As I write in the stillness of this moment, thousands of daily wage earners and migrant workers are seeking respite from the retribution of a tiny C-virus, while some of us have the privilege and comfort of contemplations on life and its meaning.
Nudged by silence, one thinks of how slaves of creativity – artists, musicians, photographers, performers, filmmakers, poets and writers – fill the hollows in the world with their gifts of love.
One such offering is John Lennon’s Imagine. Another offering is from the Swedish sculptor Carl Fredrik Reutersward, whose work Non-Violence, or what is also known as The Knotted Gun, emerged after the tragic assassination of Lennon, his friend, in 1980. Cast in bronze, it was inspired by Lennon’s forever song Imagine, its lyrics humming in my head since 1971.
Nobel Prize co-laureate Kofi Annan had said, “Reutersward’s sculpture has enriched the consciousness of humanity with a powerful symbol that encapsulates, in a few simple curves, the greatest prayer of man; that which asks not for victory, but for peace.”
Did we not arrive from our mother’s womb, not knowing the labyrinths of power and war, of religious and territorial divides? That innocence was wrapped in warm blankets of peace. And as we grew, the intoxicants of crowns and kingdoms, of consumption and empire claimed us irrevocably. But wait, we are not perfect!
Seeking perfection, the feeling of inadequacy overwhelms. There is never a perfect being and never a perfect situation and you learn to embrace all of it, and it measures up to the fact that we are so fragile, so ephemeral, so perfectly imperfect.
Within this imperfection, we can try learning compassion. We can learn that the knotted gun cannot kill and non-violence nurtures peace and hope. And together, we can heal the earth.
Read the other articles in The Art of Solitude series here.