It has taken thousands of years of human existence here in samsara to begin to realize that hatred, prejudice, and a predisposition towards violent responses is in a large part the result of childhood conditioning. If one is raised to accept certain elements as normal and correct, one will accept and embrace those elements throughout their lives as central truth. A child that faces constant beatings and abuse that begins before their earliest age of comprehension will naturally assume this is normal and correct, leading that child to grow up accepting beatings and abuse as well as doling them out. Without being essentially deprogrammed and taught a different way of reacting to situations, the child develops into a human being that sees nothing wrong with beating someone into submission, and may in fact have a difficult time understanding that there is anything wrong with doing so.
Although we are beginning to understand certain behaviors and attitudes that lead towards negative behaviors towards others and society as a whole, we continue to react with our own conditioning towards rejecting these people because of their behaviors, and are often driven to seek to punish them in ways that merely reinforce their behavior. One who beats another person needs to be beaten in return. A killer needs to be killed. Those who commit offenses need to be locked up along with others whose behaviors are equally unacceptable. These sorts of responses to a person whose behavior and actions are seen as being outside what the collective accepts as "right" merely reinforce the conditioning these people have received. In the end we help no one, and condemn many of our brothers and sisters by reinforcing their conditioning instead of working to change it. We make our social constructs more important than the lives of the individual, which we cannot be faulted for, as this is part of our conditioning as well.
The Heaven Dynamic is based on a willing sacrifice of the self for the good of others. The Samsara Dynamic focuses on preservation of the self at the expense of others. There is a very big gap between how we view others and ourselves. Here we are conditioned to accept as core truth that preservation of societal constructs such as laws and nations is more important that preservation of the individual. Here we are conditioned to accept as core truth that if someone does us wrong, we must seek to avenge ourselves, and if they do another wrong, the wronged must be avenged by "justice being served," a conditioned core truth that is generally little more than sanctioned retribution, which rather than stemming negative behavior works to reinforce it. The person who believes himself right in beating another human being to death may appall us, but we only reinforce his personal belief system when our response is to beat him to death in return. We send such persons to prisons, which our core conditioning teaches us is necessary, and surround them with like-minded persons who will reinforce their belief system and enhance it instead of seeking to surround them with loving, nurturing persons who might help them learn more positive ways to interact with others.
If you've ever heard an angry, short-tempered man tell you they were beaten by their parents when they did wrong and they "turned out okay," you can begin to understand.
If you do not accept that each person has their own individual reality they negotiate within a larger collective reality, this may make no sense to you. Despite Western Civilization’s claims of enlightenment, our self-righteousness blinds us. We rail against those who commit large-scale murder and war for political reasons and then do the same in response. This sense of self-righteousness blinds us to the absurdities present in our culture, such as the one I saw recently when a rap music star went on about poverty and suffering in his old hood while he himself was decked out in copious amounts of gold jewelry and driving a car that likely cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars when all was said and done. For what he had spent on self-serving bling, he could have done a great deal to alleviate the poverty and suffering he was screaming about. And yet, our conditioning teaches us not to see this. We are taught that we have a "right" to personal excess when our personal income allows for it. We are conditioned to believe one can earn the right to self-serving excess. This is why no one sees the absurdity of multi-millionaires crying about how their fortunes must be protected against those who would utilize part of their excess to alleviate the suffering of those who have little.
How does one change this mindset that conditions us to believe people born into poverty deserve to live in that poverty and those born into excess deserve that excess? It is born of the societal conditioning we begin to receive at the earliest age and that continues throughout one’s lifetime. Once you are taught something is true, and conditioned to believe in that truth, it is very difficult to find a path of change. There are very few who actively believe and accept that the truly enlightened path is one where an individual only takes what that individual needs rather than driving towards a goal of wealth and privilege. A culture of money that gives its highest respect to those who have lots of it only compounds the problem. There is a finite amount of resources available to us as a whole and if one person takes too much, another will naturally have too little, and the only way to balance the equation and eliminate the suffering and poverty of those who go without basic needs and what is required to maintain their dignity in a highly judgmental society is for us each to only take what we need instead of embracing the drive to accumulate wealth and resources.
