This week practice remembers me a recent movie called A Bottle in the Gaza Sea (Une bouteille à la mer). It is a touching story about two people that never met but were both affected in unexpected ways. Their experience was one of division and exclusion. With this in mind I wondered which qualities are necessary to open space and transform our living experience.
“When we let the ‘here’ of ‘I am here’ open into the fullness of space, the juncture that presents the zero-point becomes the meeting point of time and space and knowledge, and the baseline becomes our connection with others, a link that has been there from the beginning. The space and senses and perception we ordinarily operate open differently, ready to accommodate joy. We find that we are at home in the universe.” SDTS pg 10-11
What if the zero point becomes an intersection (meeting point) instead of a starting point? How is it possible to connect people separated by hatred? Why not change anger and aggressiveness into friendship and understanding?
This is the story:
17-year-old Tal has emigrated from France to Jerusalem with her family. Following a bombing near her home, she writes a letter expressing her refusal to accept that only hatred can reign between Israelis and Palestinians. She slips the letter into a bottle, and her brother throws it into the sea near Gaza, where he is carrying out his military service. A few weeks later, Tal receives an e-mail response from a mysterious “Gazaman,” a young Palestinian named Nam. Thus begins a turbulent but tender long-distance friendship between two young people that are separated by a history they are trying both to understand and change.
At first, Naim has nothing but contempt for his Israeli pen pal. He considers her and everyone she knows his enemy, and doesn’t shy away from expressing his anger. She pushes him to acknowledge both sides of their impossibly complex situation, and eventually they impact each other in ways no one could have expected.
There are no villains here, no attempts to sway opinions or even stake out political ground. We’ve seen many stories like theirs before. What elevates this one, however, is the gentleness with which the author approaches his difficult subject making this drama more open-hearted.
An inquiry in search for knowledge, will lead nowhere if it was not made with gentleness and an open-heart. Aversion and hatred blinds awareness creating separation. A focal point in the experience rather than in the zero-point and the certainty that are alternatives to our pain and distress will lead to more inclusion.
With gentleness awareness can guide action without damaging the delicate fabric of the living experience. With an open heart it is possible to embrace all difficult situations.