Truth rises. So many hearts are bubbling over in these extraordinary times. It’s no longer possible to live under a rock, status quo. I haven’t seen anyone speaking their truth recently without getting seared, though.
As we take a stand in this divisive, caustic atmosphere, where is the path? What are we seeking with this unfamiliar bleeding? The immediate call begs for acknowledgment, respect, dignity, compassion and love. These are basic, reasonable expectations and mark the trail head to solutions for complex social issues. Yet, these needs are going unmet on all sides. Why?
As I marched through my sunlit city last week, along with 15,000 other humans, I saw so many personal truths and calls for equality on outward display. Poster board signs cried out for transparency, reproductive rights, fair compensation, LBGTQ rights and racial equality, among other personal stakes. Others simply rebuked our new president, sometimes throwing in a cleverly vicious personal attack.
These causes are ensnared in the push and pull of duality with no easy answer in sight. A wise friend reminded me that it’s when we rise above the two-sided coin of duality that we can start to see commonality in a desire for all to feel loved, heard, safe and cared for. That’s when ears turn and hearts open.
Rise Above Duality
Our fear, anger and sense of scarcity are fueling epic mudslinging in all directions. Fear mongering and aggressive, short-sighted moves have only increased since the march of resistance.
We can shift to action. Call Congress. Sign petitions. March. Donate. Hold accountable. These are all positive ways to echo our voice of freedom. These approaches still deal in the currency of duality. But, there’s no getting around the fact that the polar world is where we eat, breathe, raise kids, pay bills and catch colds, and I encourage you to support what your heart calls you to defend.
Please also seek to remember that we are all connected on a plane beyond duality at the same time. To succeed as a species, we must also raise our perspective above this daily tug-of-war. This is where we will find our creative solutions. This is where we can have conversations about meditation in schools as part of the solution to gun violence, or paid parental leave as an opportunity to decrease the abortion rate. Here we’ll see the big picture, not hot buttons. We’ll start considering people as people, rather than singular issues.
So, what can we do in the real world to elevate us to this lofty plane? How do we meet in the middle and move forward? The golden common thread that binds our collective is story. Story through song, page, oracle and canvas. Are you singing your song? Are you inviting your fellow citizens to add their melody?
As remarkably insignificant as it may seem, the shift upward starts with you and me. The light in each of us can ignite the light of a friend, a neighbor or a stranger. Your story, your why, is your light. Share it. As often as possible, we must step back from the us-them mentality and move into the oneness of humanity. Recognize this as a choice in every situation, which I know is easier said than done.
We must strive to see the wholeness of being, to find a sliver of positive in the ones who trigger us, whose views stand in deep contrast to our own, those who are not open to hearing or acknowledging. Search for the light anyway. Send your focus, your love to that part and will it to expand, in your heart and mind, and in the world. Center yourself here before you engage.
Reclaim the Dialogue
As you seek to defend your heart’s truth in the face of resistance, ask yourself of your chosen words:
Is it necessary?
Is it true?
Is it kind?
As you engage in dialogue with those of opposing views, try to move from “what” to “why.” Ask:
Why are you hurting?
What are you afraid of?
Why is this important to you?
Honor the Light
Think “namaste.” The light within me honors the light within you. Strive to live this principle with every human you encounter, be it your neighbor or your president. Connect in story. Tell your stories; ask others to share their stories. This is where we may discover the likeness of ourselves in each other and find sacred common ground.
Why do you feel the way you do about a particular social issue? How do those feelings tie to your personal experience?
Describe one positive trait of an individual with whom you strongly disagree on one or more important topics.
Recall a time when an individual’s personal story evoked empathy and shifted your perspective.