My hiding place is my home. That safe-from-the-world cave where I only venture out if I want or need to. Lately, this seems wise. Especially given the risk of infection. Or worse - being exposed to the views of those with which I may disagree.
I was surprised to discover that when I witness the world from a perspective of being anchored inside my own heart - I see only magic unfolding all around me.
This awareness led me to find ways to open up my journey in a way that expands my perspectives.
To compensate for my inner hermit, I have joined social change programs online that help me challenge my current world views. In doing this, I have exposed myself to new perspectives. Here are the two that join me in consciousness this morning;
"There is an inherent violence within the inattention to the humanity of others." Here I remember the George Floyd murder that occurred in just 9+ minutes.
The other refers to the pandemic;
Remembering to view the SOCIAL body as MY body;
"I cannot be well and safe unless "WE" are well and safe."
I need to acknowledge that we need to understand other people's perspectives. Otherwise, we cannot see the "whole" picture. Not unless I can listen to another whose world-view I disagree with will I be able to do my job as a world citizen working to uplift my social culture in a manner that might motivate healing and change.
I am very, very guilty of this. Recently I informed my right-wing evangelical Christian brother that I was no longer willing to speak with him. If he needs to talk to me, he has to text.
What is true is that the emotional tones in his voice began to repulse me to the degree that I could not tolerate listening to him even "praying" for me. I was not interested in him "saving me." I don't even believe in the existence of a "devil" from whom I need protection and prayer to keep me safe.
I believe that there is no such thing as "right" and "wrong." There is only "what works to help me accomplish my goal, and what doesn't work to help me reach my goal.
If my goal is to increase my own experience of empathy, I may need to examine my inherent biases and prejudices. If my goal is to broaden and expand my capacity for love, I may want to expand the circle of the number of people for whom I truly feel love.
As it turns out - my magic hiding place is within my heart.
What I found hiding in my heart was a capacity to deceive myself when a belief clouds my judgment and interferes with my ability to experience empathy and love for that "other" person.
I have had to generate my introspection by asking myself questions like "does this belief help me be more open to how others are experiencing me?" or "does this feeling help me see this person more clearly, more honestly, or not?"
I also learned that I have a lot of inner conversations that lead me astray. I sometimes still engage in internal dialogues with my brother, roommate, or deceased mother.
I catch myself in full dialog while making up the content. "Mark!" (my brothers' name) I would say, "have you ever considered what happens to women forced to give birth to unwanted babies?" "Do you think this might contribute to drug use, poverty, and lives squandered? Do you think it's time for women's lives to be filled with education and appropriate goals with just a little more support from the greater community?"
Admittedly, I did finally have this conversation with him. Perhaps my inner dialog was helpful. He did stare back at me and then said: "I never thought about that."
My point, right?
I am finally turning this inner speculum on my harbored prejudices and misinterpretations. I am prying open the closed valve of my aorta to a much broader potential for function.
Empathy. Compassion. I now have broader access to a global birth canal whose descending child can believe in its existence. A child born into a world that can handle the differences between cultures, religions, and belief systems. A fully dilated cervix capable of allowing change to emerge into our world systems.
Today Christmas is calling to me. From this universal concept comes a Christmas carol that elucidates our inequality and the broad acceptance of its inevitability. The words of the refrain are this;
"Christmas is coming - the goose is getting fat - please put a penny in an old man's hat. If you haven't got a penny, a he-penny will do. If you haven't got a he-penny, then God bless you."
And here, to my amazement, is the teaching that GOD "Blesses" inequality. Our commercialized evolution of Christmas in America has its anchor in the delivery of gifts, and buying is sacred to the season if you wish to show love to your family and friends.
This Christmas 'magic" is hidden inside our desire to show love. We give more of ourselves to others at Christmas. We endeavor to show more empathy and compassion during the season.
Christians echo that the "reason for the season" lies in a manger. This child has been born as the savior of humanity. And yet - how have these Christians helped to evolve our responses into a more empathetic and compassionate human culture? Blame is often used instead of an explanation. The opportunity is over 2,000 years old. Where are we now? How has this "perspective" helped?
I could take the low road and point to the many thousands of children buried in the church schoolyards of Christian residential schools on reservations across the US and Canada.
Or, I could take the high road that points to my heart as the birthplace of humanity's savior; Compassion. Self-introspection. Empathy. Understanding. Equality and acceptance need to be understood as valuable equally among the many cultures of human beings on earth. The same human beings that occupy our tiny blue planet, floating inconspicuously within the vast darkness of space.
When we view our tiny planet through that darkness - we use the lens of new technology. It makes us suddenly aware of the soft glowing magic emanating from it. Is that soft glow from the radiant magic hiding within the human heart?
Is it simply the glow of the sun radiating out from our oceans?
Or is it a glow that emerges from the planet herself as the inner love for herself that needs to exist to accentuate just how expansive that dark space around us is?
"Peace on earth and mercy mild - God and sinners reconciled. Join us all these nations-wide. Join the triumph of the skies. Hark! The herald angels sing. Glory to the newborn King."