Many of us will enjoy traditional July 4 festivities this weekend, and sometimes I am amazed that we continue to go on after the horrific acts of violence that abound. I strive to remain grateful for the freedom my country provides and in fact it feels markedly more precious in the face of the acts of hatred and the awareness of oppression around the globe. In my continual effort to express an enlightened understanding of the connection between the personal and universal, I see a parallel between being betrayed by individuals, and humanity’s betrayal. In the same way I have experienced feeling betrayed by those I love and trusted, I also see how many of us feel betrayed by the staggering growth of violence of late. Betrayal is a bitter truth that is hard to avoid if one is in the habit of loving fully and deeply and particularly as we grow older and become more seasoned in opening our hearts. In strength we learn to move on with broken hearts and count the blessings we do have, and from that space of gratitude more people we come to love show up and fill our hearts anew. On the larger scale of humanity, I know many cringe as yet another attack is reported, another story of inhumane cruelty is uncovered. How do we heal these seemingly insurmountable wounds of humanity? It always seems to come down to the same thing again and again. Whether its sung by the Beatles or heard in gatherings of worship, in the hopefulness of a yoga community, the mantra of a beating heart …. Love. Sometimes love feels like it can be obliterated as suddenly as a passing cloud of betrayal, as quickly as a round of bullets from remarkable weapons of destruction. Then somehow the cloud passes, and the warmth of love and hope emerges as we pick ourselves up once again to honor those fallen, those in the path of the ultimate betrayal of humanity. This cloud of betrayal is beyond enormous, and the only thing that seems to help is remembering that the sun, that love, is simply stronger, more virile in its enormity and omnipotence. I hope that the sparks of the fireworks we gaze on this weekend can serve as a reminder of the fragments of light that are one and the same as the essence of love that can only temporarily be obliterated by the cloud of betrayal. May we one day be truly independent – of the ultimate betrayal of our collective hearts that long to simply love without oppression or fear of betrayal. May our celebrations be based on hope for the substantial freedom of all beings ….