I was on a flight into San Francisco and I surreptitiously noticed the young man sitting next to me in the middle seat. He radiated a calm centeredness. He didn’t seem to be squirming in the struggle for “personal boundaries” that so often accompanies those who are stuffed into tight middle seats. As I’m always intrigued to find out what beliefs are held by those who seem at peace amidst the chaos of everyday life, I engaged him in conversation.
He explained that he was a Marine and had been stationed four different times in Iraq. He said his life was often in peril and there were many times when buddies, on either side of him, had been killed or seriously wounded. I couldn’t understand how someone who had been in that much constant danger and who had seen so many violent deaths and carried shrapnel in his arms could be so at peace.