Conflict is rising throughout the world.
Our beliefs about people with whom we disagree cause us to easily distrust and dismiss them. In the heat of passion, these beliefs can appear completely rational, solid, and unchanging.
We may overlook the fact that as little children, we didn’t see others as different from ourselves; we didn’t see us and them. And even as adults, in spite of our ideological leanings, most of us will wince when we see a fellow being in pain. This instinctive response points to our shared humanity and deep-rooted connection.
We are changeable beings.
The current state of world affairs demands that we now reconnect to our fundamental human nature of being open, and having a balanced mind in our relationships with each other.
The benefits of being equanimous are: you will be happier and more peaceful; your relationships will be more harmonious; you will be healthier and more resilient in stressful situations.
When each person lives from this empowered peaceful part of his or herself, we will live in a world with greater goodwill in our relationships.
The following contemplation is especially effective in uncovering unconscious belief patterns that influence our interactions.
This meditation clarifies the circumstantial and constantly changing nature of our relationships, showing the fluid transition of friends to enemies, strangers to friends, and enemies to friends. Most importantly, it reminds us that our emotions influence our perspective, and that it is only in our minds that they are permanently friend, stranger, or enemy, for e.g. your enemy is someone else's best friend, your friend is a stranger to someone else and so on.
We are multifaceted and fluid beings who can respond to changing circumstances. The story of Christian Piccolino who transformed from a Neo Nazi to befriending Blacks exemplifies this kind of radical change. His story gives us hope for a healthier happier world.
As we come out of the election campaign and enter the holiday season, when you are next interacting with any of these people, keep in mind the takeaways from your reflection.
May our balanced thinking honor the dignity of each being and connect us to our own humanity.