Marianne Williamson spoke at Agape Spiritual Center this morning. She is always good, but I was especially inspired by her talk today. Her basic message was that we, as people who call ourselves spiritual, are the guardians of the nation. History will talk about us in one of two ways – either in gratitude for what we did to rescue our society from self-destruction, or in disgust as they shake their collective heads at us and wonder what we were thinking.
The problems of the world can feel overwhelming at times. I get so tired of the never ending stories of senseless violence, not just in the poverty-stricken areas of the city where crime and despair are sad daily realities, but in random places such as malls, schools, workplaces, parks, marathons, etc. I am bothered not only by the overt violence of physical assault, but the bullying of kids by other kids – and adults – which has gone beyond stealing lunch money or fist-fights at school, to the systematic destruction of people’s self-concept through internet cyber-bullying, and YouTube videos of abuse, often leading to school dropouts, drug-addiction, and even suicide.
And it’s not just kids. I would argue that much of reality television has taken the same mean-spirited mockery, ridicule, and bullying found on the schoolyard and turned it into a multi-million-dollar industry. And what about the violence committed against children, women, the environment, people of color, gender minorities, animals, and ourselves? We live in an imploding society where people are treated like things and things are treated like gods. It is no wonder that true Love is scarce and that what we call love tends to look more like fear-based ego-alliances or financial transactions, . It feels as if we are losing our collective minds and turning into complete barbarians.
So, if we feel that way, then what do we do? Shut down? Lock ourselves away from society? Shave our heads and sing? Go into complete denial? Marianne says, (and I agree with her wholeheartedly), that we have no choice but to stand our ground and fight for the world we believe in.
We can look at the problems of the world without becoming obsessed with them. We must have confidence that we have what it takes to make a difference right where we are, as we are. We do not need to get therapy first, take activism classes, or join the Peace Corps. Wherever we are right now, that is our battleground for Peace. Rather than bitching and complaining about our jobs or homes or schools, we can think of ways to bring Light and a different world view to those situations. I don’t have all the answers, but here are a few suggestions for how to bring peace to our current circumstances:
1) Use your gifts in the service of your beliefs. For instance, if you’re a musician, write music that reflects your true beliefs. I don’t care if you gave all that up long ago and now you sell insurance. You can and should still use your gifts in the service of mankind. Make the time. If not you, then who??
2) The next time you hear someone talking crap about someone who is not present, stand up for them, or at least acknowledge that there are two sides to every story. Suggest that if they have a problem with that person, they should speak with them instead of a room full of others.
3) If you hear a racist or sexist remark, don’t laugh nervously or let it go. Ask the person why they would say that. Tell them your friends of color or the women in your life would not find that funny and neither do you. Or just shake your head and say “wow, what a shitty thing to say.”
4) If you see a child or animal being abused, get their license # if you can and call the police. Yes, it is your business!
5) When someone offends you, first try to understand where they are coming from. Maybe they’re having a bad day. Maybe they have low self-esteem or were abused. Who knows? It doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to stand up for yourself, but pause first. There is a lot of suffering on this planet and most people do not have the skills to handle it. If your spiritual practice has brought you a measure of peace and good will, this is the time to draw upon it. You’re strong enough to carry the burdens of others and that’s why you’re here on the planet at this time in human history.
There are an infinite number of ways we can help bring peace to the planet. We don’t need to make radical changes. We just need to recognize that we have an assignment while we are here on the earth. We can’t count on the police, or the military, or the government to fix our problems; those institutions are vastly more screwed up than I care to admit. No, those who call themselves spiritual are the police for the planet. But our goal is not to stick people in jail. Our goal is to release ourselves and others from the prisons of our own limited belief systems and fear-based behaviors.
Together we can do it if each of us is faithful to carry out his or her assignment. Good luck comrades and citizens for peace! Have a great week and go follow your bliss!
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