"In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity."
--Abraham Lincoln, in a Dec. 1, 1862 message to Congress
Like most of you, I've been searching for how to put last Saturday's tragic events in Tucson into a context that contains at least a kernel of wisdom for the journey ahead.
I've struggled to find my own voice amidst the cacophony of analysis and our collective attempts to make sense out of senselessness. I've shaken my head in disbelief and disgust, felt disappointment and a rising of sense of cynicism and resignation over the seemingly hopeless situation we're in.
Knowing that conflict and violence have been part of the human story since the beginning of time, what would ever make anyone believe that anytime in our lifetimes it could ever be different?
Last week, I wrote a piece called "Our Collective Awakening: A New Story for a New Decade." In it, I expressed hope and optimism for the future of humanity, as in every cell of my being I am thrown to believe the good guys (meaning all of us) will eventually win.
For several days now, in the wake of yet another chapter where the good guys lose, where innocent lives are snuffed out by a tragic, senseless act of violence, I've struggled to hold on to that optimism. I've struggled to see how the story can ever turn in the direction of truth and love. I've lost sight of our inherent goodness and the beauty we all embody as humans.
I've harbored in my own body feelings of outrage against a system that seems irreparably broken and, for a moment, embraced the vitriol that so characterizes what passes for political discourse in our society today. I became, for a moment, the epitome of all that is most wounded and dysfunctional in our society. And thus, I became part of the problem.
Consciousness aligns with itself. And in my journey into temporary "unsanity," I saw just how much darkness I/we've yet to traverse in order to emerge into that new paradigm I wrote about last week. You know, the one where everyone wakes up to realize the truth of who they are and of who we are collectively.
In that scenario, the kind of violence we witnessed last week in Tucson, a repetition of what has come many times before in human history, is not possible, for we will see beyond the illusion of separation and know one another as ourselves, individualized expressions of one animating life force.
Some people call that force God. Some call it Love. Some call it Universal Intelligence or Mind. Some call it the All Good. Some call it Spirit and yet others call it spiritual hocus-pocus. I'm not attached to the label. Call it what you will, or don't call it anything at all. Whatever works for you. Personally I find truth in all the names used to label this force that animates all life.
Sometimes it does all feel like spiritual hocus-pocus. This might be one of those times. At times like these, when it seems that there is no force for good at work in the world, when one questions how a benevolent God could allow such heinous acts, the whole spiritual gig seems like child's play, an activity to temporarily comfort and soothe the mind, like a pacifier.
Times like these make me question the purpose for which I've dedicated my life for nearly 40 years. Is it all for naught? Is it possible for humans to transcend thousands of years of history and conditioning and adopt a radically different way of viewing themselves and the world around them?
In times like these, my cynical self would scoff and say, "Hell, no! Not possible. Hasn't happened yet, and the chances are slim to none that it will/can ever happen."
And if I become very still, in times like these, sometimes I manage to hear that other voice, the still, small voice I call Spirit or Wisdom, which speaks so softly that it can only be heard in the silence. And that voice says something like this:
"Nobody said this would be easy or happen quickly. Yes, it feels dark and lonely right now, but that's because you're moving through the birth canal. In order to give birth to a new possibility, you must shed yourself of the past. You must leave behind all that no longer serves the truth. All that is not aligned will be brought forward for review.
"You have choice in the matter. You can choose to hold on to the past and continue down the road you're currently on, maintaining the illusion of separation and living in fear. Or you can choose to unburden yourself of the weight of fear ("false evidence appearing real") and emerge into the lightness of truth. Being there is only One; this One is Love; this One is who you are. Choose."
When confronted by these two options, fear and love, the choice is clear. And in that clarity, I come to see and know that these are the choices we're always being given. No matter what the outer circumstances appear to be, if you scratch the surface, you'll discover the underpinnings of fear or the underpinnings of love at work. And you and I have the ultimate gift of choosing how we respond to whatever is in front of us.
So returning to the events in Tucson last week, how do we respond out of love? For starters, notice how easy it is to get caught up in the rhetoric, engaging in finger-pointing and blame. I know, I've been there myself the past few days. I've carried that energy in my body and frankly, I don't want it. I found myself eating very bad, sugary, fattening food, just to tamp down my feelings. Of course, that fix was only temporary. No solutions there!
In my search for a remedy, to return to myself and an inner sense of wholeness, able to function in a world of chaos and perhaps even offer up a shard of wisdom for others, I turned away from isolation and my own neurotic thoughts and towards a community of others in search of a greater truth.
Consciousness aligns with itself. I/you/we can choose the kind of consciousness with which to surround our selves.
In my return to sanity, my faith is restored, and I regain clarity. In that clarity, I see the events in Tucson in a larger context. Yes, what happened is tragic and makes no sense to the mind that wants linear, logical answers. But stay tuned. This chapter is still being written. Notice what emerges from it. Notice whether out of this we come to our senses and come together to work together in a new way, knowing that hatred and fear breed only more of the same and that in the end, love always wins. Call me crazy, but I still believe the good guys win in the end.
What are you feeling at this time? Please check in below and share your own experience. Let's support each other through this chapter of darkness. I don't know about you, but for me, the shared path seems brighter with your presence.
As always, blessings on the path.
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