Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A lesson from Michael Jackson for everyone....!!!

A lesson from Michael Jackson for everyone

By: Gerard D. Muttukumaru, Author, "Ten Simple Steps to make a marriage and family last” - a guide for intended and married couples".
Michael and I are from the same generation. I have spent half my life in Southern California a mere 45 minutes from Hollywood and three hours from Neverland Ranch, the "controversial" home of Michael, the adult who never really wanted to grow up! But grow up he did. His sudden death has preoccupied me. A part of me, to paraphrase the very talented Sri Lankan musician Sunil Perera, "does not know why"! Another part of me knows exactly why. Those of us who never met him, felt like we have always known him! Whether we liked it or not, he was part of our lives! To us, he was and will always be Michael.

A question that I had watching the unbelievable and moving memorial service for Michael at Staples Center in Los Angeles, which I drove past twice a week in Los Angeles for so many years, is " Why do we keep from really celebrating the living until it is too late....until they are dead"? Michael was a real exception. I don't really know what happened on Neverland Ranch several years ago with his high profile child molestation case. Did he or didn't he? The case was never proven. But he was found guilty in that other court, the "court of public opinion". As result, he was almost "persona non grata" in his own country and had to live overseas and in Bahrain. The world's greatest living superstar had disappeared from sight. Then suddenly he surfaced this year with all the hoopla about his "second coming", an almost herculean 50 concert tour. He was rehearsing at the same Staple Center just a day before he died. The drama of how he died and why he had to die will continue to unfold!

One does not have to like his music to recognize him as a superstar and perhaps the world's greatest living entertainer. He was a genius. But what really happened to him that no one knew about? Even those closest to him knew little or nothing. His sudden death shocked them all. Others like Deepak Chopra had warned him years ago about an overdependence on prescription medications. We are told that he was living with great emotional and physical pain and unable to sleep. Many of us may have done exactly what he did; try desperately and almost anything to bury or remove the pain. We just don't know.

Like so many geniuses before him, he was a tormented soul and even in this torment, he gave so much to the world. He told us that we must "Heal the World", that "We are the World" and that "We are not alone". He brought world hunger and poverty to our doorsteps. A very close friend of his recently told the world that he once looked into Michael's eyes, while they were alone, saw a tormented soul, and asked him; "Are you lonely Michael?". The superstar answered: "I am very lonely". Can you imagine the world's greatest living entertainer being lonely? One can only imagine him being surrounded by people all the time. So many of us are so lonely that we constantly want to have people around us; we want to be in a crowd. Others are in a crowd and in the public arena and still very lonely. Someone once said that New York could be the loneliest city in the world! We must learn to enjoy solitude, to be alone with ourselves and really cherish it. Loneliness and solitude are two totally different things. We must be our own best friend first! Only then can we be a real best friend to another person. I don't know if Michael understood this. But he has taught us this now. He has forced us to look deep into our own souls.

Michael also described in another interview the abuse from his father. He had a huge problem with self-esteem and the way he looked. Stories about this abound. Though he sang that "it did not matter if you are black or white", he seemed to have chosen to become white! He was really a twisted soul and yet such a beautiful one; a contradiction if there was one! People who think they are "normal" really don't accomplish what geniuses like Michael Jackson do! These "normal" people have the audacity to sit in judgment of geniuses like Michael!

One critical lesson to learn from the tragedy of Michael is that each one of us must examine our souls and honour and celebrate those closest to us while they are living. As Mike Rutherford sang in "The Living Years": "It is too late when we die; it's too bad we don't see eye to eye; I wasn't there that morning when my father passed away; I wish I could have told him all the things I had to say". I see so many people who show up at funerals who rarely or never visited the person who has passed away when he or she was living! My heart goes out to so many families which are in turmoil where husband and wife rarely or never speak to each other; where parent and child rarely or never speak to each other; where a grandchild rarely or never speaks or visits a grandparent often in the same town; where brothers and sisters rarely or never speak to each other; where in-laws rarely or never speak to each other; where close members of the family rarely or never speak to each other". Why do we say and do terrible things to each other in our own families? We are all each other's brothers and sisters as Michael reminded us.

Every faith or religion has at it's core unconditional love, forgiveness and reconciliation. The "next life" whatever we believe it to be, is contingent on how much we have loved, forgiven and reconciled ourselves with those we may have offended or those who have offended us. "It is too late when we die". Whatever we have to do, we must do today, this moment. The next moment, as we saw in the life of Michael, is not guaranteed to anyone. Running to churches, mosques, prayer meetings, pilgrimages or losing ourselves in causes, will not absolve or save us. One of the world's greatest spiritual teachers commanded us: "So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother (any person) has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother (the other person), and then come and offer your gift". The same teacher told us: "if you do not forgive one another and be reconciled to one another, neither will your father in heaven forgive you". Can anything be clearer?

Michael has reminded us that we all come with terrible flaws. The great sin is not adultery, but for any of us to sit in judgment of another human being. It is the sin of spiritual arrogance, pride and self righteousness.


No comments:

Post a Comment