I saw this gold mask of a dead warrior in a museum in Thessaloniki 18 years ago. His mysterious smile made me startle, then. A few days ago I stumbled upon him again and was deeply touched.
In these days of crisis, when minds are consuming and producing opinions and counter-opinions in order to escape the frightening and exciting dynamics unfolding in the world, when people jump unto each other to defend beliefs of hope or fear, the dead warrior keeps smiling. What did he go through before this blissful smile of surrender came unto his face? We don’t know. It’s probable that he experienced states as hope, confusion, violence, panic, paralysis in his last hours, minutes, seconds. But now there is this smile, that – thanks to the golden foil – is still visible for us. His armor hasn’t saved him, his weapons haven’t saved him, his ruler and his companions haven’t saved him, yet I feel so much peace when I look at him.
He lets me think, what if I remain on the inner battlefield these days without giving striking and countering too much attention. What if I remain in the dynamics under the surface of the battle, if I feel and go through the struggle in my own body, encountering panic, numbness, wishful thinking, anger, grief and whatever “enemy” comes along. What if I do not participate in the game of finding the right answer, the right action in this moment but let the game play me.
When I allow this possibility, a deep fear that keeps me from letting it unfold, shows itself: I am obsessed by the idea that there is such a thing as the “right opinion and action”, and if I do not find it, I will be guilty of not helping to prevent a global catastrophe. Aha. I have been wrestling with this enemy for days now. And slowly there is peace and clarity returning under this helmet. What if the drive to find the right opinion and action itself is part of the catastrophe? What if there were times when this strategy perhaps was necessary and helpful, but not now? What if now a more encompassing felt sense is wanting to take me?
A sensitivity that has time to listen to the voices of all beings – the voices of the earth, sky, sun, moon, stars, trees and flowers, bees, birds and cows, and of humanity. Why resist life’s inter-relatedness, life’s creativity that is manifesting itself so strongly at this moment of crisis? This creativity lives underneath the surface of how things seem to be. Why not allow changes in myself and around me that are beyond what I can possibly imagine in this moment? Isn’t that what death is? Even if my body may live some more years, some more decades, the death of what has been is knocking at the door right now. And these times of quarantine are helping to not escape my own house, my own body. The mysterious smile of the dead warrior is calling me.