Notes on a Buddhist path

Words for Aurora

July 22, 2012 By | 3 Comments

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. ~ Buddha

My recent article at is all about words. Yummy, fragile, crooked, blessed words. After I finished writing it I realized I hadn’t gotten words out of my system. I just had to say more about words.

Words spin me like a whirling dervish of clandestine epiphanies. They jig me when I’m on the road to Jag. Their honey slick venom drips through my veins and makes me crazy trying to put their fevered lushness onto paper in just the right order so the magic of their poison can infect people in the marrow of their being. They mend me when my soul has frayed and slap me when I lose my balance and fall against them, tumbling to a place I dread to see as me.

Like today.

Heading home from an eager morning of bittersweet cappuccino and grocery shopping I felt a lyric pass through me as my bus and I arrived at our stop precisely at the same instant. Kismet (another auspicious word.)  Two men unwound by life settled themselves at the back of the bus and shared with each other the greasy details of their $3 breakfast excursions. As a wildfire fanned by angry winds, I felt their conversation shift direction, a haze of distrust enshrouded me and battlement walls sprang up through their voices. They were talking about the man who shot all those people a few days ago in Aurora, Colorado.

Do you think they’ll kill him?

The sooner the better.

Firing squad.

Like Gary Gilmore.

Do it quick, that’s what Gilmore said.

Think we should have the death penalty here in Canada?

Yep, an eye for an eye.

Do it quick. Could spend $100,000 feeding them for life.

Do it quick.

I sat and listened to the storm of their words. The calm surface of their killing voices drowned me in my own swell of anger and resentment. I felt the waves of my rage towards them pull me under in a riptide of intolerance. In the midst of the wrathful tempest rising in me I found a cove of refuge in metta, loving kindness. Offering a wish to the men and myself that we be well and happy, peaceful and at ease, that we may be free from suffering, I felt the mast of our sinking ship righted and a placid sense of care wash over us all.

Aurora. The Roman goddess of the dawn. Who would think such darkness could befall a place that holds such a namesake of light? Who would think such golden words as “love thy neighbour” could be cashed in for the tin dross of vengeance and hate? While my senses break open to beauty’s ethereal sonata I writhe in the pain of hate’s discordant dirge. Words can be messengers of emotions and thoughts, of poetry and proclamations of war. They touch us in the way they are spoken, in their place setting on a page, in the aftermath of actions taken in their name.

I still love words. Words like dishpan hands and kaleidoscopes. Rodeo and melancholy. Cheetah and stupendous. I love what they mean, the way they sound, the people who speak them and write them and tell us we are more than a scramble of letters and sentences. Our words tend to our hearts and the hearts of everyone and every thing that feels their effect. I hope my words can penetrate my own anger, my own lust, my own ignorance and find a still place of comfort and forgiveness for us all.

At the end of my article for Life As A Human, I included the video below. It’s a poem by spoken word artist, Kate Tempest, melding her luminous prose with that of Shakespeare’s, “The Tempest”. Watching it again today, my tears tipped their brink. Her words, her gentle, pointed, prophetic words speak to Aurora and the men on the  bus and all the language of hate. Watch it, will you. Because the devils are here.

“What we came after” performed by Kate Tempest as part of the RSC’s Sound and Fury project – Shakespeare meets modern wordplay.Originally commissioned for the egg, Theatre Royal Bath. Find our more about Kate at her website:

Image credit: Aurora Borealis by Frederic Edwin Church [Public domain] –  Wikimedia Commons


  1. Thanks for sharing this. We can get swept up in the frenzy of anger and emotions, or we can allow ourselves to hold the peace within us. All it takes is one person to change things either way.

    • Thanks for your words. Yep, a change of perspective, a little fresh air, a different view out the window of life and shake up everything.

      I love your blog as well! Thank you for those words as well.


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