Imagine all the people,
living life in peace.
It seems that modern man should have the ability to reconcile politics and non-violence by now yet we seem no closer to doing so today than we have ever been. We continue to be prejudiced and to act in a "me versus you" and "us versus them" manner - whoever can blast the other to smitherines first - whether it be through use of words or guns - wins. Recent tragic events in my own country have resulted in tremendous grief as well as widespread and undisciplined mudslinging and laying of blame.
My outlook is this:
I realize that beyond our voting power, the general public has a sense of helplessness over the ill-advised, cleverness and skillfulness of the power and profit hungry whose motivation is not the welfare of all human beings but themselves, for the sake of profit, power and/or fame. That being said, we do have absolute power over ourselves and a greater impact on this world from that individual level than we realize. Here is what we as individuals can do:
1. Face our prejudices and overcome them, rather than resorting to political correctness and thinking that this makes us o.k. Political correctness is really just a manner of covering your embarrassment over what you believe to be true deep inside, and your unconscious biases can cloud your thinking even when you have the best intentions.
2. Base how we relate to others on what unites us rather than separates us. Take a "we humans" have something extremely important to accomplish here that will affect all of us - and we are all equally important - approach.
3. See the gray areas instead of looking at things in black and white.
4. Question your motivation before you act. Is it completely selfish? Will you be harming others so that you and yours can prosper while they and them suffer? If you feel you must be selfish, be wisely selfish - do not harm others in order to achieve your own goals.
5. Question the motivation of political leaders, religious leaders and the media before you sucumb to their suggestions. Do not be led by the establishment or the latest coolest trend setters.
6. Understand that in any given situation you are going to have to make some concessions and that the outcome may not be completely satisfactory to you. You have been sharing crayons since kindergarten, you know how.
7. Don't cling to past events. Learn from them but keep your focus on what is happening right now.
How do we overcome prejudice?
1. Challenge your false beliefs about the other group.
2. Make personal contact with them, have an open mind.
3. Educate yourself every way that you can about them.
4. Reduce the gap by looking at that person as an individual rather than a member of a group, see them as a person with likes, dislikes, various tastes just like you.
5. Understand that we are all related. Look at it scientifically. We share common ancestors - the most recent being Mitochondrial Eve who lived in Africa about 140,000 years ago. Scientists have traced our ancestry back to her through use of DNA.
I truly believe that there are more good people in this world with a sincere desire to resolve things through human understanding and respect, than there are violent people. For every act of violence by a human being, there are a multitude of altruistic actions taken by human beings. This is represented by how the majority of human beings conduct ourselves in our day to day lives, on the road, at the grocery store, by being good neighbors, by helping others in both big and small ways every day.
Why am I writing about this in a blog about happiness? Because I want to help you to find happiness in the midst of the challenges presented to you in this difficult world in which we are living. Through love and compassion towards others, you not only help others, thus bringing happiness to them and to yourself, but you open your mind and heart to inner peace, and as a result all that you do will come easier to you, including pursuit of your passions and achievement of flow.
On the individual level, the practice of compassion is becoming more and more widespread every day - I have seen the signs of this personally. It starts with one of us and spreads like sunshine throughout the communities in which we live. Eventually it can and will spread from our communities to the world at large.