Apologies, my weekly blog is late this week. It’s been a rather busy week with travel and work and now more travel!
Earlier this week, I was thinking about two of the biggest influences on my life – Buddhism and Quakerism. Buddhism – because I identify as a Practising Buddhist as well as a Unitarian Universalist and Quakerism – because my Psychotherapy Consulting Room is attached to the Quaker Meeting House in Central London. The reverential quietness that is observed in the Meeting House has the same feeling and ‘quality of being’ that is observed by Buddhists often referred to as ‘Noble Silence.’ I love the term ‘noble silence’ as it implies that the observation of silence is both an active state of being and an honourable way of being. For the first half of this week, I was caught up in these thoughts – in the bubble of my ‘noble silent world!’
Then on Wednesday evening we were out to dinner, chatting away to each other and our friends who own and run our local bistro. A young man came in to ask if he could use the bathroom. The owners said yes and no-one thought anymore about it. We paid our bill and both of us were more or less ready to leave, when a young couple of regulars came in and sat down at their favourite table. We realised that at least 25 + minutes had passed and the young man hadn’t emerged from the bathroom.We thought it strange, as did the owners Kasia and Mariusz, so I thought I’d go and check out that everything was okay with him.
I knocked on the door of the bathroom and this slurred voice told me to give him more time…………so I waited. Ten minutes passed and the thought occurred to me that maybe he was ‘shooting up’ injecting himself with a Class A drug…….. what would happen if Kasia and Mariusz were left alone with him, after we left…..I knocked the door again and he opened it…………..I could see that the floor was covered in water and bits of tissue paper. I sensed something was wrong, so I shouted to the owners to call the Police. As soon as I had done that he tried to push me out of the way and became both violent and verbally abusive. He punched, kicked and lunged at me………..I was trying to tell him to leave the bistro if he didn’t want to encounter the Police and that we were concerned about what had been going on in the bathroom while he was in there all that time. He became so violent that the Chef had to hold him down, we tried to get him out of the bistro but he became more violent and verbally abusive. Eventually we got him to leave. We then noticed the Chef – Mariusz’s -upper arm was covered in blood. Then suddenly he came running into the bistro again picked up some wine glasses and began throwing them at us…………………there was further commotion which involved him dancing in the middle of the road, overturning bins, then threatening to come back and attack all of us again. The Police arrived, they went after him with their sirens on. Another Police Car arrived and checked out what had happened.
The young couple left, there was only the four of us left in the bistro. Simon and I decided to stay on for a while to help clear up the mess that was left and help the owners close up. Mariusz had cut his arm in the struggle to get the guy out of the restaurant………..the guy was wearing a razor blade on a chain around his neck, hence why Marisusz got injured.
My ‘noble silence bubble’ well and truly burst on Wednesday night. The four of us were in a state of shock that this event had taken place in this nice leafy middle class part of London. We subsequently learnt that the Police had taken the guy into custody and all we could think was ‘thank you God’. Even if it was only for his own safety then being in Police custody was a good thing for this young man who was most definitely out of his trolly on hard drugs………….
My thoughts around ‘noble silence’ got well and truly interrupted two nights ago and now I’m left thinking about whether I could ever fully embrace the path of pacifism…………..I wonder is it more honest, on my part, to simply acknowledge that for me my calling is simply to be a peace maker.
In Faith and with love,
Pacifists or Peace Makers?