be courageous enough to have a complexion as fair and enchanting as the moon herself. How can we become 'Mahsa,' a fair-faced, enchanting embodiment of subtle moonlight? How about resourcing ourselves with the triple 'I's? How about seeing the divine in everyone?