- Monica Pickard spent twenty years of her adult life as a child care provider. During that time, with the help of her husband, she raised her son who has been diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delay. She learned to navigate a world that was new to her – the world of Special Needs. She now shares these experiences and the wisdom they taught her, with love and heartfelt compassion for the human condition.
Friday, July 8, 2016
The Only Us vs. Them Battle Worth Fighting
The headlines on July 8, 2016, are horrific:
SNIPERS KILL FIVE DALLAS POLICE, SEVERAL SUSPECTS IN CUSTODY. This grabs our attention. It should.
Also in our headlines today:
SEVEN CHARGED IN LOS ANGELES FOR FIREBOMBING BLACK HOMES.
FIVE ARRESTED IN LOUISIANA AFTER AUTISTIC WOMAN FOUND IN BACKYARD CAGE.
SUICIDE ATTACK IN BALAD, IRAQ, KILLS DOZENS.
And this regarding my local news:
HARLEM HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER ACCUSED IN A CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE CASE INVOLVING A 15-YEAR-OLD STUDENT HAS PLEADED GUILTY.
All of these events are equally tragic. The events leading up to several of these headlines are equally tragic. Some we hear about; most we do not hear about.
This post is not about any specific tragedy. It is about the prevention of future tragedies. Does your mind spin with the wonder of how future tragedies could possibly be prevented? I know it seems extraordinarily unlikely.
But that belief is the only thing preventing peace.
We look at the news and see the violence getting worse all over the world and in our own communities. Too many people and too many groups are on opposite sides of ideas and ideologies. Our default idea and reactions have always, always, always been to strike back; to hurt the ones who have hurt us; to teach them a lesson; to beat them into submission toward our group’s will. We believe that violence is a good tool to get our point across and to get control of others.
I completely understand this view. Really, I do! This is the view I once espoused myself. It’s in the bible, after all – an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a limb for a limb. This is the standard we go by to ensure justice without vengeance. I get it. The core of our belief rests here, in this idea. How can it be wrong when so many throughout the ages have believed it, lived by it, and even died by it?
Maybe a better question is this: How can it be right when nothing has changed over the course of millennia?
Very few people in this world have ever died for peace, in peace, while striving against all odds for peace.
Many people have died for vengeance, in fear, while striving against all odds for peace.
Take a moment and read that again: Very few people in this world have ever died for peace, in peace, while striving against all odds for peace. Many people have died for vengeance, in fear, while striving against all odds for peace.
Some of the people who have died for peace are easy to remember and I’m sure we each could name several of them. Jesus is at the top of that list for me. It was he who said, “An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.” It was he who died a violent death while remaining peaceful himself. He understood so well what he tried to impart to us. An-eye-for-an-eye type of justice was a huge step forward in the centuries before Jesus walked this earth. Before an-eye-for-an-eye, the system was based on total vengeance. If someone hurt you, it was expected that you and / or your family would destroy that person, their property, their family members, their body, anything and everything you could destroy to show all of your might and instill fear, so that everyone would know that you and your family were not to be messed with. It was a system of deterrence by means of fear.
Ancient societies realized that this fear based system went too far. They adopted a more just system in that if someone injured your eye, you were then allowed to injure their eye. If they injured your limb, you could injure their limb to the same degree that your limb was injured. If they stole your property you were allowed to take the same value of property from them, no more and no less, for justice, not vengeance. It marked an evolution in thinking toward a more peaceful society, a more just society where vengeance was beginning to be seen as barbaric. There had to be some retribution, some way for the injured party to feel like it was made better in the slightest way. It showed the injured party that it mattered that they were hurt. An-eye-for-an-eye system of justice changed the ancient world for the better, as barbaric as that may seem to us today.
Does it really seem that barbaric, though? Our society still utilizes this system today, although not exactly in the same way. We lock people up as punishment, we make them pay damages to their victims, etc. But our hearts still lean toward vengeance. We want the perpetrator to suffer immense pain when they have hurt us or our family. That’s human, certainly. It’s a feeling not too many of us can control from coming into our mind or heart when we have been hurt. It’s a human default reactive thought, even for those who have trained our minds toward peace. We immediately want to take up arms in a battle for justice and for vengeance. I once had a violent torture plan for any person who might severely hurt my precious son.
Then I began to understand Jesus and his strange way of imparting wisdom:
An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn and offer them your left cheek.
What?! That goes against our very nature!
And yet he asked us to. He showed us The Way of Peace.
Non-resistance. Non-reaction. Go with the flow. Keep peace in your mind and in your heart. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. On earth as it is in heaven.
Man, he's good!
He did not just spout words that he was not willing to follow. He was a living, breathing example of peace all throughout his life and throughout the course of his execution.
My Beautiful Friends and Family, there is a battle we must fight. Us vs. Them. It is a battle that every man, woman, and child on this globe must fight like hell to win. It is the one and only battle Jesus tried to teach us to fight. The mind vs. the heart. We each have our own individual ego mind, but at the same time, we each are connected to each other with One Spirit, One Soul. It is our Soul.
ego vs. Soul
This is the one and only battle that matters. Until we each control our own mind in favor of Love and Peace; until we each let Soul guide our hearts away from vengeance, and until we each understand that we cannot control each other through fear, we will continue to see the same headlines. World peace depends on each mind becoming peaceful.
May our One Collective Soul win the battle over each vengeful ego. Amen.
If anything written here touches your heart and speaks Truth to your piece of our Soul, please share this and help to spread world peace.