A Great Place to Start
We are all one universal family, brothers and sisters under one Creator, meant to live in harmony. Yet from childhood we are taught to divide the world into self vs. other. Other constitutes folks whom we classify as those people; people who are different. Other is wrong, evil, perhaps even our enemy, worthy of hatred.
The attacks in Paris and San Bernadino come as we are about to enter the season honoring the Prince of Peace. In the wake of terrorism, our spiritual mettle is challenged as we reflect on His words, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.
Do we respond in accordance with His words, or is our response an eye for an eye? In this Holy season, are we forced to become nations of Cain and Abel, killing our brother, failing to recognize him as family?
At what point did we decide it’s OK to kill?
The animal kingdom kills for food and self-protection. From a practical standpoint, it sounds like we must kill to save our lives. But who do we kill, how do we cull out the true enemy? And what about the innocents … the collateral damage? We already know the effects of this not only on the enemy, but on the good guys, who return home from war with PTSD, silenced by the unspeakable acts that they have committed and witnessed: collateral damage in the name of preserving freedom.
Early on, we are taught to associate certain groups of people with bad characteristics. This leads to fear of those who are different, and that fear grows with us into adult prejudices. We conclude that the group defines every individual. Just what is our rational response? Do we give in to the kind of fear that generalizes?
What young mother looks into the eyes of her baby and sees the face of a terrorist? Do we round up all Muslims in America and herd them into camps reminiscent of the Japanese internment?
Love is an emotion, but it is also a choice. At the spiritual level we must send love to our enemies in the hopes that their higher selves will receive it. This can be in the form of prayer. Or, at the energetic level, we can visualize our enemy surrounded by the light of love.
If enough of the Peacemakers send this love, we will reach critical mass and make a shift in worldwide consciousness. Failing in this effort, we become victims of the cliché history repeats itself.
Author of You CAN Go Home Again
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It is unfortunate you were raised with so much conflict. I don’t recall much of that kind of thought. I was raised with look both ways before crossing the street and even that many years ago to be careful of people you don’t know. I guess I hated my brothers at times when they were picking on me. Maybe the simplest form of hate and also forgiving love of my brothers or mother who made me go to bed before I was ready. I have grown older and more pragmatic in my views and here’s a little free advice. I have learned to judge others by the content of their character. When you see evil you must face it straight on, not with rose colored glasses. Those of the Moslem following do not have the same values as we. By law they should not be allowed to live in our country. They need to adhere to our laws first. As a female born and raised in the USA, I would think you would be more sensitive to oppression and oppressors.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc. and I wish you a Peaceful New Year.
Michael – I was not raised with conflict, I was raised to love all of God’s children. Thank you for your holiday wishes, and I also wish you a Peaceful New Year.
Michael – I was not raised with conflict. I was raised to love all God’s children.
Thank you for your holiday wishes, I also wish you a Peaceful New Year.
You are brave, Amy, raising all these issues, and helpful to those of us who are struggling with these questions. I wish more people, worldwide, could or would listen to you!
Thanks Gisela. Hoping to shed perspective. Feel free to forward.
Amy, a most appropriate message for us all this season. Thank you.
Thank you, Barbara, for understanding the intent.