“We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”—Bernice Johnson Reagon, Sweet Honey in the Rock
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, was shot and killed by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The grand jury decided not to indict the officer. It’s a story that has repeated itself again and again, with variations, in the two years since then, and indeed throughout this nation’s history. The daily lives of people of color continue to be defined by racism, violence, and injustice, and the dream of an equal, just society has not been realized. When will black lives matter enough that the killing stops? In the past week, the violence has been escalating: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Then five police officers shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Guns everywhere that divide us even more. Anger, fear, hatred, grief. How do we bridge this huge chasm that separates us from one another?
Yes, we have evolved and grown 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, and gender 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 we need 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? 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 up, reach out, and fill 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 march in the streets for human rights and to join together in compassion and caring. 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.
It is way beyond time to put down all weapons and at last 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 and Dallases 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.