“We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”—Bernice Johnson Reagon, Sweet Honey in the Rock
The grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, weighs heavily on the national conscience. Regardless of the specifics of this case, it’s a story that has repeated itself, with variations, countless times in this nation’s history. Even though today we finally have an African American president, the daily lives of people of color continue to be defined by racism, violence, and injustice. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of an equal, just society has not been realized.
Yes, we have evolved in many ways, but the tipping point that would shift momentum toward completely ending separation and “otherness” has yet to be reached. It gets down to the fact that people carry silent preconceptions about other people based on race, sex, age, etc. all the time, even if they don’t believe they do. Racism and all the other “isms” have permeated our collective unconscious mindset and inform how people see and act in the world. What needs to occur is a radical awakening and heart opening into conscious awareness that at the level of our souls, there is no difference between any of us. We are one. Our hearts and souls need to supersede the collective mindset.
How does this happen? Can it happen? I believe if ever there was a time in which it could occur, it is now, when global change and transformation are rocking our planet. It’s up to us to remember the dream of freedom and justice for all and live it. To speak out, act up, and occupy our lives with radical love for all people everywhere. The truth is that there is no “other.” We are one consciousness living the illusion that we are separate. Our minds tell us we are individuals, alone, pitted against everyone else for survival. Our hearts and souls see only oneness, only Being that takes a multiplicity of physical forms.
The “costumes” we wear in our lifetimes are temporary. Beneath our transient skin color, gender, and physicality is an unbroken stream of consciousness that fills all living creatures equally. Whether you call it Spirit, Source, God, or infinite Intelligence, something beyond physical form ties us all together on this Earth. It is this living spirit within that moves us to commit “random acts of kindness” and to march in the streets for human rights, as 1,400 peaceful protesters did in Boston (and many other cities) last night. When our hearts are fully open, it becomes impossible to see another human being as separate from us. The world becomes a mirror, and we see our soul’s reflection in everyone we encounter.
This Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful for the miraculous gift of sharing this world with so many other extraordinarily diverse, yet infinitely similar human reflections. Let’s end all Fergusons by making “love your neighbor as yourself” a reality in our lives. Love everyone, even those you think you disagree with. Sound impossible? Think you can’t do anything to change the status quo? Don’t think, just love, radically, one person at a time. True lasting freedom and justice arises from the love that connects every human heart.