Dignity, endurance, calm, peacefulness, establishment and maintenance of strong boundaries. Commitment to order, sustaining and preserving balance, exercise of compassion, mercy and care in our dealings with one another. Defence of values of tolerance, defence of the rule of law, defence of the freedom of your heart to flourish and express your knowing fully and however you want to – within the boundaries of love, care, and compassion.
Remaining dignified is a heart practice. It is not the same as drawing yourself up on to the moral high ground, and it is not the same as putting up with bad behaviour. It is the refusal to allow your fineness of being, your essential goodness, the rhythmic beat of your heart, to be hijacked by the attention seeking tantrum of another.
There are a lot of different energies which we know about as human beings. There is the passionate, impulsive, bright fire of intensity – the hot blaze of which can consume, destroy, purify, transform. There is the persistent, connecting flow of relating, love and empathy, which reflects, soothes, dissolves pain and division, makes everything in to a new spring. The energy of dignity is the enduring, strong, protecting and preserving force, the force that gathers, persists, grows wise and contains all the rest – creates and maintains the conditions for life to flourish.
None of the energies are better or worse than one another, but for everything there is a time. Here, from the wisdom texts, is a way of understanding this:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3 (1-8)(KJV)
Each of us has to contemplate our rhythm, what the time is for us. What is required at this point? But the thing about this text is that the responsibility for finding the proper response to circumstance is with the responder. Do not be provoked away from your wisdom in to an untimely and inappropriate course of action, arising out of your fear, your terror. Do not do that. It is not necessary. Terrorism seeks to pull society, and each one of us, out of our wisdom. It seeks to hijack the agenda – hijack the ‘time’ – and unbalance and wrong foot the response.
Dignity, endurance, calm, peacefulness, and the establishment and maintenance of strong boundaries. And love, compassion, and mercy. Lets not be terrorised out of that.