"If you want to understand others,
look into your own heart."
I read this quote this morning in my OA reading and it really struck a chord with me. Recent events in the world are really igniting a lot of controversy and anger amongst the people I'm friends with on Facebook. I see on my newsfeed a lot of posts and articles for and against a lot of different issues such as war, refugees, peace, terrorism, and religion. I, for the most part, stay out of any debates I see going on. I know that participating is not likely to change anyones minds and will just make me feel really awful.
The hard part for me is when I read things that seem cruel and filled with hate for others because they are different. I have a hard time understanding that. My wish is for Universal Love and Acceptance - that I love the way my Higher Power loves. I, being human, often fall sort of that wish, but I do try and I find it hard to understand others not having that same goal.
I know in my heart that I can still love others even if I disagree with their politics, their personal philosophies, their religious convictions, and even their hatred. I don't have to agree with them to love them.
In trying to understand where they are coming from, I need to turn to my own heart and look deep inside myself because there is where I will find the answers. I feel fear, disappointment, dislike, maybe even hatred (though I'm not really sure of that one), joy, love - all these things drive us - well I'll just speak for myself - they drive me to do and say things I'm not always so proud of or so sure of in hindsight. I may make decisions based on one of these feelings and I may even have the best of intentions, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to sometimes hurt others or cause pain. It is scary how I can get so caught up in my visceral reactions to events and feelings that I lash out or try to blame outside myself. I will even often try to take responsibility for things that are so far beyond my control that it doesn't make any sense, but I feel so strongly that someone must take that blame and I have no one else to blame, so I blame myself.
Today, I look inside myself, and see the reflection of others in myself and myself in others. We are not so different. I think we all want the same things, safety, love, acceptance, joy, hope - the crux is that many of us disagree on how to get those things.
I'm saddened by the conflicts that are going on in the world and I'm saddened by the conflicts that are going on on the newsfeeds of my friends on Facebook. I'm saddened by the conflicts that go on inside myself. There is little I can do about the conflicts outside myself, but I can reach out my hand in love and acceptance in spite of our differences and I can work on the conflicts I find within my own heart.
And I can hope that by doing so that I make some small difference in my world.