A Course Correction – January 7 2021

A Course Correction – January 7 2021

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.

Moshe Dayan

We cannot hate our way to love, we cannot kill our way to fearlessness.

 

At this moment in our history, the people of our country are filled with fear, anger and sadness. The threat of disease, financial ruin, political disenfranchisement – all these ‘threats’ knock us into survival mode, and the survival instinct demands we find a sense of safety.

 

We are living in unprecedented times, so there is not even the illusion that anyone knows what comes next. What we believed to be our bulletproof democracy seems fragile. The news landscape is a battleground of alternative facts. Confronted with the unknown, and feeling bereft of anything to trust, the survival instinct demands we find who to blame for our discomfort.

 

It divides the world into the good and the bad. It says not that ‘the other side’ has wrong ideas, but that they are wrong. And if they are wrong, they do not deserve to be treated as people. They are ‘other.’ They do not deserve common dignity and respect. And it is only a short step from this to the notion that some people are more worthy of life than others.

 

It has to stop. In me, in you.

 

At the level of red and blue, left and right, there is extraordinary disparity and difference.

 

But regardless of what ‘side’ we might embrace, how is it possible that nearly 50% of our fellow Americans are completely ‘wrong?’ In what worldview is it okay to discount the beliefs of so many?

 

We all have the right to our beliefs. We have the right to share our beliefs. My father spent a year in an Army hospital, and the rest of his days coughing up shrapnel, in defense of those rights. But he would stand with me with every fiber of his Army veteran sugar beet farmer heart to say, ‘Enough!’

 

And we all must say ‘enough.’ Enough ugliness, enough hatred, enough disrespect and dismissal.

 

Enough insistence on the validity of ‘other.’

 

There is no other. There is only someone whose divinity is for the moment hidden from me, or mine hidden from them.

 

At the level of the Truth of Being, there is only oneness. There is only love. There is only God. If ever there were a time to remember this for ourselves, it is now.

 

Today I will refuse to let myself hang out in the safety of my righteousness, in the idea of my superiority, in my judgment of anyone as ‘other.’ I will ask of the deepest and highest Truth of life and of myself to seek how to love. And if I can’t find that, I will at least insist on letting go of hate.

Deer Park, place of Buddha’s first teaching, Varanasi Uttar Pradesh India