We seem to all be seeing in some form or another that the old ways aren’t working anymore. We have limited effect on those around us and even more limited effect on those people or institutions that are more removed from us, unlike the days when even sitting in a barber’s chair or on our front porch could spread information, affect someone or make a change.

Perhaps this growing powerlessness is really not a loss but an opportunity. Perhaps we are being shown that the only way to change things for the better is to change ourselves for the better, act by act, decision by decision. While we have been conditioned to think that we are too small to make a big difference, to create a better world or perhaps to save this one from all the damage being done economically, environmentally and politically, we need to drop that old paradigm and embrace a new one – one that calls for change from the inside out.

We have all heard these biblical words, “As above, so below; as below, so above.” Yet we don’t live it, and if there were ever a time to change that, it is now as we experience chaos and a growing ugliness all around us.

In truth, we have no power over anything but ourselves, making self-examination a wonderful place to start in transforming our world. If we are duplicitous, how can we fault the world for reflecting that back to us? If we are combative, how can we expect a more peaceful world? Once again, the Bible summed it up: “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” Until we ourselves are perfect, let’s get off the backs of our fellow beings on this planet and put our full attention on perfecting ourselves so we better reflect the spiritual self inside of our physical self.

Is it really any of our business if someone uses drugs, prescription or not, to ease physical or psychological pain? Is it our job to condemn people of other colors, countries, parties, religions, customs or practices? The divine mandate to love one another seems to contradict that.

How have we traveled so far from our core beings and core teachings at a time when we most need to simplify our way-too-complex lives? Would it be too far of a stretch to believe that this continuous encouragement to portray others as the enemy rather than as our brothers and sisters is not an accident but an intentional ploy by political entities to embed rather than remove unnecessary chaos from society?

Here’s the challenge: Let’s turn our attention to ourselves, knowing that in raising our own goodness, we lift the vibration of the planet as a whole. Let’s pay attention to our thoughts, our feelings, our actions and reactions to anything and everything that crosses our paths for just one day to see what kind of human beings we are. Do we gossip or praise, forgive or punish, bless or condemn?

Are we all too willing to act as judge and jury when someone decides to have an abortion, sell or take illegal drugs, speak out against their government, or act in any way that raises a strong sense of disapproval in us? Again, does the Bible not say, “Judge not lest ye also be judged?” Moral questions are for each of us to answer, not for others to answer for us.

The irony is that those most steeped in the trappings of Christianity are often the most likely to act in ways that are expressly condemned by the founder of Christianity. Just think of how much more smoothly life would go for millions if we were to live out the directives in our holiest book and refrain from judgment, choosing instead to do the hard work of perfecting ourselves and thereby uplifting all those around us.

We each have our own path to follow in this lifetime. We are each born into our own unique circumstances. Some have lives of ease; others of hardship. Some are born into poverty; others into wealth. Some are people of color; others are white. Some are male, some female. No two lives are the same. Who then are we to speak for others?

The challenge is to get out of our heads and into our hearts, to replace the drumbeat of intolerance, judgment and cruelty with the compassion of our soul. Studies have shown that humans are born compassionate, but we have allowed it to be beaten out of us by the incessant lie of bad choices or personal responsibility versus plain old circumstances not of our making. It’s not too late to re-examine whether we have bought into this distortion of the human spirit.

 

Marianne Stanley is a former resident of Houma.