To Live In Interesting Times
We all know the saying and I don’t believe mankind has ever lived in more interesting times as now. As the opportunity to raise ourselves out of a world of fear, corruption and pain becomes ever closer the investigation into our shadow selves as well as our magnificence reaches its pinnacle. The more intense the battle seems the closer we are to the moment of truth. All our apocalyptic films show this and just looking around us the truth of this is in inescapable. It is said that the darkest point of the night is just before the sun begins to rise.
As we herald the wonderful people in our world who are standing up and becoming giants, fighting amazing fights and winning great battles against corruption and oppression it is not surprising that at the same time the dark aspects of humanity is also raising its ugly head. Our closets need to be cleared completely. How we deal with these issues is in our hands. Again and again we are asked to choose between love and compassion or anger and judgement.
Whilst trying to find a passage in “The Prophet’ by Kahn Gibran (for something completely different which incidentally wasn’t there!?) I came across this:
“Then one of the judges of the city came forth and said, Speak to us of Crime and Punishment
And he answered saying..........
......Oftentimes I have heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.
Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who, though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not from the stumbling stone.”
When I had dried my tears I remembered the scientist’s view of the world as a hologram that says that each part cannot be divided from the whole; it carries its entirety within it. As we are all mirrors of the initial singularity, like the human egg cell that divides billions of times to create the wonderful variety of each of different cells of the human body, so are we all connected and carry the vibration of everyone within each other.
When a father jumped out of a hotel window with his two children some years back I was disturbed to hear how many people I considered to be liberal and open-hearted reacted. The idea of bringing back hanging was not far from people’s lips. I asked my friends to hold back on judgement until we had heard more of the story.
Deepak Chopra’s words are always in my mind in moments like these as he says that everyone is always doing their best with what they have to work with at any given moment. Over the following weeks, as the news revealed how there was already a history of suicide in the man’s family and that his marriage and business was failing all at once, compassion for the man began to emerge.
I believe we are all from the light and that no one steps into the shadow versions of themselves unless circumstances cause them to close down their hearts and turn away from the light. When celebrities, who have offered many wonderful things to society for many years and are then discovered to have dark histories, is it so surprising? When the world we have created offers such power, free of boundaries, to those in high places and because that which has pushed a man to become great is often the same trigger or trauma that causes the shadow within them to become strong, is it for us to judge? Remembering also that when we look at ourselves, knowing that we have not explored the greatest good or the greatest shadow of ourselves but know we have not been perfect, how can we honestly throw stones from our glass houses when others are drawn to the very edges of their personas.
I do believe no one acts out pain on others without having pain afflicted on themselves. As they are only mirroring aspects that we hold within us (as Kahn Gibran so eloquently states) it is down to us to look into our hearts and know that people who have suffered trauma and cause trauma are victims as much as perpetrators. We can choose to continue throwing them into jail where their own sense of judgement is ratified and they remain in their pain and so will continue to inflict pain on others, or we can find compassion for ourselves, forgive ourselves and so find the will to be compassionate and forgiving towards others.
Punishment is never an answer, it simply continues the cycle. We must start reviewing our penal system and look to ways of creating a new system that uses healing, forgiveness and compassion to start breaking this cycle. Such a thing has already worked in places such as South Africa with amazing results. We have the tools to heal the darkest of souls, they just need to be offered the chance to turn around so they can see the light more easily. Whether we realise it or not, it’s what we all crave and it is time to acknowledge that each of us holds the power, to choose to be the change, in our hands, or rather in our hearts.