Well, the man who stole our car in late July was arrested recently for stealing another car that was found sitting in front of his house. Turns out, fingerprints link him to our stolen car as well. While this may sound like good news, and in some ways it is – another thief off the streets – in many more ways it really saddened me.
You see, this man lives in a neighborhood only miles from us in the city of Chicago, and yet, we live millions of miles apart as far as the realities of our everyday lives.
Chicago, like most large cities, actually is two cities within one. There are the more lovely, affluent areas, many with easy access to beautiful Lake Michigan and the stunning downtown, and then the “other” areas that have much more in common with Syria than my quaint Northshore village.
Ironically, this summer I read aloud to my family often about the tragedies occurring within our own backyard, particularly within this specific neighborhood from which the thief hails, as it is mentioned almost daily in The Chicago Tribune due to violence, shootings and fatalities.
Last spring, my daughter participated in an eye-opening exchange with a large high school right in this very same neighborhood where this man was arrested just days ago. After several outings together on neutral territory throughout the exchange, my daughter and I had several very deep, honest conversations about the all-encompassing truth of Oneness/Non-Duality AND the physical truth of Divisions/Duality that can be so painful and, at times, create downright despair and desperation in so many fellow human beings.
Quite frankly, my daughter was absolutely astonished at the differences in education levels between peers from the two different schools as well as the drastically different life perspectives.
Honestly, the subject of this particular neighborhood has been on the tip of my tongue for many months as a launch pad for a deeper conversation on what we can do to ease the suffering of our neighbors by creating more economic equality, and therefore, true equality for not only people in this neighborhood, but for all around the globe.
It’s that spiritual activism in me, and a deep knowing that while all may be truly well in the largest sense, where does the rubber meet the road right here and now as far as our spirituality lived? It is something that I have struggled with greatly in my past…
Out of curiosity, I looked at this man’s Facebook page yesterday. As I suspected, from the posts that he has shared, our lives on the surface, which is simply a reflection of the deeper layers, look nothing alike. It truly felt like we speak two different languages, almost like two foreigners from distant lands.
Shockingly, posted on the day after our car was stolen, his status update talked about, in colorful language, how he hoped it felt like s%$t to wake up in the morning and go outside to find your car gone. He goes on to say that he hoped it cost a lot of money to replace. WOW!
Even though it angered me to read that statement. Even though I felt violated by his actions. Even though he and I seemingly live by two totally different world views. Even though he and I seem as different as night and day. Even though I am glad that he is being held responsible for his actions. I just can’t let it end there…
When I looked into this man’s eyes in his pictures, and when I looked into the eyes of this young man’s baby in his photos, and when I looked into the eyes of his recently killed brother in an RIP photo, I felt compassion and sadness for ALL of us.
We know not who we truly are, and this lack of remembering creates tremendous, needless suffering that affects all of us energetically and most likely will sooner than later affect all of us much closer to home than we care to see.
BUT, if we CHOOSE to know… once we know, really know, then we won’t need a law that says don’t steal a car. We won’t need a law that says don’t kill another. And likewise, we won’t need a law that says to pay people a dignified, living wage even if it means less profit for the top tiers. We won’t need a law that requires all to live more simply so that others can simply live. ALL of the above would be a given – an internal knowing based on felt integrity, not forced morality.
The truth is, when I looked really, really closely at the man who stole our car and bragged about it to his friends, I felt his anger, his pain, and the poverty of his soul.
The truth is also, when I looked even closer than really really close, I saw myself.
There’s only ONE of us here.
What are we going to do to live that, if ever?
Is it more and more laws, a slow-strangulation of legally enforced integrity? Or, finally a commitment to REMEMBERING?
Warmth and JOY,
And, always, THANK YOU for reading!
A modern bridge between the mainstream and the mystical, Annie Burnside, M.Ed. is a soul nurturer, award-winning author, and teacher specializing in parenting, conscious relationships, authentic living and spiritual development. Her book Soul to Soul Parenting won the 2011 Nautilus Silver Book Award. Connect with Annie on Facebook and engage with her on Twitter @annieburnside