You might notice a progression…or perhaps a degression…moving along the ways in which distinguish ourselves and the ‘other.’ What’s your go-to ‘other’?
For me, often times the other is meat-eating people.
Sometimes the other is materialistic people and people motivated by material gain.
Sometimes the other is people who doubt Doubt, or who doubt the Goodness of Creation and of Life and of people.
For me, the other has also been people who lift weights in abundance (or maybe i judge it as excessive ;))
The other has also been those who have places to go, people to see, those who are looking for something beyond the present moment.
The other is often times the people who eat quickly, who eat without taking conscious breathes, who eat for short-term taste bud pleasure rather than the long-term fulfillment of a healthy, whole meal.
The other is also the people who allow their space to become cluttered and unorganized.
The other has been people who use drugs as a gateway to higher consciousness, or who encourage people to use drugs as a means to liberate themselves and grow closer to the true nature of reality.
Sometimes, the other is people who glue their eyes to a television screen, enamored by a 2-dimensional projection. The other is people who watch TV, read the newspaper, or even turn on the radio.
For all these others…it is so easy to see myself in each and every one of them. There is no other. Only me 🙂
Hence, all judgments are ultimately self-judgments.
Today i heard someone mention ‘White Privilege’ and immediately felt repelled from the conversation. I’ve been around a person or two who talked about white privilege a fair bit, and ultimately it just seems like a highly disempowering point of focus. It’s kind of like dwelling on the past, or trying to change something you cannot change (which i heard is how some people define ‘worry’). Why think about these things that are beyond our control?
For me, the best way i’ve found, via personal experience, to address overcoming any of the ism’s is to embrace Gandhi’s method and Be the change you want to see in the world. Being the change is the most any of us can do. And if you want to move beyond all ism’s, you can do that. How? Consider people who have done it before, or who at least have been closer than you and i. Think of the example of Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Gandhi, St. Paul, Mother Teresa, St. Francis, Parahamsa Yogananda, Mahavira, Thoreau…how did these people do it? They gave everything away! They surrendered that which kept them separated from people. They let go of money and material fortune in exchange for emotional / mental / spiritual abundance and unconditional love for everyone and everything.
In so many ways, stuff separates us. Money, clothing, food, homes – these things provide us comfort, but at what cost? They comfort us, and then they lead us to think, “Boy, must be tough for all those people outside tonight, cold and hungry, naked and broke.”: And then maybe we feel guilty…like who are we to have these luxuries while others do not?
So, for Peace of Mind, a good prescription is to give stuff away. Simplify your life! Share more of what you have. Give, give, give! And when you find yourself taking, like taking words from a book or taking sound clips from YouTube, contextualize it all in the framework of giving. “I’m learning so i can give more abundantly. I’m listening so i can share more valuable knowledge with more people. This is a short-term investment in the flourishing of this mind/body so that it can better serve the entire universe!” You can contextualize all of your actions in the light of serving the Highest Good of All, and in that light you always experience Peace and the Goodness which is yours 🙂
Just for reflection say, and to return to the title of this post…
Who do you favor?
Family? Friends? Colleagues? Men? Women? The Elderly? The Young? Black People? White People? Jewish People? Christians? Muslims? Hindus? Dogs? Cats? Birds? Pigs? Chickens? Cows? Vegetarians? Meat-Eaters? Vegans? Meditators? Hatha Yogis? Readers? TV Watchers? Movie-goers? Sports fans? Basketball players? Swimmers? Bikers? Drinkers? Athletes? The Clean? The Well-Dressed? The Financially Abundant? The Educated? The Human Race?
All these different ways we can divide people..and likely left out millions of ‘other’ distinctions…alas…the point is there.
The more we favor one over the other, the more we paint a picture of reality that divides us. The more we honor all forms of life equally – animals, insects, humans, and plants oh my! – the more we live in the oneness, and experience the one love and the one peace wherever we are.
The Buddha might have said…Nirvana is seeing all things equally.
Maybe we can all move in that direction. See the saint in the sinner, the sinner in the saint, and the transcendent goodness and essence beyond all labels.
Cheers to freeing ourselves of all those things – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – all of those things that separate us. That we experience the Oneness, the Goodness Always!