I want to write about outrage, the way my mind and heart and belly can flare at the wrongness I see in the world, especially at the people who I see as thinking and acting wrongly. The impulse is so compelling, so visceral, primal. They’re destroying the country, and the whole world! If they would only think and behave differently, the world would be such a better place. All would be right with the world again. Things would be good.
That’s the mind’s thinking, the age old story. It seems so real and true. “They” are obviously deluded and backward.
However, in conversation with a friend it is pointed out to me that “they” on the other side are just as outraged and appalled (disgusted even) at “us” as we are with “them.” They are just as concerned about the perceived moral downward slide, the harm being done, the wrongness of thinking and behaving on the other side — my side!
I’m struck by the simple, obvious truth of this: I — my tribe, my side — am the object of outrage and concern just as much as the subject of it. From this perspective it doesn’t actually matter who is right, who has the real truth and who is deluded. What matters is working together as one human community/tribe to find healthy, ecologically-connected ways to live on this planet. It is madness and collective suicide to keep focusing massive amounts of our energies and resources on fighting, warring, harming and killing each other (and the rest of life!).
The path I see (the only path I see, actually) to finding our way back to collective sanity is for each of us as individuals (with support of empathic community) to summon and focus all the inner resources we have on our natural empathic connection and compassionate response with one another, no matter how outraged and separate we feel; and to refuse to cooperate with anything that isn’t kindness and generosity. There is a realm of our experience that is universal and self-transcendent, connected with a larger wholeness, underlying and large enough to hold our differences in a unified embrace. Can we each find the strength and courage in ourselves to shift attention and language toward this universal place, again and again, and be a light that awakens and shines for others?