It requires a basic and fundamental change in perception from self-preservation to self-sacrifice for the good of others. This was the basic message of the Nazarene some two thousand years ago and mirrors the message of the great prophets of other religions with millions of followers who, across the board, seem to ignore this core message in favor of squabbling over particulars. This message has been so blanketed in perverted translations of the teachings of these prophets, translations that find ways to justify hate and retribution, that it was lost to me until I was given my own message to translate and understand.
There is great difficult in teaching a message that runs contrary to the indoctrination one receives in a collective. In a culture where admitting you are wrong is seen as a sign of weakness, change is even more difficult. When one is convinced of their righteousness, then any response to those who do not accept that righteousness can be seen as appropriate. It is by this path that one is unable to comprehend that beating a man for beating another man is fundamentally absurd and only continues the cycle of negative human interactions. Instead of striking down those who have wronged or offended you, embrace them and invite them for dinner. Punishing someone because they punished someone else who, within their personal reality, did wrong to them, does not resolve the human dilemma. It reinforces it.
Our collective conditioning teaches us that societally approved retribution, violence and hate is fully acceptable while individually sought retribution, violence and hate is not. This is a mixed message so deeply scrawled into our collective consciousness that I believe it is the root cause of the continuing cycles of negative human interaction. Punishment, imprisonment and execution have been shown over hundreds of years to be efforts that have failed in every conceivable way to control negative human interaction, and yet we cling to them as necessary evils to maintain order while denouncing evil from every other platform. To believe we have a right to do evil unto our brothers and sisters because they have done evil unto others undermines the entire reasoning behind it.
Our methods for dealing with issues on the political front have not been much better. On one side there are those who vehemently fight against progressive change while the other side pushes for sudden change without any thought to the potential fallout. Lingering racism against those of African descent in America has more to do with the sudden and politically motivated drive to free human beings from slavery without any real thought to how human beings would be impacted by sudden, unplanned freedom and the hatred that would accompany it. People must be prepared to accept gradual change and will very often reject sudden and radical change. The cause of World War II was the punitive measures taken against Germany following World War I, which created the conditions under which an angry and dispossessed populace would rally behind someone like Hitler. A crusade is always righteous and therefore the residual effects cannot be related to the crusade itself. We fail to see it is we who create our own enemies and our own monsters.
As a human being, I am far from perfect, and as such I am committed to remaining here in samsara to resolve my own frustrations and weaknesses. At times I am prone to frustration that results in outbursts of anger, which at those times make me no better than governmental leaders who work to make hatred national policy or those who work to make personal preferences into law. At the heart there is no real difference between those who stir up an issue like immigration in order to enflame passions and awaken dormant racism and those who crusade so mightily against alcohol and smoking that children become convinced anyone who smokes or drinks is less of a person than one who doesn’t. Whenever you target a group of people for any reason, making their actions or activities the subject of derision, you are working to create hatred. I want no part of it, but yes, I stumble, and we all must be willing to admit that we do or we will never find the path again.
The key may be with understanding the difference between collective reality and individual reality. The person who is only exposed to violence as a way to deal with problems will come to believe that violence is the only way to deal with problems. They must be shown and taught that there are other options without judging them for what they have done in the past. And they must always be options, for there is no One Truth. We must learn to forgive and accept, to the point where we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for others rather than embracing righteousness and convincing ourselves that we are right, they are wrong, and therefore we are somehow superior to them.
We are all inferior. We are human. We are always wrong when we judge another. We are always right when we accept that our brothers and sisters are equally right. It is just a case of accepting them as they are and allowing them to learn a different approach without first condemning them and putting them in a defensive position. We are all independent and unique individual universes. Some of our stars don’t shine as bright and some of our planets move in a wobbly rotation. Working together we can come to a greater understanding and find the balance within a collective reality that accepts personal reality as valid and rejects the idea that one person’s truth is superior to that of another.
I believe I am always wrong and you are always right. That statement is far more complicated than it sounds. It is my truth. I have seen the path. It is long and difficult, but a journey started never truly ends. There is too much to be done and miles to go before we sleep.
I always think in threes
It is a blessing and a curse
This completes the trilogy:
The Heaven Dynamic: Leading by Example
The Heaven Dynamic: Solo Artists and Choral Integrity
The Heaven Dynamic: Conditioned to Accept Less