I know it rarely ends well, so I try not to do it often, but sometimes I read the comments about articles on-line. I try to scan for ones that are free of hate and anger. I am not looking, I don’t think, (but probably am because most of us do..it’s in our nature) for confirmation bias. I just don’t want to read words of hate and anger. For goodness sake, I spend all day long teaching preschoolers how to use words that don’t hurt, even if they are angry, mad, sad or frustrated. Anyone can disagree with me, have differing thoughts or spiritual beliefs. Just please don’t label me, or call me names or insinuate I am not caring or intelligent.
But, I do read some of them. Sometimes I am dumbfounded by the frothing anger, the raging arrogance and the blatant racism and bigotry expressed. How can a soul hold so much anger, fear, hatred and not just explode? I cannot image knowing or having these people in my life. And we know there are others who may be just like these outspoken folks, but don’t seem to share their thoughts out in the open very often. What emotional and spiritual turmoil do they live in?
There were some articles circulating recently about studies on how the words we think and speak impact our impressions, interpretations and connections in life. Not really a surprise is it? It isn’t just about saying things out loud, it is also about the words we think but might not say out loud. If we are a closet anything, never admitting it out loud, the words and thoughts we keep to ourselves of course impact the kind of person we are. Our judgments, assumptions, worries, fears, anxieties and even our expectations, spoken or not, reflect in the person we are. The words that make up our thoughts (and emotions) determine our actions.
There is an article on Christopher Chase’s blog called Perpetual Curse of the Warrior Mindset. It begins with this quote from Albert Einstein,
“We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”
I think it is time to take a look at where we dwell within our own thoughts and heart. Protected and private or blatant and assertive, where do we live when we are being honest with ourselves? Where do we retire to at the end of the day to process? Where do we step forth from in the morning to go out into the world?
Collectively, is it time for a new manner of thinking that is not born of fear, protection, possession, suppression, greed, materialism, war, militarism, distrust, racism, hate…? Not all of us harbor these things in our spirit, but in honesty, we do cling to some of these, or others. You know the words that come with these things: superiority, defend, collateral damage, mine, God-given, God-fearing, wealth, earned, deserve, what’s in it for me, undeserving, entitled, takers, thugs, scum, losers, socialist, not my problem, why should I care, go back where you came from, whore, sicko, psycho, homo, alien, migrant, Muslim, supremacy, foriegner, wetback, anchor baby…..add your own. It was difficult just to write some of these.
Is it time for a collective shift? Could we even do it if we wanted? What are we at risk of loosing, or never knowing, if we don’t try?
“In beauty I walk.
With beauty before me, I walk.
With beauty behind me, I walk.
With beauty below me, I walk.
With beauty above me, I walk.
With beauty all around me, I walk. ”
Most religious and spiritual practices have lessons on love and tolerance, as well as retribution and hate. We can choose whatever we want.
“Peace before me
Peace behind me
Peace at my left
Peace at my right
Peace above me
Peace below me
Peace unto me
Peace in my surroundings
Peace to all
Peace to the Universe”
We get lost in our fears. We are swayed by thoughts and fears of hurt and suffering, of things being taken away from us or denied to us. We forget: we do not have to dwell in fear.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:27-31
We each of us have the power to be a light to others. It is an image and belief we all know, “be a light unto others.”
Oh God Make Me A Light
O God illuminate our heart with Light,
our heart with Light,
our ears with Light
and Let there be Light on our right, and on our left.
Let there be Light above us and below us,
let Light be in front of us and Light behind us.
O God, make us a Light.
The Prophet’s Prayer
The words we say to ourselves or say out loud, the prayers we offer silently or out loud, the thoughts we think and express, create the person we are.
“As we recite the words ‘ose shalom‘ (make peace)
we bow to the right, left and center,
bringing Peace to the entire world.”
Center for Jewish Spirituality.
Bring Peace To The World performed by BB King.
In many places in Asia when greeting another person, hands are place together over the heart, a slight bow is made and the word “Namaste” is spoken. It means “I honor the light in you.”
What if the words we thought and spoke out loud to each person we met or thought about resonated with the meaning of “Namaste”?
Where do you dwell? In Light or in Fear? In Love or Hate? In empathy or apathy? In possibility or impossibility? In the status quo or in activism? In friendship or as enemies?