You can have sex with almost anyone. You meet someone at a bar. There’s physical attraction. You end up in bed. You don’t have to love them. Live with them. Accept their flaws. Help them. Be there for them. Grow with them. Have them see your flaws. You don’t even have to tell them what you didn’t like about the sex and how you would love to improve it. Nor do you have to listen to the tell you what they didn’t like and how you can improve that. No one will infringe on your ego. You don’t have to face infringing on their’s. There’s no relationship. The thing is though, the whole world is one big relationship and if we want to make a change, we will have to learn to make love, both with those close to us and those far away.
In the wake of the Boston marathon disaster I feel compelled to say a few words. Like most people I feel it’s a terrible act. It leaves me completely puzzled to think that anyone would want to go and bomb civilians having a good time with friends and family. That’s what people do in war though – they feel someone has attacked them and their values and so they attack back. Someone killed their family and friends, maybe in a more obvious act of war like a bomb raid to overthrow the President, but they still did it. And then they feel they have the right to bomb back at any time. An eye for an eye.
Obviously I don’t know who committed the crime yesterday. I don’t know why. The only thing I believe I know is that to stop these crimes from happening we have to come together in love. We have to teach each other love and respect. Instead of spending hours talking about how horrid the world is, how horrid the person or people committing that act are, we should stand together and teach love and respect.
If it turns out that the bomber is part of a religion, or of a certain nationality I hope that what we do is not condemn the religion, or nationality and spend hours talking about how bad it all is, but rather go out there as agents of change and talk about love and respect. What it means to love and respect each other.
Similarly, there has been a lot of shootings in schools in America and sometimes I’m compelled to talk about how bad it is and part of me really wants to ban guns, because I don’t think everyone who has them are responsible individuals. However, in Switzerland everyone carries guns and you don’t hear about these problems. Why? Maybe because they were trained to be responsible individuals. Maybe they were taught love and respect? Also bear in mind Switzerland is always neutral in war. Their mentality towards shooting is completely different. They don’t have the eye for an eye thing going on. In the States it appears kids want to kill their bullies, thinking it’s justice. Wouldn’t it be better to teach their bullies respect? Love and respect? But how do you do that if you feel like the underdog? Apparently some people believe it’s through guns. Guns make them the upper dog. It’s a natural reaction, but it’s not a wise one. And it does not teach respect. Just like the kids on the streets screaming “respect me bitch” aren’t teaching anyone to respect them. They are teaching people to fear them. That’s very different.
Imagine this: there’s a convention going on. A convention where people of a certain faith about how life is supposed to be lived have come together. You don’t believe their way is the way to live life. You believe what they do infringe on people’s liberty and happiness, but they can’t see that as it’s the way they have been brought up to believe is the right way. That they are condemned by their society, or God if they live in another way. So you walk in there to try to convince them there is a better way. What do you think will bring you the best reception?
Is it if you walk in there proclaiming that their beliefs and how they live their lives is all wrong?
Is it by understanding their values and beliefs as best you can and explaining through examples from your own life how you have embraced some of their values and learned from them and also how some other values have enhanced your life? Values they might come to benefit from? And maybe how you had to throw out some of your old beliefs and values to be able to embrace the new ones that changed your life around?
If you’ve never faced what it feels like coming to terms with the idea that your way of life is wrong, how can you teach someone else that their way of life is wrong? How can you understand what it feels like to give up your world view? How can you understand what it is like to take on a new world view? How can you teach through the heart, rather than the ego? How can you lead with love, rather than blame?
I believe walking in someone else’ shoes is one of the most powerful things you can do to understand that person and by understanding them and respecting them as a human being, rather than seeing them as a problem, you may, you just may have a chance of introducing them to a new way of life. You can tell a gang leader that gang wars are all wrong, but unless you were brought up in the midst of a gang war, how will you ever understand how that person felt seeing their siblings killed by the opposing gang whilst growing up? You can tell them all you like that killing is wrong and probably they know that too, but they reacted to a situation probably not feeling they had any other way to act. That there was no way out. And by you condemning their reaction as if it was their heart, you won’t get anywhere. Start learning to see the heart beyond their acts and maybe they will start listening to you. Imagine being ten years old and seeing your sister die. What would you do? Say killing is wrong, or pick up a gun to protect yourself?
The reason the Capulets fought the Montagues is because they felt the injustice of previous years. Because they could still remember how someone they loved had taken a blow in a fight, they weren’t willing to instigate peace. They could have peace any moment as they weren’t fighting over land. They could leave each other alone to live their desired lives, but they didn’t want to, because they remembered blood and wanted to take revenge.
If you are to move into a peaceful future you have to forgive the past and leave it in the past. If you are in a relationship with someone and every time you argue the other person brings up an injustice you did in the first year of the relationship, how would you feel? Or if someone rushed into your life and without explanation told you that the way you live is wrong and the way all your ancestors lived is wrong and there is a better way, without paying any kind of respect to your way of life, how would you feel? If someone ran in and robbed your family of their belongings and shot a few and a year later you were told the war is over, the borders are established, let’s forget about the past, how would you feel? It would be hard to teach your sons and daughters to love and respect them, wouldn’t it? But to continue to build peace, that’s exactly what you would have to do. Not respect their bad ways, of course, but respect the new way of peace. Their new way of peace.
Most people feel anger when crime is involved. Anger. Disgust. Sadness. The power lies in moving beyond that and teaching as many people as you can love and respect, so as to prevent the crimes of tomorrow. If we get stuck in the punishment mentality we will forever be like the Capulets and Montagues. You have to get criminals off the streets. Then you have to focus, instead of hatred towards them, love towards the world. It’s like with anything: you have to face the problem, then you have to focus on the solution. If you get stuck on the problem, you will just create more of the problem.
So what is the solution folks? How are we going to come together to stand up for peace, love, understanding and through that understanding respect? How are we going to foster this? What will we talk about with our friends and lovers? What will we tell our children? What will we do to make this world a better place? What will we do to remember the Mandelas and the Gandhis out there? Last night I fell asleep praying for a new Mandela. A person who did not condemn the past but created a brighter tomorrow. A person who didn’t shoot their persecutors, but who taught them love. A person who created true change.
Let’s come together like lovers – let’s kiss each others’ wounds better and heal each other with love and care. Let’s foster trust through our kind actions and willingness to help, rather than condemn. Let’s stand up for love. Let’s stand up for the human in all of us.