Monday, April 9, 2012


“Oneness [both within and without] is not a belief,” Dr. Jack Kornfeld says, “it is a reality. We are physically interconnected. The air we breathe is circulated from the trees around us, the salt water in our bloodstream comes from the clouds and rivers that rise out of the ocean; we are physically part of the cycling of the elements. In the same way,” we couldn’t survive without other people to grow our food, take care of us when we’re sick, pick-up the garbage, generate the electricity. To think that “we are somehow separate and free of dependence on others is one of the illnesses of modern times, one of the greatest causes of suffering, [bringing] environmental desecration, loneliness, and isolation.”

And, similarly, we are connected within, especially to our darker emotions. Western culture prefers to cut-off, deny and project – as in ‘It wasn’t me. I’m innocent; those are the bad guys’- our darker emotions. They scare us. We’re uncomfortable with them. But they are nonetheless part of us. If we knew that when we run away from something like our fear and anger, projecting it onto other people and things, such as the Communists and now Muslims, that not only does it follow us, but grows darker and stronger. If we knew this, would we still run from them and project them? Or would we embrace them and take responsibility for them?

Our culture prefers to look outside for the source of its problems; a behavior is based on a misunderstanding of how things work. When we become good learners and turn toward that which is difficult and frightening, taking responsibility for it, it brings dignity and courage, teaching us to live wise, compassionate lives. Our very difficulties can become the places where our hearts grow compassionate and wise; the place from which we are able to contribute to a world that works for everyone and everything.

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