Welcome to a new chapter in the story of our country, a chapter starting with possibility and hope, as well as unrest. As we watch and wonder how long it will take for our country’s division to be resolved, we can turn our attention from the television, phone, iPad, and other devices, and look inside of ourselves right now.
As part of my new year commitment to myself, I have been taking extra time every day to ingest spiritual teachings that resonate with me. One such reading is from the book Discourses, by Meher Baba, whose place of final rest I was privileged to visit one year ago. In the chapter called, “The New Humanity”, Baba explains that wars and conflict stem from the human tendencies of competition, conflict, and rivalry; and by the time there is a large war or division, these tendencies have long had their way in the hearts and minds of individuals. Wars, Baba states, are just the out-picturing of these states of mind and behavior. Elimination of these tendencies is what will resolve all need for war.
In reflecting on this reading and my Unity-raised background, over 2,000 times in my life singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” (I calculated that number!), I took inventory of where I might be perpetuating competition, conflict, and rivalry. It didn’t take much looking! There are so many avenues of expressing these little human traits: Age, politics, values, beliefs, and even food choices! I’m sure my list would be unending.
Are you willing to take that inventory? I invite you to look at the ways you compete with others, even if in your own head! Do you feel superior or inferior to someone else? The popular catch-phrase in recent years could be included in this inventory: FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. Are you afraid someone will get something (an experience, a thing, an attention of some kind) that you might miss out on? That’s competition and rivalry, too!
Once being aware of these divisive tendencies, our challenge is to weed them out of our internal common practice. We could ask ourselves:
If wasn’t looking at this [person, situation] through the lens of “them versus me”, how would I approach it differently?
Can I see that “they” hold their views as tightly and righteously as I hold mine?
Can I have compassion for human opinion because it has ever been thus?
Can I see that the only person I can truly change is myself?
What constructive action can I take with my human opinion, instead of using it to separate “me” from “them”? (Volunteer? Vote? Teach? Forgive? Release my own fears? YES!)
“Be not afraid”. If you look this phrase up on the internet, you will find it in hundreds of passages in the Bible (and many other wise, spiritual teachings), always offering us assurance that everything will work out for good. Jesus, a Divine Spokesperson in human form, encouraged listeners to have faith and be strong—don’t let your fear swallow you whole!
Don’t let fear or anger swallow you whole.
Remember and hold consciously, there is a Divine Plan to wake us all up—even “them”! Join with me in seeing that without conflict, we can’t see what needs to be healed. We are seeing it. Now we can help heal it, beginning with “us”—you and me.
Peace begins now.
Photo by Lynn Barrette, 2020. Meherabad, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India. 51st Celebration of Meher Baba’s Mahasamadi. OM.