By Steve Silberman
Surfing through the torrent of news, tweets, and photographs out of the protests of the elections in Iran today, I was struck by one image in particular, of a protester helping a wounded riot policeman out of the crowd to safety:
I thought about how powerful and potentially transformative Buddha’s teachings of compassion can be not just in the meditation hall, but in the streets, when all seems like chaos, and life and death are at stake. A moment before this photo was taken, the policeman and his benefactor were surely on opposite sides of the bloody conflict. The foundation of such benevolent acts is hardwired into our brains, in the form of mirror neurons that enable us to feel what other sentient beings are feeling, even before we have a chance to think about it. By aiding a man who was, temporarily, his “enemy,” the young Mousavi supporter in green sent a powerful message to the world: ultimately, we’re all on the same side. We can “vote” every day to create more suffering in the universe, or help relieve it, in whatever situations we find ourselves in.
Ed.’s note: You can see the original post from which this photograph (“Image #29”) comes, here.
For more from Steve Silberman, check out his article from our last issue, “Happily Ever After.” Steve also sat down for a Shambhala Sun Audio interview about that article and its primary concern, same-sex marriage. We also published a fine profile of Sylvia Boorstein by Steve last year.