One gift I was born with in abundance is empathy. For better or for worse, the bedrock on which my world view lies is in the belief that fundamentally all humans are equal. It is amazing how few people believe this, and even as I say it myself, I realize I often don’t practice what I preach.
For if all humans are equal, then why is it that the only human who isn’t allowed to make a mistake is me? I have treated others with a level of understanding and compassion I have not offered myself. Instead, I have held myself to ridiculously high standards – I have to always have the answer, I have to always be grounded, be at peace, be happy, etc. Needless to say, the more I try to enforce these onto myself, the less I embody them, and the more hateful/fearful I am to others as a result. This is a pattern that a lot of us have, and if we want to change the world, we have to become aware of this and release it.
There has been much talk of the Occupy movement, and as a political activist as well as a lover of spirit, I have been following two schools of thought. The common line within the spirit world seems to be that we need to get ourselves sorted out before we can get down to business sorting the world.
I couldn’t disagree more. Reason being – we will never get ourselves sorted out. The journey to peace is a permanent journey, it has no destination. We fall, we get up, we fall again, we keep exploring, we keep seeing further views of what is possible. The more we think of getting ourselves sorted as an item on a to-do list, accomplished once and henceforth displayed in our personal trophy room, the more discouraged we will get and the more difficult our journey will become.
I have been occupying a square for almost a week now. It’s cold. It’s challenging, especially because one of the fellow occupiers is someone who carries a lot of my shadows, a man I love but could never be with because he still inspires me to struggle with my authenticity and sense of self-worth. I haven’t ever shared my personal dreams with him because I still tend to prioritize the way he sees me over the way I see myself, I still beat myself up in his presence. And then I beat myself up for beating myself up. And the cycle continues. (It’s a funny irony that we have to love ourselves for beating ourselves up if we want to break the cycle.) Of course he is an assignment. A few months ago I told myself I had completed that assignment and moved on, and now that he is sleeping in a tent right next to my own tent, the Uni-verse has sent the assignment back for a re-sit, a lesson in authenticity. Being in the thick of it, in the occupied town square, you can no longer run from yourself. You can no longer set aside 2 hours a day in which to be authentic as a spiritual practice and hide within your old patterns for the other 22. That is why Occupy offers enormous potential for inner growth. I believe it is an assignment to us all.
This movement is bigger than the sum of its parts. It holds an unprecedented potential for the whole globe. Our responsibility is only to breathe into the movement and allow our hearts to be guided to what role we are here to play. What many spiritual folk are failing to acknowledge is that Occupy is a calling, an assignment to all of us. The Uni-verse is saying, “You have the power and the opportunity to redefine the globe. What would you like to see happen?” In the town squares across the globe, we are coming out to live that alternative. The international solidarity is unprecedented; the opportunities are endless. Your suffering is no longer ‘none of my business’. We are no longer strangers to one another. We are now a global family, and now is the time to breathe into the movement and take your place in the history books.
If not now, when? If not you, who?
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