photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash
Humanity has been at this game of separation for eons; us against them, me against you. This separation has shown up in politics, countries, religions, races, you name it. Current world events seem to cut deeper into this wound of separation. As we watch the dynamics of divisiveness tear open our hearts and bleed throughout our communities, I still believe the wound has the potential of being healed, transformed and transcended.
We won’t get through these times by resisting division, adding to it, or watching the news and lamenting about how terrible and heartbreaking it all is. Just like so many of life’s towering challenges, we will have to go through it. We each have our part to play; some will take to the streets, others will participate in prayer circles.
I’ve been wondering what it would be like to work with the energy of division. Maybe we could work with the energy of division just as we would initiate a new romance; we could court it, give it our loving attention and understanding. We could start by looking at working with the division within ourselves first before looking at how we have separated ourselves from others.
Below are some methods that I have found advantageous when engaging with this formidable energy…starting from the inside out.
1. Self-observation—without judgment: It would be short-sighted not to investigate any possible divisions within my own heart and look at how I move through the world in relation to others. Self-observation without judgment is simple, yet can feel monumental to put into daily practice. The results can be tremendous. This step is essential training before taking on the following idea:
2. Examining your shadow side: Most of us have beliefs that feed separation, as well as the part of the psyche that can hang onto feelings of greed, bigotry, hatred and blame. Investigate and make peace with any darkness that shows up.
3. Praying: In his book "Prayer is Good Medicine,” physician and researcher Dr. Larry Dossey cites compelling studies and case histories, and discusses how praying for oneself and others can have a scientifically measurable healing effect on illness and trauma.
4. Meditating: Check out article this on Mozambique’s president Chissano. The article states, “Chissano himself is in no doubt that this collective meditation was responsible for the peace and increasing prosperity of the country.”
5. Contemplating: A powerful notion to entertain when there is division and conflict in the world, is “All is Divine and so am I.” Contemplate the idea that “All is love and so am I.” These notions imply that everything has a place in the world and everyone has equal value. There is no hierarchy.
6. Aim to stay neutral: Even in the midst of challenging circumstances, we can choose not to go into embroiled reactivity and judgment. We can accept and trust that the division we are experiencing has a bigger purpose than we can see at the moment.
7. Mindful Dialogue: Begin uncomfortable conversations with friends and family and in the workplace about separation, division and unity. Approach differences with reverent curiosity. As we aim to understand another’s point of view, compassion often follows.
8. Educate yourself about racial inequality, particularly blacks and whites. Here is a very short list to help get you started:
The best way to explain White Male Privilege to a white Privileged Male
Article in Lions Roar called "Waking Up To Whiteness"
Privilege/Class/Social Inequalities Explained in a $100 Race
White Women Black Lives Matter Movement
9. Writing: In expressing ourselves through writing on social media, blogs, letters to congress and even poetry, we can offer solutions and ideas instead of engaging in blame or lashing out with anger or malice.
10. Demonstrating and protesting: Protesting means “to oppose” but it is also a powerful way to stand up for a movement toward unity if you are moved to do so.
Perhaps when we view others we could remember that we are all human, we are all in this together and we are all trying to do the best we can in this mysterious experience we call life. In our essence, there is no difference between us.
In an article by Sharon Salzberg (teacher of Buddhist meditation practices) she states, “Rather than viewing others with fear or contempt, which arises from a belief in separation, we see them as part of who we ourselves are.” At our essence, we are inter-connected and undivided. I imagine we can each find our own way to work with the energy of division to uncover that truth.