I was walking peacefully along the Thames Walk this afternoon, on my way back from a meeting, enjoying the London sunshine and listening to ‘Islands’ by Ludovico Einaudi, a gentle way to end the week. Life is good.
The warmth of the sun on my face was welcome after a long, cold winter. Moving the family to the U.K. has been tough but it’s thankfully all coming together. Stranger in a strange land. This place has changed so much in the eighteen years I’ve been away, and in some ways hasn’t changed at all.
I walked up the stairs past Somerset House, thinking about the incredible exhibitions I’ve had the privilege of going to there, and onto the Westminster Bridge.
The Westminster Bridge is my favourite bridge to cross the Thames because of the view of London, both upstream and downstream.
As I walked along I saw temporary barriers that aren’t normally there and thought about the recent madness that took place here with the driver of the SUV ploughing through people on the pavement. I looked at the faces of the people walking towards me. The tired faces of the people on their way home from work. The excited faces of the tourists. Young couples in love, walking hand in hand, stopping to kiss above the Thames. Children bustling along trying to keep up with their Mum.
Having a visual mind can be both a blessing and a curse. I pictured the SUV mount the pavement and mow people down. I tried to estimate the reaction time you would have in this situation, imagined what I would do. The road or the Thames? I realised with a sickening feeling that you’d be lucky to see him coming at all if you were walking with your back to him. Facing him you’d have a second or two if you’re lucky. My heart goes out to the people injured and the families of those killed.
The media claimed this as a religiously motivated terrorist attack. I’ve been interested in religion and spirituality since I was a young teenager and have read up about many religions. There are common threads through nearly all of them. It never ceases to amaze me that Muslims, Jews and Christians worship the same God but will kill each other claiming their way of worship to be the only one true way. The Old Testament, relevant to all three religions, is clear about this. Don’t kill.
Buddhism takes this a little further. Don’t kill anything or anyone.
Killing in the name of God has to be the greatest insane contradiction of all.
You can sum up the rules/laws of all the major religions in one sentence. Don’t be an asshole. If you kill people you’re an asshole. If you lie, cheat, steal, rape or covet you’re being an asshole. The secret to living a Godly life is actually very simple.
Don’t be an asshole.