Reflections on “At Hell’s Gate”

This poem was written by B. B. The text that follows it is based on the teachings of Claude AnShin Thomas, especially his book At Hell’s Gate.

I heard, “The war is over!”
As I turned to see
Reflected in a mirror
The enemy, like “me!”

Revolted by the image
I staggered back in fear
And screamed, “The war’s not over!
The enemy is right here!”

Gathering my courage
I faced him where we stood
And seeing he was wounded
Sought to help him, if I could.

So, tenderly I held him
Whole moments turned to years,
And truth’s balm slowly healed us
Melting hatred into tears.

To this day we’re still embracing
I, my enemy and friend
Sharing healing’s sacred journey
Step by step until the end

Facing truth

I can’t think my way into a new way of living, but I can live my way into a new way of thinking.

I can’t control circumstances but I can have an active role in healing. Healing is rooted in truth. Healing is not the absence of pain, but living with pain so it doesn’t control my life. Healing won’t happen to me, it will happen by me and be proven in the very fabric of my life.

Healing begins as I stand resolutely, facing circumstances, anchored in my breath; as I stand tenderly open, poised, concentrated with the truth, relaxed and powerful—without rigidity or aggression. Healing grows as I stand bravely, like still water, realizing the intimate details of circumstances and their effects on my mind—not fighting against, running away or hiding from them. Healing is actualized as I stand tranquilly, confident I can act, yet choosing to wait until with clear awareness, correct understanding, and true knowing, I am called by circumstances to give all the positive potential I have, with reverence and compassion, so that blessings may arise—without hanging onto imagined outcomes. Healing is to stand; just like this, so suffering may decrease and life become clearer, more fluid and simple—even if it is painful.

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