The essence of violence is the distinction between ‘me’ and the other, the one we feel justified to hate. The ones we think we have good reasons to exclude from our heart and from our willingness to be and stay open to. Many years ago, by grace, there came a moment when I was shown that I could open my heart instead of hating. At the time, I was in a conflict with new neighbors whose noise levels were way beyond my ability to cope with. The conflict was going nowhere, and found myself stuck with that old hatred that was now directed against my neighbors. I had been on a healing journey and a spiritual path for almost fifteen years at that point, and much of the habit of hating had dissipated. But it arose in that conflict.
The human psyche is not personal at all. We know it intimately, because we know our own. Our own ability to contract into judgment and hatred or expand into love is the same in every human being. We think we are separate and we don’t understand others. But actually, if we stop turning others into an ‘other’, their psyches are exactly like our own. We understand them to the extent that we have come to be honest and truthful about ourselves.
This life, our human journey, is utterly confusing and painful until we discover our true nature. This human heart – mine, yours, everybody’s – is meant to find its way back home to what it arose from and is meant to express: pure, boundless Love. Nobody is excluded from this awakening in the heart, not even terrorists. Pat Magee, one of the IRA terrorists, is now working for peace and reconciliation with Jo Berry, the daughter of one of their victims. John Sherman, a former criminal and violent political activist, is now a nondual spiritual teacher (you’ll find the links to the interview and John Sherman’s website at the end of this text).
All of us are invited to find that ability in our hearts to open, just as we become aware of how we close them. At some point, the opening becomes irresistible, inescapable, inevitable. Nothing else makes sense because contraction is seen for what it is: a painful forgetting of the Love that we Are. May all events, everywhere, become such invitations to find out whether we can truly close our hearts, ever.
If you’d like to pursue this inquiry, join me for the next live, online retreat on Sunday December 6, on ‘Awakening in the Heart’. And here are the links for the conscious tv interview with Pat Magee and Jo Berry, and for John Sherman. If you'd like to comment and you're on facebook, do join the comments there.