Why would we want to teach our children that differences cause problems rather than differences are part of the richness of life? Anyone who thinks that they are superior to another because of their religion, race, beliefs, ethnicity or any criteria that could be named, well, then they are going to create a whole bunch of problems.
These kinds of beliefs create a vicious cycle of egoic conflict that ends up destroying lives and perverting the beauty of the human spirit, which is only known when we choose to live according to heart. These types of conflicts NEVER produce joy, except for when the opposition has been defeated in some way or another. Then, the joy depends on destruction; this is a blatantly false joy, a perverted joy, a joy of which I want no part. Step out of the vicious cycle, my friend.
What is a direction in which to walk? The way your heart points you. Hearts do not direct destruction. Hearts do want us to practice and know the benefits of true joy. We must learn to discern the difference between heart and ego, and a path that leads to destruction is not a heart-path. Kind of like a prime directive. So, let me turn to a story of joy from my childhood.
I went to a school only two blocks away from our apartment, and it was a throwback to the past — a small white, wooden clapboard building with maybe five rooms and a small auditorium — the Dunnica Avenue School. Students only went through the second grade there. I didn’t make it through the second grade.
Why? Because one wintry, blizzardy December day when we — all three grade levels of kindergarten, first, and second grades — were practicing for our Christmas program, a little first grader ran into the auditorium while we were belting out “Joy to the World,” and she yelled at a volume that belied her little frame: “Get out! Get out! The janitor said the boiler exploded and everybody get out. The school’s on fire. Get out!”
What was even more remarkable was her accent. I will be honest here: I don’t know if her name was Evonne or Lavonne. I know now that in all likelihood, she was Evonne. It’s just that they were twins, and in my second grade mind, I would get confused, because the names rhymed and they were twins — one a boy and one a girl. I thought twins were supposed to be identical. The one saving grace was that I was friends with their brother Jerome, who was in my grade. And, by the way, although this was not the grounds of my confusion, they were African American. Even this memory is making me smile, giving me joy, especially because Jerome thought it was funny I didn’t know that twins could be different.
I remember one time on the playground, some kid was picking on one of the twins, and he intervened. I can’t remember the words, just the scene. I followed him when he ran over to them. It was over quickly, but I asked what was wrong. He said the kid was being mean because they were “colored.” I didn’t understand. I vaguely recall how he touched his hand to his arm and rubbed his skin. It puzzled me. I really never even thought about it. We were just friends. I must have been aware that he was black, but I had absolutely no cognitive process that informed me that he was different in essential qualities of humanity.
When I got home from school that day, I remember feeling embarrassed asking my mom about the “colored” people, embarrassed because I somehow sensed from Jerome that it was degrading, and Jerome was a friend. My mom explained in her gentle, accepting way that some people were just mean and that Jerome and his family were just as good as anyone else. That satisfied me; I had seen a mean kid that day.
Returning to the fire incident, which occurred well after the playground problem, when Evonne came in excitedly screaming, it just struck me that she didn’t sound like she usually did. She had, as I know now, shifted register — no filters, no cultural acceptability, just pure fright and care for the rest of her school. Why didn’t she speak like that all the time?
Evonne didn’t because she had sensed and experienced meanness, simply because of cultural differences, including speech patterns. It’s more than skin color.
And here’s my big point: innocent little kids don’t know the difference. The energies and behaviors of adults inform young minds on a subconscious level, and when the learning is negative, untold and unneeded destruction occurs. I don’t care who you are, what your skin color or religion is, or why any of that even matters to you, but if you teach kids directly or indirectly that physical, ideological, or ethnic differences merit oppression or death and destruction, well, then, my friend, your logic is marred and your heart is ignored.
You see, no matter which of those things you believe, I could be a friend to you, I could talk about it with you, I could tell you the way I feel, but the second you hate me because of that, you ARE NOT following your heart, you ARE NOT seeking joy. You are, however, spreading hatred, discord, strife, destruction — no matter how absolutely right you believe you are. In this one area of creating those negative factors of misery in this world, I will tell you that YOU ARE WRONG.
I would ask you what students used to ask me in the classroom: “Why do we have to learn this stuff?” I know that Jerome, Evonne, Lavonne, and I wish that we never had to learn a lesson like this at school. Joy, my friends, that results from awakening to self and living in the fellowship of the heart is the biggest lesson that can be learned in any school, any environment, anywhere, anytime in this mortal life. No matter if it’s black, white, Asian, Native American — just anyone — if you teach and cater to the egoic chasms that have been dug by the hatred of men, then YOU ARE WRONG.
No, don’t tell me I have to choose a side or I am weak if I don’t take a stand. Are you kidding me? I have taken a stand, and it is that the primary reason we are here is to come to know self, follow our hearts, and connect in love and peace with others to keep moving forward in the growth of our race. That is my side — not any “matters” movement, not any religious stand, not any political platform — nothing that has been constructed by the egos of men will EVER receive a response from me for their demands, except to tell them that THEY ARE WRONG.
Walt Whitman’s poem, “A Song of Joys:” “O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted! / To be entirely alone with them, to find how much one can stand! / To look strife, torture, prison, popular criticism face to face! / To mount the scaffold, to advance to the muzzles of guns with perfect nonchalance! / To indeed be a God.” HE IS RIGHT!
And that is exactly what we would find if we were entirely, one by one, impractically, impossibly alone with others who are considered enemies: we all have the essence of divinity in us. We can’t be alone with all those who may feel enmity towards us, so let’s just settle the issue in our own minds, now, tonight: we are divine and there is not one human being who is not. Don’t trade off that power and that potential for egoic, useless hatred. The transformation will be grassroots, one by one. Love, love, love. Love finds a way. The only way.
RacismSelf-awarenessPersonal DevelopmentPositive PsychologyLove
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!