It can be a helpful exercise to take any topic and explore for ourselves how it may look from a range of perspectives.
Lets take one of a number of similar stories on the behavior of US soldiers in Iraq…
Iraq envoy accuses US of killing
Iraq’s ambassador to the UN has demanded an inquiry into what he said was the “cold-blooded murder” of his young unarmed relative by US marines. […]
He said Mohammed, an engineering student, was visiting his family home when some 10 marines with an Egyptian interpreter knocked on the door at 1000 local time.
He opened the door to them and was “happy to exercise some of his English”, said the ambassador.
When asked if there were any weapons in the house, Mohammed took the marines to a room where there was a rifle with no live ammunition.
It was the last the family saw him alive. Shortly after, another brother was dragged out and beaten and the family was ordered to wait outside.
As the marines left “smiling at each other” an hour later, the interpreter told the mother they had killed Mohammed, said Mr Sumaidaie.
“In the bedroom, Mohammed was found dead and laying in a clotted pool of his blood. A single bullet had penetrated his neck.”
Source: BBC News
Personal Level Views
When awareness is exclusively identified with the small self, it functions in a dualistic way. It tends to create oppositions and identify with one group against the other.
For those already opposed to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, this may be is just another example of the inhumanity of US soldiers, US government and possibly the US culture in general. Or if the view is more refined, there may be a view of these soldiers – as well as the Iraqi people – being victims of an inhumane military culture and of US foreign policies.
For those who see the Iraqi war as a part of spreading freedom and democracy around the world, there could be a denial about the US government or US soldiers ever doing anything unethical. This story is clearly a lie, designed to blacken the reputation of the US. Or there could be an acceptance of the story, but a dismissal of it as a rare anomality. There will always be a few bad apples, and it does not reflect on the US military, US foreign policies or US culture in general.
For those who see the invasion and occupation of Iraq as a part of a strategy of furthering US economic, military and cultural dominance in the world – and in the Middle East in particular – this may be seen as an unfortunate incident, but also an acceptable cost – along with the other tens of thousands of dead civilian Iraqis. You can’t make an omelet without breaking an egg.
In all of these views, there is a “we” and a “them”. We are right, they are not. We take care of our own, even if it may bring suffering to others.
A transdual view can function on different levels…
From an exclusively Absolute view, nothing happened. Nothing ever happens or will happen. It is all just a mirage – insubstantial appearances. The nature of all phenomena is spaciousness and clarity.
From a Big Mind view, this is all expressions of Big Mind. The soldiers, the killed young man, the mother, the reporter, the US government, the emotions and thoughts experienced by all of these, are all Big Mind. It is all part of the richness of Existence. It is all just Existence exploring itself in its myriad ways. This is the view of equanimity.
From a Big Heart view, there is a deep compassion for all human beings involved in this situation. We see the suffering of the soldiers, and of the family and friends of the dead man. We see the suffering and confusion of those who defend the acts of the soldiers, and those who see it as just another example of US dominance and inhumanity.
We see the confusion of each person involved, and how this confusion leads to suffering in its many variations and manifestations. Ultimately, these are all just human beings trying to make the best out of a difficult situation, doing as best as they can – in the inner/outer situation they are in.
From a Yang Big Heart view, there is also the element of ruthless compassion. Of cutting through and shake people out of their delusion. For the soldiers, to help them see how they act out of lack of empathy and compassion, and thus cut themselves off from their own humanity. For those on either side of the war and the issue, to help them see the humanity in the opponents. For everyone, to let go of attachments to ideologies and see that we are all just humans doing as best as we can, in all our confusion and pain.