Many times throughout this past year, I've been reminded of this powerful quote by Martin Luther King Jr., "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." A lot of what I've seen and heard from both sides has felt hateful and dark. It hasn't felt productive, solution-based or light-filled. I sense that a lot of it stems from a place of fear, and fear by it's very nature, breeds anger and hate.
Mindfulness teacher, Jack Kornfield explains it this way, "When our experience is one of pain, hurt, loss, or frustration, our usual habit is to draw back in aversion or strike out in anger, to blame or run away. Like pain, fear is the other common predecessor to anger and hate—fear of loss, of hurt, of embarrassment, of shame, of weakness, of not knowing. When fear arises, anger and aversion function as strategies to help us feel safe, to declare our strength and security. In fact, we actually feel insecure and vulnerable, but we cover this fear and vulnerability with anger and aggression."
Anger, aggression, blame, fear and hate, do not bring forth more light, or ultimately more love. Fear is the opposite of love. In situations like this, It's rare that it's productive or solution oriented. If it's broken, let's quit blaming, pointing fingers, throwing punches, calling names, but instead work toward fixing it. Coming from a place of love and light. Each and every one of us is powerful. Powerful within our own homes and communities and that carries a lot of weight and impact and light.
Many times this past year, I've also reminded myself of what the Dalai Lama said about prayer. He says that praying by itself is not okay, that we need prayer and effort. He said that we can bring our prayers to Jesus or to Buddha or to whomever asking them to solve the world's problems. He believes that they would say...you created them, you fix them. He feels that yes we should pray, but that prayer without action is not okay. We also need to make the effort ourselves to do what it takes to fix the problems that humankind has made. So yes, put it on the altar and then go take action to bring more light and love.
My Pastor put it this way, "When it is pitch dark and you have no bearing, it is just safe and prudent to sit down. But with Jesus that has changed. He brings light. And of course, it takes a while to ‘get used to the light.’ We all have practiced what is called 'learned helplessness.' We sit down in the dark and let someone else deal with it, pray, serve, feed another mouth, or write a Congressperson, for example. Let’s practice, 'learned light sharing' instead of 'learned helplessness.' It takes no effort, no imagination, no gritty boldness, no risk of time and dollar to sit in darkness. Anyone can do that. But the call to share light, move ahead, dream, collaborate, build bridges, share a word - that takes faith. That is an adventure into the light."
It takes faith, it takes practicing "learned light sharing". I invite you to have faith, to adventure more deeply into the light, to shine your light bright and bring with it more love. I invite you to be part of the solution, however that may look for you, to take action to fix the problems humankind has made.
I invite you to remember that you are powerful and that you are enough. I invite you to bring more empathy, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude to the table. To build bridges and not silos. To create unity, not divisiveness. To seek commonality and understand differences. To extend an olive branch.
I would love to hear your feedback on this post. Was this helpful to you this week? Please drop me a comment or send me an email.