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I went down a troubling social media rabbit hole the other day.
Shocker, I know.
You know the kind, where you’re somehow compelled to read the lengthy comment thread on a seemingly benign post, and suddenly are bearing witness to the most virulent, insulting, and offensive dialogue, that leaves you wondering (once again) when it became popular (and acceptable?!) to be so aggressively self-righteous and mean?
But what I was most interested to notice, and not for the first time, was the impact of this dialogue on my own energy and heart.
As I tuned into the violent undertones of some of these comments in the thread, I noticed an anxiety creeping in.
The divisiveness felt contagious, and poisonous within me. It unsettled and unnerved me. It hurt my heart. It invoked a feeling of weariness and hopelessness.
Polarity is a natural and essential aspect of life, as is the diversity of perspectives that we hold as a people. An argument can even be made for the healthy necessity of fighting as a means toward social, political, and spiritual evolution. Yes.
But there’s something about this continuous, underlying current of divisiveness in our culture and in our world that seems to me to be the greatest epidemic of all.
It seems to be a distracting battle of bickering minds that leads to nothing new and nothing good.
Here’s what’s tricky: when we’re talking about any number of certain human perspectives and behaviors, it’s easy to feel there’s an obvious right and a wrong way.
Depending on where we personally stand on any given topic, it’s easy to feel that certain other perspectives are dangerous to the whole and so objectively judge-able.
But the thing is, both sides feel this way about the other. Both sides feel the other is the tragically mistaken one, the stupid, gullible menace, the serious problem with our world.
The division that is playing out in our families, our communities, on our global stage, and certainly on our social media stage can only be a reflection of what’s divided within us, within our own hearts and minds and souls. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be appearing. After all, it’s all a mirror of our own self, right?
And so, I find myself praying toward the resolution of all divides within my own self. How can I heal myself of this disease?
What does it take to be whole in a divided world? It starts with belonging to ourselves, finding the way to come home to ourselves, all of ourselves, just as we are.
It starts with taking refuge in that which contains and unifies all the divides within us.
Here in these profoundly divisive times, do we dare to mend the divide within our own hearts—between our love and what we deem unlovable?
Deeper than all the splits I have embodied—awakened and ignorant, lost and found, right and wrong, sick and healthy, sacred and profane, the blamer and the blamed—I’m claimed by the wholeness of my own true love.
I’m claimed by silence, by stillness, by what is before and beyond any divisive thought pattern.
Do we dare call for healing resolution between the judge and the judged, the hate and the hated, the shamer and the shamed within us?
In our willingness to open to the pain of the war within us, to burn in the ache of our inner divides, and to fervently pray for peace, here, in our very own bodies and hearts and minds, we tend to the polarizing divides of our world.
Wherever there is a posture of self-righteous arrogance, or a stance of judgmental superiority, we can guarantee there is a blind spot.
If we are certain that we are right and they are wrong, and we feel all fired up about it, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what we are getting from this stance of “rightness.”
Does it make us feel safer? Does it make us feel powerful? Does it give us a cause or mission to identify with? Do we enjoy the feeling of being “against?” Does it make us feel like we belong to a certain group that is in the “right?”
When we war against others, subtly or blatantly, based upon any position or cause, we are using our life energy to feed the forces that benefit and profit from this polarization.
This is not life-promoting, health-promoting, love-promoting, or peace-promoting. This is not sanity-promoting.
Is this how we want to use our precious attention, our fleeting lifetimes, our words, our gaze—to war with one another? To feed the divides?
Lay down your cause. Your position. Your self-righteous stance. Your surety of knowing. Even if just for a moment.
Lay it down long enough to inquire into what’s even truer, even more present, even fresher and more alive.
Even quieter than any thought about any of it. Even sweeter. Even more supportive. Even closer to what you love.
Where do we meet—all of us—in being? What unifies all divides?
Love—in the form of true compassion and open curiosity—is a healing wonder. It rectifies all the splits that source all the wars, within us and without.
Love is where we meet. Love for ourselves, for our world, and for one another.
Life is where we meet, first and finally.
Be life. Be love.