In my own healing journey, I have found myself changed. Actually, the healing and this change were necessarily connected.
I couldn’t learn to have compassion for myself, when I had not cultivated compassion for others. I couldn’t forgive myself, when I couldn’t offer forgiveness to others. I couldn’t care for myself, if I didn’t care about others. I couldn’t hold self-respect, without being respectful of others. I couldn’t be redeemed, when I didn’t extend redemption to others.
The arrows also put the other way too, and there are many virtuous cycles and positive feedback loops. So all of these things are needed and necessary in order to heal.
Indeed, when I now feel in to, and touch, the disdain, despite and contempt I used to have for fellow humans who did not think like me, I can viscerally feel the tensing, the contraction, the holding, the rage, the violence, the sickness. I am diminished.
I am noticing a rising tide of anti-humanism in the world, a belief being held by more and more people that humanity is irredeemable, a scourge that should be wiped from the planet, and the Earth would just be better off without us. This is a pernicious form of collective self-loathing. These feelings, chronically held, about our fellows, block the healing.
This is why I keep, and will keep on, speaking out about the dehumanization, demonizing, name-calling, scapegoating, blaming, shaming, castigating that is going on. This is terrible for us, a significant detriment to our individual and collective physical and mental health.
We are all, whether the purveyors, or those on the receiving end, diminished by it. It will be our undoing.
Yes, I agree collectively, we are prone to very stupid and self-defeating behaviours, actions and deeds, capable of atrocities and evil. Yes, we are very much on the wrong path right now, and doing enormous damage to ourselves and the planet. Yes, there are also amongst us, a few individuals who are totally irredeemable and lost.
Yet, I now see that a lot of people, perhaps the majority, are capable of change, have the capacity for acts of kindness, are striving to be good in terrible circumstances, are seeing the folly of our current path, and who are wanting and yearning for something better for everyone.
Indeed, I encounter more and more people who have seen the error of our ways, both on a personal and collective level, who are speaking up and speaking out, who are also striving to change, heal, improve, to become and be better.
More and more, everyday.
You fill me with hope that better days are still possible.
By Gary Sharpe