When you watch the news with all the divisiveness and polarization, your heart may ache, but it doesn’t have to break. I want to offer you a different way to hold all this chaos so that rather than being a part of the turmoil by reacting to it with fear and frustration, you become a part of the healing that can arise out of it.
Yes, this looks like a breakdown time, but it is really a breakthrough time. What do I mean by that? Life is an evolving process, always changing, always becoming a greater expression of itself. If you doubt that, recognize that at one time the Earth was just a fiery ball of gas and dust. And now, through this creative process called evolution, the earth is filled with dancing water, majestic mountains, butterflies, jaguars, pristine icebergs and jungles filled with parrots.
This continual evolving of life on this planet hasn’t stopped now that human beings have shown up. In fact, we are in one of the major evolutionary shifts that has happened on this planet, and this shift is happening in the human mind. For most of the time human beings have been here we have lived in a dualistic mind that sees through the lens of good and bad, right and wrong. If you look at history, you will see all the heartache that has come from that – the wars, the oppression, the defining people by the color of their skin, their gender, their age, their sexual orientation or their religious inclination. In the 20th century, this old kind of mind fostered the annihilation of over 200 million of our fellow human beings through war and oppression!
Now something new is being born – a mind that is connected to the heart. It doesn’t divide, it unites. It doesn’t judge; it accepts. It doesn’t exclude; it includes. And it knows we are all in this together, living on a tiny, jewel of a planet as it dances through vast oceans of space. If you doubt that this new mind is arising all over our planet, watch the videos of the gathering that happened two days after the riots in Charlottesville. The organizers said they didn’t post it on social media because they didn’t want protestors to interrupt it. Instead, it spread by word of mouth and many hundreds of people gathered with candles, singing songs of love and peace.
How do we evolve into this new kind of mind? First, by recognizing that it is showing up more and more, not only in Charlottesville but all over the world in response to terrorist acts, tsunamis, and earthquakes. In a time of great challenge, the heart of humanity shows up! And second, it comes by recognizing the old mind and watching it in operation. This is why it is so important that we have a president that represents this old kind of mind so well for we can see it happening right before our eyes and recognize the kind of divisiveness that it fosters. The old kind of mind takes things personally and then reacts, oftentimes with attacks, and then irrationally defends itself. It judges, sometimes with cruelty. It lays blame to the extent that it makes itself a victim. Watch Trump’s rallies and his tweets and you will see a perfect example of the old kind of mind.
It is not only in our president that we can see this old mind, but also in the hate groups and even some of the people who are marching against Trump and against the implicit racism of the alt-right. But let’s take it one step further. At some level, it is inside all of us. If you doubt that, hear the story of Kyle Quinn, an associate professor of engineering at the University of Arkansas. He was nowhere near Charlottesville when the riots happened. And yet, as people were busy identifying the people that showed up on the side of the ALT right, they misidentified him as one of the protesters. He was flooded with vile, judgmental attacks through social media and he was stunned by the level of hate and vitriol he experienced. And this was from people who were ‘against’ the alt-right!
What I’m saying here is that reactivity, along with the hate and the judgment and the polarization that come with it, aren’t found just in people from the alt-right; it’s inside all of us. I was sharing this with one of my groups a few months ago and a woman said to me that, at first, she wasn’t sure what I was saying was true about her. She said, “I am not an angry person. In fact, I am a kind person.” But then she had a huge argument with her husband, and as she was lying in bed that night, trying to go to sleep, she saw inside of her the urge to attack him and make him wrong, to defend herself, even the urge to get revenge.
As long as you think the level of hatred and polarization that was displayed in Charlottesville is only coming from them (other people), then you will react to all of this in fear and frustration along with the urge to make them wrong. But if you can see that life is bringing out into the open the hatred, judgment and urge for oppression that has been so present in human interactions down through the ages (with all of the heartache that it creates), and you can see that Life is inviting you to see and move beyond the old mind as it lives inside of you, then the possibility of you responding to all of this divisiveness and polarization from this new kind of mind will grow in your consciousness.
So, I invite you whenever you find yourself judging, or putting down or even disliking – whether it’s a group, a politician, a friend, your mate – say to yourself, “Just like me.” For it is a guarantee that whatever you are judging in someone else is also inside of you and has not yet been touched by the healing of your heart. And when you see this old, reactive mind inside of yourself, instead of meeting it with judgment, simply become aware that you were conditioned into this kind of mind when you were very young. And the more you can see it with compassion and understanding, the more your heart can open and be your guide though your Life.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the Dhammapada, a Buddhist text:
HATRED NEVER CEASES BY HATRED, BUT BY LOVE ALONE IS HEALED. THIS IS AN ANCIENT AND ETERNAL LAW.