Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Can we talk straight for a minute?

There are a lot of trends these days relating to fear, even more as we traverse into the darker days and the cold winter nights.

People have been known to fear a lot of things:

Clowns. Spiders. Ghosts. Change. Differences.Truth. Bridges. Airplanes. Failure. Falling.

The unfortunate byproduct of society and fear is that our fears of the abstract and intangible: Change, Differences, Truth, Failure -- that fear brings out the worst in humanity. It shelters us from the reality that we are all living on the same planet and it would benefit us all to try and set down our fears.

The most alarming and destructive fear I am witnessing, that we are all witnessing and perhaps participating in, is the fear of those who are different.  It seems in the United States, our political race, our entire political system and climate has become a fight amongst us all, based in fear. 

Some of us may say that we fear nothing, but the anger, hate and vitriol that is viral, and the candidacies that have stemmed from them show us that underneath that anger, that hate, that disgust... it's all fear. Fear of change. Fear of truth. Fear of difference. Fear of loss. Fear of failure. Fear of admitting that we are wrong.  The collective angst of our nation and even within our world is all operating on that one terrifying and controlling emotion.  Fighting, flying or freezing, we are all seizing in the face of collective societal change.

In doing so, we are allowing our fears to control our nation, our world, our future. WE are contemplating some bad choices that we cannot seem to back away from because we have gone too far.

I digress.

I want to talk about the fear that I am seeing, the fear that I have studied as part of my educational journey. Fear of differences. Whether that is cultural, intellectual, political, or ideology.

Can we talk a little bit about religion?
There are far too many people fighting over God and what they say he is, and what his word is, when we have lost sight of the collective reasoning that we all share the planet.

If you believe man is the creation of God... why are you so bent on hating or fearing the person who defines their relationship with God differently?

I have seen this meme going around, where a mother refuses to allow her child to participate in a lesson that includes education about a religion that is not Christian. She is irate that Christianity is not taught in schools, but there one lesson in the educational curriculum  that has included the Quran and teaching about Muslims.

The problem is, this lesson pointed out general information about Islam without introducing fear or bias. There was no indoctrination for extremism, or hate. That mother was within her rights to refuse to have her daughter participate in the lesson, but it was not a lesson that was forcing a religion at the hands of the state, it was an opportunity to inform a child about something they may not know or understand.

Does that mean that teaching that lesson would be asking school children to sympathize with terrorists who attribute their religion to Islam? No. It does not. What that lesson was, was an opportunity to begin a discussion at home, and to minimize the fear of a different culture religion.

Yet, that  same fear has carried on and perpetuated the agenda of the extremists far better than any schoolbook lesson in the United States could. You see, the looming threat of a terror group, under any name, is made larger when we embrace fear and allow that fear to fester into hatred.

What many Americans do not realize is that by ignoring the similarities and ignoring an opportunity to be educated or shown a different perspective, we are allowing ourselves to become intolerant, hate ridden, and are pushing into the same territory of thought and ideology as the exact groups we claim to oppose.

When we fight over differences in religion, and a God, by any name, we lose sight of our human connection, and the world we share. We allow fear to distract us from what connects us.

It seems counterintuitive, to fight over religion, which is supposed to be a community builder... but only if you're like us, right?

There's a saying that goes, "Believe in nothing and you'll fall for anything."

But when one holds so tight to one's beliefs that it blocks one's abilities to see one another on a human level, as brothers and sisters on a shared planet; when we seek to eradicate those who are not like us, believers and non-believers alike, we are not saved, we are not holy, we are not vindicated, we are not enlightened, we are not being honest.

We are being egotistical.

 When we, as a human race, enslave ourselves to the collective ego of what our chosen religion (or atheism ) or belief is, while choosing to to hate or mistrust others because of difference of opinion or religion-- rather than seeking common ground, we are only ensuring self destruction.

That is exactly the goal of ANY extremist group --to cause confusion, fear, mayhem, destruction, and eradication of humanity that is dissimilar from the ones they know, the ones they like, the ones they are a part of.

Sound familiar?

To all who are believers: Pray how you want to pray. Or don't. But isn't the point of prayer or meditation to surrender oneself to the collective or higher power? What if that collective or higher power just wants you to calm the heck down and love your neighbor?

What if that collective power just wants you to set aside your ego and your possessions or your thirst for money to be a better human being?

What then?

Who is your God then? What is your higher power?

What if we have allowed fear to become a guiding light? What if our collective consciousness has been blocked by the fear masks of hate, prejudice, power-mongering, the desire to win, the desire to be RIGHT?

That's not God, that's not collective consciousness, that's not humanity. That's not, "surrendering to the power or prayer." That's not "Namaste'." That's not "Letting Go and Letting God."  That's not, "Inshallah ."

That's ego. That's fear. 

Isn't it time we stopped being afraid?