There is no doubt that we are living through some hard times. It seems like hatred, anger and fear are all around us. It's easy to get drawn into these emotions, or at the very least, become drained by their presence around us.
One of the things I hear a lot from people is, "Oh, I don't follow the news. It's too upsetting." And while it is totally natural to take a break from the concerns of the world from time to time, I feel that part of living in Spiritual Integration is being engaged with the world. If we all lived like monks, in a state of constant meditative seclusion, it sure would be easier to keep a loving, peaceful air about our lives. Or perhaps we'd go nuts from endlessly being alone with our thoughts, unable to function without projecting the drama within onto those around us.
Because that's the real secret: there is no external conflict. Everything we see going on in both the micro and macro versions of our world right now is a reflection of the conflict within ourselves. If we can view others as separate from ourselves and project our darkest fears onto them then we can avoid sitting alone with our own deep discomfort about who we are. Hatred and anger toward others is really a result of the fear that we aren't good enough; we have to label others (sometimes a whole group of people) as inferior to mask the existential dread that we are unloved and unlovable.
How then can we confront these fears within so that what we see reflected back to us when we enter the world is less terrifying and more loving? How can we soften into an acceptance of the world we've collectively created to resolve these internal conflicts? Make no mistake, we are here on this physical plane at this specific time in history FOR A REASON. We all have internal issues to resolve if we have any hope of creating a better world for our children and grandchildren. Perhaps we view ourselves as superior to those who are still carrying hatred and anger in their hearts toward another group of people. I'm sorry to say that we are caught in the same trap as they are until we accept this idea of conflict as a reflection and projection of our own fear.
Let me be clear, when I talk about doing personal spiritual work in order to change the collective, I am not suggesting that as an alternative to activism or community engagement. These things are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the more love we develop for ourselves, the less separation we will see between ourselves and other people, and the more we'll be called to stand up for injustice.
If you are familiar with Christian scripture you've probably heard some version of this idea: that you do to the least of my brothers you also do unto me. This is a literal statement. There is no real separation between us, other people, and God. Lashing out at others is really us lashing out at the aspects of ourselves we are afraid to illuminate. When we recognize that there is no real separation between us, that we are all made of the same energy that is the unconditional love of the Divine, we can start to look within to resolve conflict instead of projecting it onto others.
This is a lofty goal and a lifelong/multiple life journey for most of us. Living in truth is a great start to this: learning to stay in the present moment to avoid getting drawn into the ego and then learning to speak from that place of being centered and connected to the Divine. We start on the micro level by learning to respond from a state of love within our own homes, then we move on to the larger spheres of the workplace and our social circles. If we all commit to it, this work will begin to ripple out until the effects become evident on a much larger scale.
Recently I've seen many of my friends and acquaintances questioning some of the beliefs and traditions in which they were raised. This is how we're meant to function. We're meant to forge our own path through love and compassion and to LISTEN to each other so that we can understand that not everyone has the same experiences we do on this physical plane in this lifetime. We were never intended to blindly accept the beliefs of our forebears without change. Shining a light into our darkness is what allows us to change not only our own beliefs, but to overturn outmoded ways of thinking and being that no longer serve us as we collectively decide to step into a more loving and compassionate world.
I challenge you to start (or continue!) on this path of spiritual discovery, not just for yourself (although creating a happier and more fulfilling life is the amazing byproduct of this work no matter our initial purpose), but with the intention of bringing more love and compassion to the collective. Do the hard work of illuminating your own darkness so that what you start to see reflected back to you in others is lighter and more loving. Soften your heart and open fully to the unconditional Divine love that is your birthright and allow yourself to step fully into a new world. This journey isn't easy, but it's why we're here, and the results ripple outward to inspire others to join us.
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