The East Side Gallery

 “Die Mauer wurde nicht in Washington, Bonn oder Moskau zum Einsturz gebracht. Sie wurde von den mutigen und unerschrockenen Menschen eingedrückt, und zwar von Ost nach West.” (The Wall was not brought down by Washington, Bonn or Moscow. It was razed to the ground by the courageous and intrepid people, from both the East and the West.)

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Berlin, November 9th 1999
“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
― Joseph Fort Newton
Henry Schmidt: Vergesst mir die Liebe nicht

So, finally last Sunday I went to the East Side Gallery, as a gallery it is pretty decent. The artworks are unquestionably enjoyable. Some say they are “disappointed but not surprised”. Maybe it looks much better on summer…

But it is, undoubtedly, a great symbol. The fall of a wall. So symbolic. So Berlin. So many people, so many lives involved for the same cause. Fellow citizens separated by mindless ideologies.

“Finally, at 10:45 p.m. on 9 November, Harald Jäger, the commander of the Bornholmer Straße border crossing yielded, allowing for the guards to open the checkpoints and allowing people through with little or no identity checking. As the Ossis swarmed through, they were greeted by Wessis waiting with flowers and champagne amid wild rejoicing. Soon afterward, a crowd of West Berliners jumped on top of the Wall, and were soon joined by East German youngsters. The evening of 9 November 1989 is known as the night the Wall came down.

Click here to read more about “the night the Wall came down.”

But sometimes I wonder: how many invisible walls do we create around us? One of the biggest challenge we face is to be aware of our prejudices. We may have some hidden ideologies in our mindset that prevent us from opening our minds. Even if subconsciously we nourish some preconceived notions. In general, the human mind does it all the time, as a form of self-affirmation. But what about this is important to us? Actually, it is very important to the ego, as a way of creating the illusion of dependence, to create an individuality, a dichotomy. Dissolving prejudices in dissolving the ego.

How can we help to make this world better to us? When we think in our society as a whole we think without the ego. Because if there is any separation, any wall, then there is the ego, then there is suffering and pain. How should we proceed? How can we solve our problems? Only by bringing walls down, only by thinking as a whole. In a small community, within our families, observing all in one single perspective is narrow. Solutions come from panoramic view.

What do you hope to accomplish by nourishing a narrow mind? I am sure we all have more to add when we open up. I also find it hard sometimes and of course many complex things need time to be undone. Basically, breathing the moment and feeling every scent and sound helps me to focus on the moment and forget all the disconnections my mind creates. But of course, bringing down all our wall is an endless journey…

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