The Fourth of July and patriotism stir up my feelings about this country and the way we are headed. I would love to see a more inclusive country that embraces the ideals upon which it was founded. Here’s a lovely video that speaks to that idea.
Can we have freedom in a healthy, evolving, connected world?
I don’t know. This post will explore some of my ideas and questions. I welcome your ideas and feedback. I only know that divisiveness is not working. Maybe freedom is an illusion. Certainly, separateness is an illusion.
This country was founded on the values of freedom and individual rights. We’ve made progress toward those ideals over time, adding women, blacks, gays, disabled, other groups, and immigrants from all over the world to our citizenship. We’re on the verge of true greatness where we learn to embrace everyone as our brother and sister. The current conservative swell in this country and Europe is simply the fearful backlash of people fighting that progress.
Regardless of your political leanings, I honor you and your path to oneness. The more inclusive we can become in our beliefs and actions, the more room we make for an inner freedom that doesn’t need to control others. Much as our countries’ founders fought for independence to gain political and religious freedom, we may have to fight to gain a freedom that balances the paradoxes of independence and unity. The ideals of democracy and our Republic are still very much an experiment that may or may not work in the long-run. Currently, the rich and powerful have twisted and corrupted the system to their benefit. Somehow, we need to find a way to balance individual rights and freedoms with the need to have rules and systems that guide us toward a common future that works for the masses, not just the privileged and powerful.
It may be a new kind of fight, learning to befriend the fearful voices within and without that represent the idea of separateness, which drives us to gain at the expense of other people, animals, plants, and the planet. Science, spiritual leaders, and our hearts clearly understand that this world is connected. What I’m proposing is that the time for living as if we are separate is coming to an end. The “new age” will be based on the principals of oneness. We no longer can ignore the pain of our brothers, sisters, animals, plants, oceans, and planet.
It pains me daily to see the harm we do to each other with our words and actions. And yes, I’m also talking about my progressive friends who feel it serves to routinely call out the behavior of people they disagree with like our President. We must find a way to hold the left and right together in oneness. One country, one human race, one family of beings, one world.
Can we find our individual freedom in oneness? Or maybe the idea of freedom is what we need to surrender. Maybe in oneness, there is no individual freedom. Maybe to survive on this planet, we need to surrender the idea that we can do whatever we want and ignore the consequences of our words and actions on other people and creatures. I’ve had spiritual friends tell me to “own my shit” after saying or doing something very hurtful. This is the same shit that was stirred up by their words and actions. They talk as if their behavior has no connection to me. That my feelings and responses occur in a vacuum. There is no vacuum. There is no magic trash shoot that recycles all the pollution we emit. Everything we say and do affects others on this planet.
On a related note, Michael of Embracing Forever wrote this deeply thoughtful post on the generosity of understanding and defenselessness as a path to unity. Michael talks about how difficult it is for most of us to give up our sacred beliefs like the idea of separateness and the consequent need to protect ourself from others. And yet by doing so, we might bridge the gap of divisiveness that keeps us locked in us versus them thinking. If we learn to understand and embrace everyone as our relative, we may find beautiful new ways of living together.
Maybe love is the only road to safety. The road where all of us live in compassion and awareness of how we impact each other and the planet. Maybe we need a new vision big and bold enough to both include and inspire all people. I believe the time to fight each other in the name of tribes is over. I’ll gladly sacrifice my freedom in the name of love. Would you?
PS. I welcome your comments and don’t pretend to have all the answers. This idea of needing to choose freedom or unity may be a false choice. Maybe we can have both. I just know divisiveness is not working.