Those of you who know me, know that I tend to focus on the positive. Partly, it is simply my nature and partly it’s because I believe it is better for all of us to choose joy. But there are other reasons. One is: I cannot hold too much pain. If I were to try, I know that one problem too many stuffed into this human frame would cause deep ruptures and, like a volcano, my heart would split at the seams pouring forth all this red hot molten lava.
That may sound terribly melodramatic, but I can think of no other metaphor that feels so apt. This world is so big and the disrespect, violence, injustice, and greed sometimes feels so enormous that I doubt one tiny human is capable of truly feeling it all, let alone dealing with it all. Our psyche was not built to handle this much knowledge, this much pain.
Having said that, I know there are some of you who do endeavor to stay informed of all the horrors that we inflict upon one another and the animals, plants, waters, skies, and Earth. It takes an exceedingly brave person to try to hold it all. But here is my heartfelt caution and plea, please don’t immerse yourself so deeply in the pain that you become bitter and disconsolate and thereby incapable of being a light to the world. Because this world needs your light. Badly. It doesn’t need your awareness necessarily, and certainly not your despair, it needs your light.
Some people are capable of focusing on one terrible situation and then taking action to transform that situation. Gandhi and King come immediately to mind. They were utterly aware of the evils of colonialism, racism, and all the resulting injustice, and yet they were able to rally the people to action. Ultimately huge change resulted, although sadly, it cost them their lives. They were true spiritual warriors and they continue to be an inspiration. Some of you are called to this path, and I bless you and bow before you with great respect.
Others hold the ills of the world and they work toward transformation through the act of prayer. My friends, the four South American sisters, pray from morning till night. That is their mission and their path and I respect them tremendously for it. I believe the impact of their prayers is every bit as transformational as that of the activists, it’s just that the results are not as obvious because they are happening on the spiritual plane.
For those who are unable to transmute the negative energies of the world through action or prayer, may I humbly suggest that you NOT to try to embrace every single distressing problem of the world. Those who, for instance, watch or listen to the news several times a day so that they can remain informed often succumb to one of the following states. Either they are bombarded so often with despairing news that they become incredibly cynical and apathetic, incapable of doing more than living at a purely superficial level; or they become deeply depressed, unsure how they can possibly make any difference whatsoever. Obviously, neither of these two states is productive or healthy.
Sometimes, like this morning, I do allow myself to sink deeper into all the despair of the world. As I pray, I acknowledge it all and I let the tears flow. I feel the incredible pain of a world that sometimes feels so lost. How much horror can the human race continue to inflict on this Earth? Eventually, I have to surrender. It is too much for one mere human. So I offer it to the Earth. I hate to burden her with the pain because she has already suffered so much at the hands of her own children, this sometimes unbearably hopeless human race. But I have to believe that, like a generous human mother, she can hold our sorrows for us as we cry. And like the great Being that she is, she can transmute them.
Thank you to all the spiritual warriors out there. Thank you to all of those who bravely try to make a difference. Thank you to the activists and the lightworkers, the prayer warriors and the healers. Perhaps you are the reason we are all still here.
I bow to you all.
(Volcano image courtesy of wordlesstech.com.)