Yesterday morning my neighborhood in Boston lit up with sirens, and by night those sirens had been replaced by cheers. I heard the crowds celebrating with all of my windows closed—but I couldn’t see them so I knew they were at least a few blocks away. Something bothered me about the way the cheering sounded, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I realized that it reminded me of the sound of the Red Sox winning (I live beside Fenway Park). This was a “we beat em’” cheer, a drunk-and-trash-the-streets call to arms, a “don’t mess with us” wave of voices flooded with pride.
The next morning, my newsfeed on FaceBook was crowded with hate and spite. Some people were posting about how only an idiot would get in a boat that’s going nowhere, others were yelling about the government’s trickery and the cowardice of Boston’s people, and others were saying things like “ha! got you asshole!” to the nineteen year old boy in police custody.
An asshole is someone who runs to pass you just in time to take the empty seat you were headed towards on the train. An asshole is someone who rolls his eyes at you when you let him know that they forgot to put the patty in your hamburger. An asshole does not express his anger with the world by murdering people. A troubled, sick person does that.
I want us to all consider this “us/them” dynamic that we are so easily hypnotized by. The idea that the government is against us, that terrorists are against us, that our own people are against us and the anger that this idea nurtures is the very thing that claimed the psyche of the marathon bombers. People who do harm are seriously ill and seriously troubled. They need a lot of help. They are entirely without love and compassion. It is your job to show your neighbor love and compassion. And when I say neighbor, I mean every living being on this earth which you are a part of.
How do we expect to re-build a world with the same anger that is destroying it?
The problems of this world are so deep that a change of law or change of system will not help. We need a change of heart. We need to open and expand our hearts so wide that they encompass the entire world, filling with love those who lack it. We need to contemplate the nature of our being, and the nature of our neighbor’s. We need to read material that is enriching to the spirit. We need to practice true love, which does not discriminate.
Then, if you still feel it’s necessary, you can pick up your picket sign and go to work.
This is why I started this blog—because I think that people are looking for answers to a serious problem in the political system, and the answer just isn’t there. It’s in you. I want people to find the tools they need to nurture that power in them that can and will heal this world. It begins with not only acknowledging but realizing that you are not separate from other beings in this world. There is no “them”. There is only us.