It’s a good start. An important start. But it’s only the beginning.
Some kind of legislation regarding police brutality is apparently something all of our lawmakers can wrap their brains around…at least when thousands of people in every state keep marching to demand reform.
But there is so much to unpack here. And that unpacking has to do with a heavy burden of systemic racism that lies at the very foundation of our country. Racism that has produced unrest, unease, riots, injury, death. Negative behavior all stemming from one primal source: fear.
And that fear is what we must all understand. That fear is what has sourced the negative behavior. And that fear has been deliberately stoked repeatedly to separate us even more from each other.
There are two primal emotions. Fear is one and love is the other. The more we cultivate one, the less room there is for the other.
We have seen what more fear can do but what of this equation: more love, less fear.
We can actually use love to TRANSMUTE fear. We can use it in this way.
Instead of dividing into two primary parties each determined to prove the other wrong (our traditional response), we can instead...and this may seem radical and difficult and uncomfortable...
We can, instead, make an effort to uncover what is causing the fear. And we do that through the peaceful effort of LISTENING to UNDERSTAND. To understand another’s experiences. The personal experiences that have shaped and formed their beliefs and life view. The personal experiences that have caused them pain and that may have been left unhealed to rise up, agitate, compel, incite and sear the soul.
“Listening to understand” means no countering with our feelings and experiences...only listening to THEIRS.
And here’s why. What every Individual needs is to be listened to objectively, nonjudgmentally, compassionately. Until every person feels heard and understood. Not countered with another’s beliefs...just heard and understood.
When people feel heard and truly understood, something softens inside them. They leave the brittle cave they have sequestered themselves in and begin to see beyond their own experiences, their own pain. They don’t forget the pain but rather become capable of recognizing others’ pain. And this is a necessary foundation for the realization that we all share a common humanity. That we are all One.
This is the unpacking that must be done. And it must be done by everyone… for everyone.
One by one, we begin. Stepping past our own beliefs, we open our hearts to minister to each other’s pain.
What if no one "argued" religion or politics...or anything else for that matter? What if we all talked to each other to learn about what others believe and why and how their beliefs have affected their lives?
What if we all listened to what others said without feeling threatened or intimidated? What if we had nothing to prove and, possibly, something to learn from hearing other points of view?
The world would surely be a very different place than the way it is now. It would more closely resemble a gathering of curious scholars and philosophers than being the hotbed it is of arguments and disputes that have culminated in unrest, injury and violence.
Why do we have a need to compel or persuade others to "see things our way"? Why is it so threatening to us that others reject our beliefs? Why do we need to see OUR ideas prevail? And why are some of us sometimes willing to inflict mental, emotional or physical injury on those who do not share our views?
Have we not come to this earthly dimension to learn, to experience, to discover for ourselves what there is to know? And are we not gifted with the company and comradeship of other earth travelers who are also here to discover FOR THEMSELVES what there is to know? Why argue with each other when everyone has been given this same calling? Why not stay open to learning what has been noticed, accepted, embraced and assimilated by others and try to understand what they have learned that has felt so important and appealing to them?
Can you imagine the wealth of sharing and mutual support that would take place if every man clearly embraced his highest calling "to understand"...one of the most powerful and needed changes that could ever occur on our planet.
Can we help each other UNPACK the stories that burden us, creating a space for mutual understanding and shared compassion? Can we embrace the practice of love rather than feel the fury of fear?
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Briana Kranz watercolor and ink |poster