We were talking about religion and my neighbor said I don't want to offend, I don't know if you are religious and I said born Jewish, practice Buddhism and she said oh then you're not religious and I knew exactly what she meant and we couldn't stop laughing for a couple of seconds.
Because what a word means - like religious - depends on the day, the time, the place and what insecure power is running the show.
Those kids, those children of the elite in Bangladesh who took that restaurant hostage and died in a hail of gunfire 11 hours later - those boys who had so much to offer had gotten somebody's meaning of religion that had nothing to do with God.
Someone had found the crack that lives in all teenagers as they grow their brains and figure out their lives and rebel against their parents - a crack that is made of anger and pimples and hormones and confusion.
But someone had promised those kids a salve to that rupture - the guarantee of something we all want - that feeling of joy when we connect with a greater good, a moment of beauty, a delight, gratitude, belonging, being part of a community - all the things that makes someone happy. Only this time packaged in a gun.
The New York Times article said that one kid's father had noticed his son had stopped playing the guitar a couple of months ago and when asked the kid said, "Music is not good."
What could that kid have possibly been feeling in that hail of bullets? The same feeling as when he had playing the guitar he had once loved? Do any of us really think he felt joy the moment the shooting started?
The second most dangerous person in the world may be someone who isn't happy. But the most dangerous person is someone who is. Because it's hard to stick a gun in someone's hand when they are playing guitar or singing and dancing.
So perhaps, in fact, I'm seriously religious. Because in my religion, my Buddha dances.
If I Can't Dance I Don't Want To Be Part of Your Revolution
The full quote by Emma Goldman (from ifIcantdance.org):
Admonished for dancing at a party in New York, she was told “that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway.”
Goldman responded furiously: “I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from conventions and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement should not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it.”