The Love Challenge
Within my spiritual practice, I am reminded to express love on a daily basis. To be a light in what often appears to be a very dark world. This is not always an easy task. It would be rather vain of me to say that I have found the answers to always being able to express love regardless of how others treat me or when I see injustice in the world. Moreover, yet, the fact that I desire to do so is a very positive step in the right direction. Reminding myself to express love allows me to self-check every thought, to evaluate my emotions and make corrections whenever possible.
All this self-reflection and self-correction can be and is exhausting at times. Depending on the day, my mood and the mood of those I come into contact with, some days I find it harder than others. I attempt to be non-judgmental, I try to see the divine in each and every person I see or with whom I come into contact. Moreover, some days I am better at this than others. We all have our days, those days where no matter how hard we may try, no matter how many times we remind ourselves that love is the most powerful energy in the universe and can transform any situation, there are just some days that I simply cannot see the good. On these days, I simply have to take a moment and accept, that my emotions and feelings are valid, work through them and let it go. Tomorrow is another day.
I love the idea that there is no “should or should not.” I like most of you, often find myself saying, “ I should do this….. or I should feel that or I should not have done this or that.” Living in the moment often brings us challenges, trails and opportunities to grow and expand our awareness. Our knowledge of the world around, awareness of ourselves as well as the world unseen. Each action and reaction allows us the chance to see what lies beyond the moment, either in the past or present to understand our feelings. What we do with that chance is up to us. How we use the information we receive leads us to further along our journey, illuminates who we are, yet even more than that, allows us to know whom we want to be.
Over the past few weeks, I have found it hard to actually see the best in the world. I have been hard for me not to react from a place of fear. My perception of the world has changed to one of distrust, uncertain of the future that humanity faces. Moreover, from a very personal point of view, terrified of what the future holds for me. While I tried to shield myself from all the media, limit my exposure to the hate and acts of violence that seem to have exponentially increased daily, I found that I just could not ignore the events which have such a profound impact on my life, my emotions and the future of my country. This is not about political parties, political ideologies, or even religious views. That would be much too easy of an explanation.
I often ask myself, “what can one man do to make a difference?” “ is there anything I can do or say that will open the eyes of others to understand the damage that is being done?” and finally, “why am I so afraid of what is to come?”
The last question is easy to answer. I fear that the civil rights which have been so hard won, will be and in some cases are being law by law, erased. Common courtesy and respect are being replaced by fear, discrimination, and judgment. Outdated ideas and concepts are being brought forward again, progress is being reversed, and many are uncertain of the future they face. When the right to work or live in a particular place can be legally denied based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race or religion, when the stripping of rights is applauded rather than condemned, one is left to ask, “ how do you love those who do not know how to love.” “ How do you forgive those who feel there is nothing to be forgiven? Not easy questions to ask, and even harder to answer. Regardless of how hard these questions are to answer, for today I have the following.
I am reminded of something my mother would tell me as I was growing up. It was something I never understood until I was much older, and even then, I often forget or find myself struggling to understand.
“ You do not have to like a person to love them” and “ Forgiving a person does not mean you condone or accept them actions as acceptable to you.”
I choose each day to see the divine within the individual. Knowing that their outward expression is very much in conflict with their divine self. I honor their truth as they see it. I validate their right to express their truth and be their authentic selves while at the same time stand firm in my efforts to stand against any form of discrimination. While each individual has the right to express their opinions and to attempt to bring about the change in the world they desire – I remind myself that I too have the same right. Where others preach fear, I will stand for love. Where others seek to repress and bully those who disagree with them, I will be a lighthouse, focused on love, gratitude, and forgiveness. I will hold true to my convictions that all men and woman are created equal, I will promote the idea that being different is to be applauded, I will seek to forgive others, not for their actions, not even for being authentic themselves, but rather hope that the pain and suffering that allows their authentic self-expression to be judgmental and hurtful. I will replace fear with compassion, knowing that behind their expression lies great pain and turmoil, a life experience that has shaped their thinking, their judgment, and their fear.
I will not seek to understand, I will not try to explain or justify, rather I will forgive and release. I will show love; I will show compassion and I will above all, show forgiveness. Though this act of kindness, the seeds can and prosper. It literally could happen overnight, though I know it will take time, it will take dedication, and it will require that I remain vigilant daily. Not guarding, but rather being aware of my thoughts, my emotions, and my fears, and apply these same principles to me as well as to the world and universe around me. One man, one thought and one desire, yet when shared with another can and will multiply across the globe.
Does anyone care to join?