And now. A new normal.
A world where hatred, cruelty, lying and misunderstanding bubble up from the collective and seems to be welcomed as acceptable and normal and powerful.
How do we react, those of us who are loving, kind, truthful, connected and watching these terrible patterns emerge ?
I see people who are fired up and pissed off. There is vitriol and provocation. Arguing and anger. Name calling and finger pointing.
There is also apathy and uncertainty. Confusion and fear. Ignorance and ignoring. The spinning of minds and the lashing of tongues.
When you refuse another person’s right to their opinion, how can you demand a right to your own? Agreeing to disagree – now, mind you, as long as you do not try to force your values or opinion on them – is okay. I think we’re getting lost in that process.
Dr. Seuss has a story called The Sneeches. Now the Sneeches, they all look alike; and things are grand; until a few of them get to wear a star. It makes them special; different; it separates them into factions. And the trouble begins. I am not a student of history, but I am a student of human nature. Good lord, look at any sports team rivalry; it’s human to split off into groups; to compare, to judge.
But right now doing that is dangerous; the most dangerous thing of all. If we divide, the fall is going to be more horrific than we can possibility imagine. Understand that some people have not spent any time thinking of the true consequences of certain actions. Their filter of experience has not yet permitted their mind to imagine some of the things that could go down based on their choices. And by pushing them into a corner, they become even more invested in their decision.
If all you do is mock someone; deride, call names, whatever; that slams the door on discussion. It sends everyone even further apart into their separate corners. It sends them to the place where they only hear back from others the precise things that are arising in their own minds. There’s no differing opinion or perspective. No insight or refinement of theories and concepts. No stories to share; no community to engage in.
And when things begin to go really wrong; and they will; those folks will look away. They will have no connection to those different people; to those who have this opposing point of view. Because it is happening to people they no longer have a relationship with; those suffering will have become less than human. They can rationalize things that happen to “those” people.
No one wants to live in that world.
A moment to tell you how I am feeling? My jaw drops open at a country that was founded by immigrants who now wants to exclude immigrants. My heart cannot understand a country that was founded by people who wanted the freedom to practice a religion of their own choosing and now wants to discriminate based on religion. My hand balls into a fist to think that someone thinks I am less important or intelligent or capable because I am a woman. I am frankly terrified for my friends who are transgender or whose hearts cannot help but love someone of the same gender.
These opinions I am happy to debate; to discuss; to try to understand and explain. But the moment someone tries to enforce these beliefs on me or others; that is the day and the time for conscious, intelligent action.
That is the day when you have to decide that you value the peace enough to fight for it.
Not a single one of us can control what is happening in our society. But we do have control over our actions, our words and our minds. It all boils down to trying to control the thing. To over-control life and the unfolding of the karma. Do not spend all your energy trying to grab the wheel of the ship and go against the current. Conserve your energy and be ready for the real battles which will be small and meaningful and built on the foundation of real relationships amongst real human beings.
In the meantime, maximum self-care. Set aside the distractions and confusions and information because even some of the good things are complete lies and subterfuge. There is almost no way to know what is truth and untruth unless you are seeing it with your own eyes and in person – not on the internet.
What is real? Well, some of the things you can’t actually see. The things you can feel and grow with your heart. Love; compassion; connection. Stick to your practices. Reach out to like-minded people. And yet, stay willing to listen, engage and try to understand those who are different from you. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings, living on the same planet. Like it or not, the fabric of our lives and this Universe is woven together; we have SO much free will; but always remember — there are Divine hands that cradle our fate.