There is a strength in a commitment to love. There is assurance in commitment to nonviolence. And, there is unshakable power in commitment to understanding. Understanding BEFORE action. KNowing what is, and how best to affect change. Not acting out of reflex, but holding to the moment until we understand what is best. Conscious action. Eschewing all reflexive defenses that close communication we can develop the faith to rely on awareness as our best defense.
Building bridges instead of walls.
Now going into a new set of elections, the most powerful nation on earth will bargain for its heart. And, where is our heart? Are we one nation under God, as we were brought up proclaiming, reciting as a mantra, so we will never forget? Or are we an ocean of people willing to find common cause in order to keep some of the pie. In truth, ‘American’ has always been a designation that defines itself in defiance to others. We are ‘American’ not English, not South American, or North American, Central American, or Mexican American. Strangely, we are also not Indian American, or Native American, for we are not native to anything, really. We don’t belong to anything except the belief that we are something in relation to other things. And, as that is an admittedly fragile platform, we reinforce our position by fiercely proclaiming what we are NOT. We are not leftists, progressives, conservatives. We are not those. We are not them. We gain more strength in our determination to NEVER become what we are not. Leaders galvanize the populace in defiance of common enemies. Those enemies are a known threat. But their identity is determined by position. We shore up barricades in the south to hold off barbarians to the north. In the east, we warn against armies of unwashed waiting in the west. Everything is a threat to someone, and we grow stronger in our determination to hold the other out. We are, in fact, one nation united against someone else’s God.
And so now, at the turn of the teens, technology develops more quickly than sense and children learn to hate more than they know. We are joined in our disdain for the left, our hatred of the right, our fear of heaven and our acquiescence to hell. For, all of us follow God until we are backed into a corner. And, then deals are made that trade our dignity for the momentary assurance of belonging. We belong to heaven against earth, we belong those who oppose those who do not belong. To paraphrase my favorite philosopher Bill Hicks, we all want to create a people who hate people club, but we can’t get anyone to join. So, we do the next best thing, and create an object of our hatred in order to attract the masses.
And, we know, inside, that this is so very provisional. This carousel of cruelty turns with each season and reconfigures with each shift in power. One day we are in and the next, we are out. And, along the way, the more fear we cultivate, the easier we are to manipulate. The more entrenched we become in our hatred, the more quickly our base erodes when tides shift.
There simply must be more than this ancient surge to protect ourselves, this biting back on life with tooth and nail, this selling of our future to safeguard our past. There must be more. There must be love.
Oh, yeah. Love. Say amen. Sure. Love.
Love in the face of hatred? Really? Love is strong, yes. If we make love to our partner in the morning, we float out the door, and it lasts all the way to the freeway, or subway. Ok. But, should we fight with someone in the morning, our anger could last all day. Or, longer. Our anger could eventually define our life. And, then we are oh so easily led. If not Trumped by a demigod, then led around by our own nose like a beast of burden. Led by fear into the blind alleys of small mindedness and conformity. Everyone wants to be a rebel, wave the flag, be an insurgent, be the resistance. And the first thing you do? Pledge allegiance to your rebel state. Place a flag on your pickup and a gun in the window. An individualist, like all the rest.
Yes, love seems like not enough in such troubled times. Understanding looks too passive for change. Peace feels too calm to stand up to the fight. This is because love is not of ego’s creation. It was the first cause and its condition is that all things are possible. Love is natural. It is not stilted, nor configured around a temporary base. Love has the simple power of the universe behind it. In fact, it is the simple power of the universe. Love is not the province of any one God, but the reason for all of them. Love is a harder choice sometimes. But commitment to its principles is so strong. Outrageously strong. When hate feels like the sexy choice. When joining everyone else feels good. When building a wall no one can actually afford gets cheers in the hallowed halls of hatred, it time to sit still for a moment and learn to look at things. Perhaps it is time to make the brave choice, the outrageous effort to hold to principles of wakefulness, to not cause harm, and to never run from pain of the moment. To make choices that are best for all. That is strength. The strength to look at the world and see what needs to be done to heal it, and to pledge our allegiance to stay with the pain devoid of blame until each of us is liberated.
When we fight, we define differences and shutter communication. We enforce a stultifying sameness in ourselves and foster alienation to other. But, all being yearn for happiness. All of us are frightened, and all need protection. When we love, we understand. We might not agree, and it might be uncomfortable for us. But when we choose to open to situations, we see commonalities. Our world becomes richer. We become the people we are trying to have others become. Then we can actually help them and in place of walls, create bridges. And, in so doing, instead of seeing the differences, we can see into each of our souls and relate to the human inside. We are creating a politics of soul based on empathy. This is an ageless and very strong position. For when we dedicate ourselves to the benefit of all beings, we are not excluding any. We are not amassing strength at the expense of those weaker, on whom we can pour our enmity. We are believing in ourselves and feeling that love for all humanity. We are united spirit to spirit. Until ALL beings are liberated. Not some at the expense of others. Until ALL beings are liberated. That is the politics of soul. The power to stand with humanity, and to believe in us completely. Love can be a powerful tool.
Is that naive? If we use force against those who hate we will lose. Those who broker in power are well versed in hatred. As Dr. King told his crew, God said to love your enemy. He didn’t say you had to like (them). So, we can learn to bring love to all that we see as wrong, to al we see as problematic, to all we see as the other. We can bring love to the very things we dislike, and we can begin a dialogue right here. Here in the open arms of love. Here we can develop faith that as long as we’re not triggered, as long as we remain balanced, as long as we hold to our commitment to nonviolence, we can find a way to understanding and communication.
Love = Understanding = Awareness. And, awareness is not only a richer interface with our world, it is a better defence from danger. Opening to situations, we are better able to protect ourselves and others from real danger, as opposed to being manipulated by our fear. In touch with our human heart, we can feel the hearts of others. Then “American” means human and includes all of us. That is a very strong position.