In the midst of yet another senseless act of violence, how are we ever to move forward? Because the reality is, we can’t go back. How do we come together, putting aside our differences for the greater good?
I’m a big proponent of living your truth, walking your talk. So, if you believe, like I do, like I so often hear from people, that we live in a very divided society right now, and that we must find a way to come together, what are you doing to contribute to bridging that divide?
See, the thing is, the only way to affect change is to be that change, as Mahatma Gandhi so eloquently said. While these words have always resonated with me, I also love the lyrics from Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” written by Siedah Garrett. The chorus goes like this:
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could’ve been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
I know it’s incredibly difficult to not buy in to the “us vs. them” mentality. We judge – it’s part of our evolution. It was important to be able to judge something as good or bad. It’s how we survived. But in more recent history, judging of other people has led to catastrophic events. People have been judged for everything from the way they look, to who they love, and how they worship. Whole cultures have been targeted, and, in fact, still are, as being judged inferior in some way. So, ask yourself, is judging whole groups of “others” still serving us?
In truth, we have far more in common than we have differences. We are connected both physically and consciously. We share 99.9% of our DNA, no matter how different we may look. And by watching a sunset, or taking a walk in nature, by spending time with loved ones or sitting comfortably with a pet, or by simply watching the night sky and feeling a part of something larger, we are reminded of our connections. So is it really that hard to find something in common with those “others”?
Now, that said, it’s important to remember that our lived experiences shape our lives. It’s impossible to know what another has endured. To truly see them, we must recognize our different life experiences.
So how do you begin that process of bridging the divide? Putting aside judgment is key. Have you considered their life experiences? What may have led them to the behavior that you judge to be “wrong.” Can you find some compassion, some connection? I believe that imperative for the peaceful continuation of our society to find compassion, connection and non-judgment.
The actual Mahatma Gandhi quote goes like this:
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
Change is hard and I’m definitely a work in progress. It’s not easy work, exploring your inner world. Enter meditation. Meditation helps you to cultivate that quality of non-judgment. Spending time quieting your mind allows you to see things as they really are. The rest will follow.
For more on non-judgment, check out “Practicing Non-Judgment.”