We can put effort into our own self-improvement, and move along our pathway to a more enlightened way of being. We can learn to center ourselves, perhaps through meditation, and focus on becoming more spiritual beings. Then one day, the quietness of our developing inner peace is shattered by our awareness that bombs are dropping, fellow humans are being mistreated, and someone walks into his place of employment and guns down fellow workers. How senseless it seems. How foreign and far removed from our lives. Or so we would like to think.
Only recently, in my practice, I was assisting yet another child who was being teased and humiliated by fellow students until finally he was forced to leave his neighborhood school. One student starts the harassing process, and it seems others mindlessly follow. These children work hard to hold back their tears: to hide their pain. Teachers tell them they must be doing something to bring it on. Parents tell them to develop a thicker skin. This alienates them further. At twelve, or fifteen years of age they begin to wish they could die. They hate themselves, and often have bouts of self-mutilation. In severe cases this process results, years later, either in suicide or a tragic act of vengeance.
Since the original abusers may be long gone, the rage turned to violence is often directed to the world at large. It looks to the world like a random, senseless act. In reality, it is the end of a long chain of events that could have been prevented. How can it happen that the children of our society can turn upon individuals or groups simply because they do not like them? How is it that they have all heard the golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), yet they learn early that it is not a rule that is followed or enforced in any real way. They see that it is a rule to which we only pay lip service.
Certainly, there are consequences if you harm another physically. But if we violate a spirit or torment a soul there is scarcely more than a lecture, if that. The message has not gotten through that perceiving yourself to be ‘better’ than another individual or group does not confer the right to be disrespectful. The polarities in our own consciousness are reflected in all aspects of life, from sports to entertainment, from the playground to the boardroom, from politics to relationships. The good-guy/bad-guy polarity is so deeply entrenched in our minds and our world that we unconsciously accept it as normal.
Just as there is a relationship between our own use of toxic substances and a deteriorating ecosystem, so there is a relationship between our own private polarity-thinking and the tragic newspaper headlines. At the level of soul we know this. The soul can, from its vantage point of higher wisdom, see the truth. It is the earthly ego that, like an out of control child, exasperates the parent to the point that he/she gives up. The unconscious, more primitive ego-energy of the unevolved child drives the process. The least equipped to lead takes the lead through a process of abdication.
As individuals, we can no longer abdicate our responsibility for accessing the highest wisdom of our beings, and translating that into the way we live. If we reacted with outrage at the more subtle levels of violation of others, we would not be so outraged when a group of adolescents murders an outcast, or an outraged victim explodes. We cannot remain in a state of detached denial when others in our family, school, or community are being negated or dishonored, even in more subtle ways. Those of us who see, who know and understand but do nothing are as much a part of the problem as those inflicting harm directly.
Society used to turn a blind eye to child abuse, thinking it was an internal family matter. We have realized that abused children need support from outside their family system. If rejection and humiliation are being practiced in any situation, be it family, school, workplace, society or any country in the world, we must speak out.
Our deepest purpose here is to bring our relationships, our lives, and our world into alignment with that highest aspect of soul awareness. The amount of pain and suffering individually and in the world is inversely proportional to our ability to do this. Doing it is easy. Making the decision to do it is the hard part. It requires humility, surrender, and compassion. It requires truly doing unto others, as we would have them do unto us. If we acted on behalf of all who are being hurt, the way in which we would like the world to act towards us, our souls would rejoice. That rejoicing surely would reverberate throughout the Universe. We all have some work to do.
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