What is the meaning of Life?
The helicopter flies low over the streets of Haiti, its video camera busy recording. Everywhere the lens focuses, buildings have fallen into rubble. Mile on endless mile of devastation. An entire city crushed.
The scene shifts to Toronto International Airport where refugees from Haiti's massive 7.3 earthquake are greeted by camera crews from the various news stations.
An elderly black man begins to cry, tears stream down his craggy cheeks. The camera closes on his agony. "Haiti. My Haiti. Why do so many bad things keep happening to you?"
The scene shifts again, to the anchor desk at the local TV Station. The News Anchor shakes his head, his voice deep and somber, "The scene earlier this afternoon at Toronto's Pearson Airport," he explains. "As refugees from that earthquake ravished city struggle to make sense of the devastation."
On the large screen behind him, the video from the earlier helicopter report continues to roll, now showing the streets littered with hundreds of bodies. The dead piled on top of the dead.
In Detroit, a young lawyer snaps awake filled with an unusual idea. He wants to make a movie about how, despite our differences, we are all One.
He wakes his wife and tells her of his idea. "You don't know anything about making a movie," she reminds him, but then she gets caught up in his sense of adventure.
He calls two of his friends and finds his enthusiasm is infectious. They decide to join him in making the film. None of them have any film making experience. They send away for a professional movie camera which arrives by mail several weeks later.
In the meantime they put together a list of 20 questions that they plan to ask people on the street and as many spiritual leaders from as many diverse backgrounds as they can persuade to talk with them.
The first famous person who agrees to be filmed is Professor Robert Thurman, personal friend of the Dali Lama, father of Uma Thurman, who greets them at his home in the mountains of New Hampshire. He sits on the top of a picnic table in his backyard. The camera rolls and the first question is asked: "What is the meaning of life?"
Thurman pauses for a minute in surprise, collects his thoughts and then begins to answer.
Soon other people will follow him, taking their turn at answering the questions: Deepak Chopra, author Barbara Marx Hubbard, Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Rabbi Arnie Sleutlberg, Father Thomas Keeting, spiritual icon Ram Dass, Buddhist monk and poet Thich Knat Hanh and dozens more. Each with their views and opinions.
I turn off the TV as the credits roll at the end of the ONE video and I sit in the quiet for a while.
Lindsay looks up at me from the floor and yawns.
I'm not thinking about what I've seen, not thinking about what has been said. But somehow images and feelings are roaming about through my head and finding their way to a convergence.
As I sit in the quiet of my comfortable home.
Far from Haiti.
"Haiti! My Haiti. Why do so many bad things keep happening to you?"
On the oceans and in the air the nations of the world are rushing to Haiti's assistance. The United States, Canada and Brazil are leading the relief effort on behalf of this Hemisphere. Food and water, clothing and tents, police and soldiers, heavy equipment and millions of dollars in aid.
Haiti, we have not forgotten you. An entire planet has been mobilized.
Although it all seems so little against the backdrop of such immense devastation.
But for now we put aside our differences and our mistrusts, our angers and our fears and look at Haiti appalled.
And for a moment, little Haiti, devastated Haiti, we are one.
To help with the quake relief in Haiti CLICK HERE
For more on the ONE Project CLICK HERE
icy backyard art
6 hours ago