We create our own realities by the choices that we DON’T make!
One of the biggest issues facing humanity is the horrific moral shortfall in the way that we treat each other, but the more specific focus of this journal piece is the connection between our own pain and the way in which we treat those who have broken the laws of the society in which they live.
“The imprisonment of human beings at record levels is both a moral failure and an economic one…
The only entity that stands to win in such a situation is the private prison industry. While the nation’s unprecedented rate of imprisonment deprives individuals of freedom, wrests loved ones from their families, and drains the resources of governments, communities, and taxpayers, the private prison industry reaps lucrative rewards. As the public good suffers from mass incarceration, private prison companies obtain more and more government dollars, and private prison executives at the leading companies rake in enormous compensation packages, in some cases totaling millions of dollars.”
How did it ever become the right course of action to make profit from locking people into overcrowded cells where they are largely left to their own devices, rehabilitation is almost non-existent, and the chances of coming back to join any semblance of a life on an ongoing basis as a functioning member of society, are sketchy at best?
Like everything in this world, in order to make sense of the whole, we need to understand the most basic, fundamental elements that come together in comprising that whole. Consider that nothing large or grandiose is anything more than simple, repetitive patterns. Once we understand the simple patterns, we can understand the whole, however, in this case the problem doesn’t begin with those that would seek to make profit by overfilling the inside of their prisons.
Leading private prison companies essentially admit that the success of their business model depends on high rates of incarceration spurred on by criminal laws that impose steep sentences and severely reduce the opportunity for prisoners to earn probation and parole. So although this is the big picture here, it is NOT where the issue originates.
So where does the problem begin? What is the most simple piece of this whole that we need to grasp in order to understand why locking people away has become a billion dollar industry?
It begins with our own individual, unsuccessful process of navigating and dealing with the fire that has burnt us.
You see there is a particular event that happens within our lives, just one event that stands out above all others. Although it sets fire to us and burns us horribly, it is actually a truly wonderful thing, but more often than not it is disguised as a deeply traumatic situation that shapes what is to happen on the path of our lives for a long time to come. The landscape of this event is obviously quite different for everyone, but for those that are willing to take a moment and glance back along the path of their life, ‘that moment’ will stand out.
When this event occurs, it creates a fire that burns us quite deeply, and more often than not instead of launching into and walking through a process of self discovery, we cling not just to the event itself, but to the heat of the fire AND the charred parts of ourselves that no longer serve us. We hold together all bundled up in our arms this giant, messy conglomerate and we use it to define ourselves and perceive the world through. We carry this mess around with us and it’s a huge burden that makes us angry and hurtful, yet because we lived through this experience of fire, instead of allowing the process to completely unfold, allowing ourselves to become something new and wondrous, we cling to our experience and the pain it has caused us.
So this now brings us right to the point, and to one of the most heart breaking situations in this world. We hear about someone that has done something horrible, and instead of working to understand that they are just screaming out from their darkness, we start screaming from within our own that they need to be punished, stoned, hung or drawn and quartered. It is NOT the truth of our loving, caring nature that screams this but rather it comes from carrying around that big, heavy conglomerate of charred, burnt remnants that we cling to of who we thought we once were.
Our connection to our self is lost, and so of course there can be no connection to anyone else. Before you pass judgement on my naivety and over simplification of this topic, take a moment to read about the way a particular African tribe deals with its members that do wrong:
“When someone does something hurtful and wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him. For two days they’ll tell the man every good thing he has ever done.
The tribe believes that every human being comes into the world as GOOD, each of us desiring safety, love, peace, happiness.
But sometimes in the pursuit of those things people make mistakes. The community sees misdeeds as a cry for help.They band together for the sake of their fellow man to hold him up, to reconnect him with his true Nature, to remind him who he really is, until he fully remembers the truth from which he’d temporarily been disconnected: “I AM GOOD”.”
Every single one of us is inherently good, and if I believed otherwise for even a second, I would not still be here doing what I am doing, and working for what I am working for.
Chris – Life Warrior
Image – Lil’bear (Flickr)