31 January 2017

More Heart, Less Attack

Times such as these often tend to bring out both the best and worst in us as human beings, and to be certain we live in tumultuous times.  This past week entire religious and ethnic groups were barred from entering our country by the swift motion of an executive pen. Protests against these executive orders broke out all over the country. Sad news of another violent outburst by a zealot in our neighbor to the North added to the growing death toll from such madness.  When these things become our daily news reel, it is easy to become overwhelmed and fall into one of two camps; that of being overcome by grief or being enraged and wanting to attack the “other.”  I am guilty of this, and have been in both camps at one point or another, but usually only because I have failed to listen or to consider another posture or way of being.  Thich Nhat Hanh once said,

“In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.”

Certainly our own government has excelled at this strategy for years, and sadly, many have fallen right into the trap of believing this same government will save them.  This tactic has been used by both the “left” and the “right”, and now, it is being used quite effectively again, made manifest by the new administration and fueled by the so-called “religious right” and “conservative Christians”, who have been stirred into a frenzy of believing to have won some divine victory over Evil with this past election.  Some are even suggesting, incredulously, that our new leader was placed in office by God Himself, and that God is guiding the President’s hand in order to restore America to being a “Christian” nation…though it never was one from the beginning.  As we can see, the game is in full swing…but much like the graphic above…when we focus on the problems between us rather than look into the eyes of the other and consider another point of view than our own, we lose sight of our neighbor and become fixated on the correctness of our own position and what divides us from one another, and not what unites us together.

True to this game, a false enemy consisting of “others” has been created and many have given into the siren song of Empirical rhetoric, going so far as to completely ignore large parts of their own spiritual teachings in order to justify their own point of view.  This, in part, is due to the overwhelming amount of cognitive dissonance already present in many before this election ever happened.  I have said it too often of late, but what disturbs me most in what I see around me is the amount of negative energy people are directing towards one another, and the glee of one group at the suffering of another.  In these Empirical games, however, the loser is always the people themselves.  We are ALL part of the human family, regardless of race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender, etc., and whether we like it or not, we are all in this together.  

“They” are not the enemy.  I am.  The fear, anger, and hatred that I kindle inside my soul is what leads directly to the great suffering in this world.  How we treat one another NOW will decide the quality of our life together, which is already brief and like dust, on a planet we all must share.  No matter what your opinion is of our current President and his administration, or your religious convictions, one thing is certain; in all of our interactions we could use, as the band NEEDTOBREATHE said so well, “more heart and less attack.”

This life is already filled with enough sorrow and suffering.  We all have deep convictions about things – that’s ok.  We all have ideas and ideals and goals and ways of living, and all of us want to love and be loved back.  It is possible to agree to disagree without resorting to tearing one another down, or to blocking an entire group out, simply because “they” do not “fit” into our accepted point of view.  It is possible to coexist and to have ongoing conversation.  However, while doing so, we must also care for one another and defend each other against hatred, violence, and fear.  It is not enough to simply sit idly by while entire groups are marginalized and treated as less-than human by another group of people.  When such things happen, no matter the source or reason, we must stand up fo those who are being targeted and show that another world is possible.  We cannot force anyone else into our own way of seeing things anymore than we can force a square peg through a round hole of the same size, but we can find common ground by learning to listen and to treat everyone with love and respect; the same love and respect that we wish for ourselves.  What we need is less talk about one another, more listening to one another, and actively caring for one another.  As the author Paulo Coelho writes, “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”

It is for this reason that I know, in these uncertain times, I must engender in myself a spirit of quietness and willingness to listen, and do my utmost to actively live by example what I believe and not debate angrily with others.  Regardless of how much I want to react, I need more heart and less attack.  We all do.

I’ll finish with a quote below from Tecumseh, a chief of the Shawnee Native American tribe, that I believe sums up this perspective well, as well as a link to the song by NEEDTOBREATHE.

Listen.  Reflect.  Be kind to one another.  And above all…do your utmost in all things to have more heart and less attack.  Perfect love casts out fear – the only thing to fear is fear itself.  Brothers and Sisters all – let the Empire rage; we are not overcome.

“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.  Trouble no one about his religion.  Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place. Show respect to all people, but grovel to none. When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” – Tecumseh, Shawnee (1768-1813)

MORE HEART, LESS ATTACK
by: NEEDTOBREATHE
Be the light in the crack
Be the one that’s mending the camel’s back
Slow to anger, quick to laugh
Be more heart and less attack
 
Be the wheels not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart and less attack
 
The more you take the less you have
‘Cause it’s you in the mirror staring back
Quick to let go slow to react
Be more heart and less attack
 
Ever growing steadfast
And if need be the one that’s in the gap
Be the never turning back
Twice the heart any man could have
 
Be the wheels not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart and less attack
 
I stuck my hat out, I caught the rain drops
I drank the water, I felt my veins pop
I’m nearly sanctified, I’m nearly broken
I’m down the river to where I’m going
I stuck my hat out, I caught the rain drops
I drank the water, I felt my veins pop
I’m nearly sanctified, I’m nearly broken
I’m down the river to where I’m going
I’m down the river to where I’m going


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Posted 31 January, 2017 by Luke Beecham in category "General

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