“Look at the size of this crowd today. Don’t these people have anything better to do…”
I almost fell over with laughter the first time that I heard someone in a crowded mall proclaiming this with a measure of disgust.
The sentiment is generally the same as that experienced by those stuck in traffic on a daily commute. See, we tend to have a habit of removing ourselves from what is around us without realising that we are in fact contributing to it.
We are not stuck in traffic… We ARE traffic.
We are not being swamped by a crowd of people… We ARE the crowd!
The reality of such a thing doesn’t begin and end with minor daily inconveniences such as crowds and traffic. What we are in fact displaying by such an ongoing and predictable response, is a very fundamental pattern of human nature that is largely contributing to the downward spiral of our race.
Never has this been more apparent than in the response by many people towards a particular religious group because of the actions of a few extremists. We feel sickened, disgusted and hurt when we see innocent people being attacked, and rightly so; yet the anger from within the group that facilitated these attacks in the first place is matched only by our own anger in return when we scream from our pedestals, tightly grasping to our chest our own values that these people need to be eradicated.
Once again, we are stuck in traffic without being able to see that our very presence is contributing to the traffic. When hatred is beset upon the world, how can we remove it by hating on those that acted with hatred in the first place? Martin Luther King, Jr said it perfectly when he announced
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only Love can do that.”
So where did we actually get the idea that if we head to a particular part of the world and blow everyone up that is involved in certain hate crimes against humanity, we will somehow create a utopian peace on Earth? I’m almost certain that there is enough inherent good inside of us as individuals that we can understand MLK, Jr’s sentiment. I KNOW it makes sense somewhere deep inside of us that by responding with anger, we are perpetuating anger. If we could have such tolerance as children, playing freely and openly with everyone in the school yard despite the colour of their skin, their handicaps or setbacks, how much or little money their family had, then why can we not seem to grasp that concept now?
What happened to us in our lives that brought us to the point where it is deemed a gross ignorance to speak of love in a world beset with hatred?
The honest truth is that we became disconnected. No, not with each other, not with the environment and not with the Earth. The disconnection from these things is a only a symptom of a much more serious disconnection in life. We became disconnected from ourselves. We stopped listening to our own hearts somewhere along the line, stopped listening to those whisperings from within that tell us it is okay to give love to someone when they are hurting and angry.
We allowed ourselves to become so distant from our own inherent nature, a nature of love and compassion, that it became ‘normal’ for us to punish people that do wrong by us. Hurt people, hurt people! It’s that simple. We are ALL hurting, and so we look for a scapegoat outside of ourselves to place that anger and hurt upon. Imagine a world where instead of allowing this pattern of destruction to continue, we took a minute to examine why we are hurting, realise that it is only because we are no longer feeling loved from the one person that should never stop loving us – ourselves – and take the steps necessary to reconnect to a world of love.
Let’s stand up, one at a time, collectively, as a race, and say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
Let’s go take a good, hard look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we now choose love, because it is now at the point where we have to learn to love ourselves, or we will die in anger.
Nothing that anyone does outside of us can change this. The path begins within. Come, take my hand and walk with me, because it is now or never.
Author: Chris Jones
Image: Flickr / Dwayne Bent