A quote from Ram Das keeps coming to mind as we enter this new chapter in the American story: “You may protest if you can love the person you are protesting against as much as you love yourself." I'm not that evolved, if only I was!, but it's certainly a worthy challenge, a goal worth aiming for.
Some healthy, focused anger (and, yes, I believe you can be angry and remain rooted in love) can ground us in our personal power, give us the courage to speak truth to power; but hate consumes everyone and everything, leaving nothing in its wake but scorched earth and shattered hearts. As Buddha said: "Never in this world has hate ever cast out hate. Love alone wins over hate."
We don't always see it mirrored in the Big Events—there's just too much noise, too much shouting and shaking of fists—but in our day to day lives, in our one-on-one interactions, love and compassion are the most vital, valuable and transformative qualities we can cultivate. And if the microcosm is the macrocosm, then every act of compassion and love, no matter how small, how seemingly insignificant, will echo out into the wider world.
One more quote, from Avatar Meher Baba: "Love is essentially self-communicative; those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. Those who receive love from others cannot be its recipients without giving a response that, in itself, is the nature of love. True love is unconquerable and irresistible. It goes on gathering power and spreading itself until eventually it transforms everyone it touches."
Even if that's not true—I believe it is, but even if it's not—I would rather live my life choosing love over hate, compassion over division. Even if it's just a dream—what a beautiful dream it is.
There are spiritual traditions that say the entire universe is a dream. If that's so, then perhaps a collective dream of love can actually transmute (so-called) reality and change the world for the better.
Worth a try, isn't it?
©copyright 2016 J.M. DeMatteis