Ah, the Challenge of Our Times! Even today I am wrestling with my reaction to the words of others! I sit in fear when I think I Should Be Fearless. Ugh. Yes, well getting one’s head bit off is what one has to be willing to accept in return for one’s need to contribute. It’s a tough choice, and literally akin to “dying unto death,” a model that we may aspire to be and fall far short from the mark. I try to keep it One Day at a Time, or when I have to, One Minute at a Time, thinking “there must be a pony somewhere in this pile of manure.” I do believe humans are hard-wired with pack mentality, and the software has run amok. Scientists have shown the existence of mirror neurons, and linkages between people’s heart rhythms and brain waves. I am aware of many efforts now expanding to teach us to become “people whisperers,” in which we self-manage our attitudes and emotions for the highest good of all, trusting the process, letting go of concepts and beliefs for direct experience. The Challenge of Our Times, indeed! Let’s go jump off that cliff….
I think that to “perform an extraordinary balancing act between the conflicting imperatives of building a strong sense of identity within our core and connecting with allies and potential allies beyond the core” requires us to seek internal change within our own hearts, so that we become like a truly benevolent Borg (a Star Trek creature, the decisions of which are made by a hive mind), and absorb even our enemies while preserving their individual identity, which is the essence of radical nonviolence.
I am very very enthusiastically optimistic that simple practice of active listening and empathy skills can be taught and spread rapidly through society, creating a heart-based world. Underneath greed is a deep longing for security, a spiritual security that is lacking in the material world. Underneath confrontation is a need to be heard. Enemies and threats are concepts we create, and we can create more direct experiences of the “other” such that violent thoughts and violent words — what I think most peace activists fear — become laughably impossible. “Do I not destroy my enemies by making them into my friends?” — Abraham Lincoln
The greatest threat to the status quo is not war, nor pestilence, nor famine, nor revolution, nor inflation or depression, nor collapse of the corporations or the government, nor overheating of the planet. All of those things just increase the struggle to solve problems. The greatest threat is that we might love each other as brother and sister, and love our planet. Love would sweep away and overturn all the roots and foundations of the status quo, set free the oppressed, heal the sick and wounded, quench the thirsty, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and set everyone dancing for joy. Love is now dangerous; love is suppressed; love is exiled from thought, word and deed. Open your heart to let compassion pour out onto the world, and your heart will overflow. It will not empty, it will expand exponentially. Open. Now.