More than 100 years ago, it was an annual tradition in some Native American tribes to capture a large bear, tie him to a stake, and then begin dancing around him. There was also a bonfire and drumming.

Then, one by one, members of the tribe approached the bear and confessed their sins. After everyone had whispered into the bear's ear, the bear was killed.

Today's bear – chained and cuffed - for American consumers is Bernard L. Madoff.

From media reports, the jeers, cheers and violent language thrown at him, show how deep the financial wound has been, for so many people.

For those who trusted him, Madoff was heroic when he was able to deliver 13% return on investments, at a time when the rest of the market was averaging 3-5%. No one questioned why. Then the Day of Reckoning came and those who had profited, suffered a great loss.

How symbolic Madoff now seems of a culture of conspicuous consumption, out of balance Nature, and out of step with the rest of the world. In Madoff, people saw what they wanted to see. They were captive of his elaborate

Now that Madoff's off to jail, one wonders: Should we focus our anger on him or our compassion?

When did Madoff realize that he was so out of integrity that his world would someday crash down around him? When did he stop listening to the inner voice that had served him so well in the past?

Today's comments on public rage ran to extremes: suggestions for torturing him, to burning in Hell, to having him serve as head of reforn if the SEC. The latter thinking, I suppose, might be a take-off of the phrase: "It takes a criminal to catch a criminal."

At the end of the day, the Madoff we have come to know through news stories, has been vanquished. He will now disappear from public view. Those who have lost the most, who are the most anguished, will now begin to look for other paths forward. Their lives will change. We will be told their stories.

We can offer compassion to all who were sucked into the current vortex of financial fraud, whether through naivety, inattention, or greed. Whether they have fallen from high places, or low, their needs are the same. They need to be assured of food, shelter and security.

Free of fear, they will be free to create. Like them, we are all re-creating ourselves. At all times.

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