Friday, November 11, 2005

People at the Conference

I learned so much from everyone there - from the famous Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka - The Venerable Sobitha - who taught us how to meditate to the Moslem woman from Zimbabwe to the Bosnian people who wanted to help us get out of our conflict the way they did.

We had a meditation session with Sobitha one morning. I tried to concentrate on his "breath in, breath out" meditations. I even tried to look at my nostrils as he instructed while my eyes were closed.

"People are not happy" he said. "People always want something. Then when they get it, they want something else. They are never satisfied."

"You talking to me?" I thought.

The smoke of the incense wafted towards me and no one else. My mind drifted to all sorts of thoughts and I got sidetracked from "breath in/breath out" I'm such a total loser meditator. And as I was sitting cross legged, my feet began to tingle and fall asleep.

I spoke with the Zimbabwe woman who irritated me by telling me that Jews rule the world.

"Really?" I inquired. "Looks like you've been reading too many of those awful anti-semitic books around."

"Oh no. You know who owns Coca Cola? A Jew." and she rattled off his name.

"Oh yeah? So who owns Pepsi?" I challenged her. "Probably not a Jew."

I was fuming. "And what about the non-Jews like the Hiltons with their slutty kids and Donald Trump who is so full of himself. And what about billionaire Jews who are philanthropists and use their money for the good in this world. HUH?"

She didn't have much else to say, except that she thought the Ayatollah was good for Iran because he brought Islam to the country while the Shah was a total non-believer and people were behaving in a non-Islamic fashion.

I grabbed ahold of her friend one evening and told her about the history of Israel/Palestine. She had no idea that before 1967, the West Bank was actually in Jordan.

But they did come to our presentations and I am glad they listened to us. It may change their views, even slightly.

The Moslem Bosnian girl in her twenties said she had lived in Iraq for 5 years under Sadaam Hussein's rule and even though he was an idiot and a tyrant, people lived pretty normal lives there. She wished the Americans would leave and let the locals deal with the aftermath of who will be in power, etc. No one really wants them there it seemed.

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