“I cannot but see you as myself.
It is in the very nature of love
to see no difference.”
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, “I Am That.”
Although there still may be more violence in the days to come, this week we clearly saw the simmering anger, fear and “differentness,” fueled by Donald Trump’s words, bubble over. If we want inner mastery, then the most expedient thing to do is use what shows up in Life for our immediate growth. So wow, what a whopper of an opportunity we have for growth right now! I have lots of reactions to what’s occurred; I also see how humanity has historically focused on “differences,” that they can’t or won’t tolerate, thereby pulling us into deeper darkness. The wonderful thing is, seizing this moment for growth will give back 100-fold as your choices ripple outwards.
Consider beginning by truly seeking to see aspects of yourself in the rioters. Because if you can, you’ll have “softened the separateness” inside yourself, and thereby reduced “differentness.” Reducing “us versus them” aligns you with a more peaceful mindset. Let it connect you to a way of Being the most powerful change agents have imbued- including qualities of humility, courage and strength.
¨If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself.
What isn´t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.¨
Strive to connect to, not their misguided thoughts and actions, but what drove them to such beliefs and choices. Go under the top layers, and notice if you too have been swept up in false messaging, been swayed by a group, felt raw hatred, felt righteously aggrieved— wanted retribution, etc. I know I have; more than once.
If you choose to stay open and see aspects of yourself in the rioters, and really be willing to elevate your perspective beyond the personal, then you can become responsive, rather than reactive. Elevate your thinking/reactions; then transmit this outward, whether silently or through action. How can you do this naturally?
- Start with seeing how those images and words being played over multiple news platforms are reflecting back something about ALL of us- about humanity..
- Notice what feels familiar to you personally, or relationally, about these scenes. Again, pull back from surface details here. Watch it like you’d watch a movie, can you connect to what’s surging through the rioters based on your own past experience of fury?
- Continue to track the urge to see people (aka “the others”) as essentially different than you. Separate out behavioral differences of course, then redirect to understanding what is driving those wanting harm.
We can, none of us, separate ourselves from the instinctive pattern to believe in our separateness from others. That’s because it’s part of the human condition, and therefore human history; consider the excruciating harm done just from this one principle. In the King James Version of the Bible, there is a familiar passage: an angry mob wanted to stone a woman caught in the act of adultery, and heatedly sought Jesus to weigh in. Instead of responding, Jesus began writing in the dirt with his finger in silence. What a powerful act. He didn’t reject the mob’s frenzy, or the laws they were impassioned to act out, he received them. He paused the discourse. After a bit he raised his head and said, “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Then he simply went back to writing in the earth! (gotta love that part). This diffused the mob. I love Tolle’s definition of “sin,” and apply it to current times.
“According to Christian teachings, (from the ancient Greek)… to sin means to miss the mark,
as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence.
It means to live unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering…..
The term,… points to the dysfunction inherent in the human condition.”
Eckhart Tolle , A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
Right now is a potent time to tip the scales towards balance. I think it’s about seeing ourselves in each other, not joining in more hatred and dehumanization, but understanding what is being activated in others. With such clarity you can elevate your thinking/reactions. It is time to become more humble, rather than more righteous. Because just as fear begets more fear, so does righteousness.
If we want to stop witnessing so much hatred, we have to become peacekeepers. We are each able to make change in the world by changing how we respond to what is occurring around us. I’ve felt what I imagine people in that crowd were experiencing: desire for “justified retribution,” hatred, believed that others were evil, “wanted (them) gone/personally destroyed,” etc. I’ve also felt superior, self-pitying, victimized, judgmental, fearful, swept up by emotion, zealous, and ready to vilify someone(s). If you are honest, haven’t you? I’ve just learned how to manage that energy when it moves through me, as are you. From that baseline of genuine humility we as a community, as a country, can create real change.