Question: I look at the news and I see the horror and the suffering happening all over the world and I feel despair. It seems like things are getting worse, not better. I want to do something to help but feel totally helpless.
All of the acts of violence that play out in the world have their origin in the feelings of separation and fear. That sense of separation and fear may manifest as anger, violence, destruction, greed, killing and murder, control, abuse, exploitation… the list goes on and yes, is paraded before us on the daily, rolling news.
In the light of such reports it seems perverse, uncaring and dangerous even to suggest that actually, despite what our eyes and ears tell us, all is well and that underlying the madness is a perfection and peace beyond description. It seems utterly perverse and deluded and wholly inappropriate to suggest such a thing at such times.
And yet, it is only by recognising this peace and perfection that change (inner and outer) can come. Even those who feel motivated to take action to help in such situations are motivated by a vision of this perfection and peace or somehow the perfection and peace within them finds some expression, maybe in the form of aiding the victims of atrocities and so on.
This perfection, this peace is within us all. In fact, it is what we are beyond all labels and identities. It is what unites all life, our common and shared ancestry if you like. When we have forgotten this (as most of us do along the journey of being a person in the world) we feel and experience varying degrees of lack that manifest in different ways from feeling not good enough as a person, un-lovable and so on or from projecting that lack out and seeing it in others, in other nations, belief systems, communities and philosophies.
Whatever way this lack expresses itself within us and in our actions, these extreme acts of violence and horror that we see are expressions of fear and lack where a person or group of people have become so consumed with a story of how things are and how things should be that even a common sense of humanity and goodness have been forgotten or twisted to suit an ideology or belief system.
If we were being dramatic, we could say that on one level these people are living in their own kind of hell and that hell is finding expression in the world. Hell is mythological and symbolic of course of our own immersion in fear and lack.
Question: So, what can I do? If I want to help, what can I do?
Well, specifically that is a question for each person to answer within themselves. It would not be for me to tell a person they must vote for this party or that party, or support this cause or that cause or send this or that. But the healing (or whole-ing) of the felt sense of separation and fear is an inside job, for each of us. When we see for ourselves that we are not in fact separate, that we actually lack nothing in essence then our predominant experience of being alive will be one of wholeness and completion.
We then begin to express that wholeness and completion, that perfection and peace in all of our dealings in the world and with others. Those expressions may take many different and varying forms. For some it may be humanitarian work, or work within their community, for others it may take the form of supporting the work of others in those fields, for some it may be simply expressing this felt and lived sense of wholeness and completion within their own family and friendship circles. Some will write and teach, some will build businesses that benefit the community in which they serve… the possibilities are endless, just as the possibilities for the expressions of lack and fear are endless.
So ultimately there is only one solution and response to the horror of these atrocities we see happening around the world: know for yourself that what you are is already whole, complete and perfect peace – which of course by nature, embraces the imperfect and the tumultuous.
The outworking (and the detail) of that really will take care of itself.