With over 6 billion people on the planet crowded into spaces where they have to rub up against each other and their differences, conflicts arise, bad behavior happens. But also, good behavior happens. Kindness happens. Where that isn’t happening it’s generally because some outdated notion is being clung onto. It’s generally because the ability to think for oneself is not encouraged.
Where wars and violence against others are happening, even in the midst of those happenings, there are humanitarians, kindnesses, a coming together to support each other where there might have been more dissonance previously.
When I see outrage over Standing Rock, or Syrian babies dying or being injured in horrific circumstances, I am reminded that abuse elicits compassion in those who are capable of it. It mobilizes the previously emotionally numb. It wakes us up to our own privilege and where we draw our own lines in the sand and why. Yet…
These same kinds of acts have been happening around the world, everywhere, continuously, in both modern and ancient times. They are nothing new. What is new, is a growing self-accountability. There is more self-questioning arising:
What part have I played in allowing this to unfold? Where do I stand on this? Is there a conflict of interest in my wanting cheaper fuel, lower bills and taxes and preserving sacred lands?
If a terrorist (unfortunate word) or an imminent invasion was on my doorstep and blowing up my children and loved ones, would it be okay to sanction war in defense of those I love? In defense of myself? If it were my son who was a policemen being killed by an extreme believer in the black lives matter movement, could I still remain compassionate to that movement? And vice versa?
Am I able to quite comfortably walk past a homeless and filthy “druggie” and yet feel outraged about something happening thousands of miles away? Can I feel real compassion for an animal being tortured because I adore animals, but actually I’m not that fussed about that Jihadist, who became a Jihadist because of the way his people have been abused for decades by the West?
Where else am I in denial about my own privilege? For example:
Even though I’m not an outright racist, or homophobe, do I even notice that 80% of the movies/tv shows/documentaries on Netflix, Amazon Prime, NowTV etc. are full of, or about white or straight people? And if I do, does it really bother me? Am I really that affected?
Even though I’m not a sexist, am I willing to give up my pay increase or benefits in order for someone else to have a more equal experience of life? If it negatively affects my lifestyle, will it really have my wholehearted support? Most of us, I’m sure, can challenge ourselves on most of these things. But there will be areas where we all struggle. When it affects me personally and negatively, can I still hold myself accountable?
For me, that is the meaning of awakening. Holding ourselves accountable for all of our hypocrisies, privilege, denials, inequalities of perception and saying, yes, this is true. I do have these blind spots. I am selective in my perception but I’m working on it. I’m willing to look at it. I know I have to if I am to truly play my part.
The world is unfolding. It is evolving. We are evolving. It isn’t always pretty. It’s often downright disturbing. Those in power will try to cling on to that power. Those who benefit from the privilege created by those in power, will struggle to give up those benefits.
Yet something pure and deep and true, permeates it all. That is what I look to and look for, in all conflict, upset, disturbance. And because I look for it, I see it. And because I see it, I see my own inner conflicts, upsets and disturbances, too, and have to own them before I can even begin to allow the pure and deep and true within me.
I bless us all as we try grow in compassion and awareness as this life unfolds. I bless those for whom compassion is an alien concept and a sign of weakness. They are my challenge to face. Can I hold myself accountable even now and see that unchanging thread, even now? And if I can, what does it look like/feel like, in actuality?
It sure as hell isn’t comfortable to feel or look at, that I know for sure, but it is needed and I’m willing. That is all we can be, ultimately: willing.