No doubt by now Ted Kennedy and Michael Jackson have shared a little fist bump in the great beyond. They had so much in common in their most recent incarnation. They were born under the star named “Go Big or Stay Home.” They were dramatic reminders to millions that we are all multi-dimensional beings––animated by nobility and ignorance: able to heal and inspire, as well as harm and confuse.
Indeed, among the few things that distinguish Michael & Teddy from most of us is that they lived so visibly. Each has been a banquet that feeds the world’s craving for titillation and judgment. (Why, even as we speak, some tabloid is probably confirming that the spirit of Senator Kennedy now inhabits Obama dog, Bo, and whispers regularly in the president’s ear about health care reform and the virtues of lobster-flavored kibble.)
As a result, the recently departed senator and showman continue to illuminate that part of us that is addicted to organizing humankind into heroes and villains, good guys and bad, saints and sinners. Why do we do this? My guess is we’re afraid to acknowledge that both are essential components of our nature. Seems we’re Bullwinkle and Boris Badinoff, Batman and the Joker, the Yankees and the Red Sox! The only reason we hate something is because it represents a part of us we have yet to love.
Great sages tell us that embracing the oneness of existence is the price of lasting joy. They also say we can’t learn to understand something unless we love it. For some of us, Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy can be valuable teachers in this quest. Loving all the parts of them (or anyone, for that matter) is inextricably linked to loving all the parts of us.