When you “lose heart,” you become discouraged and lose hope. When you “have heart,” you keep your faith and trust in spite of the odds. We are living at a time in which both of these options present themselves. The shadow side of our collective consciousness in the United States is coming to the fore, and we are seeing people fiercely hanging on to privileges and prejudices as if their lives depended on it. In truth, it is their identities, their egos, that depend on belief systems based in hierarchy and entitlement.
The 1% believe they have earned their place at the top of the heap and that those they have stepped on and profited from in order to get there are losers and leeches. Minorities and immigrants are targeted as threats to an elitist, white-male status quo. The exact opposite of the values of democracy and equal rights that this country is supposedly founded on. Of course, those founders were also white, male, and many were slaveholders, so the underside of American “freedom” has always existed.
When the rest of us look at this scenario, our hearts are tested. Will we lose hope or will we keep our faith that the imbalances will eventually right themselves? To paraphrase (and update) Thomas Paine: these are the times that try human souls. Can generosity, compassion, and loving-kindness eventually prevail in a society like ours where the accumulation and hoarding of monetary wealth and material possessions, as well as the oppression of entire segments of the population, is so widespread? Classism and racism overlay our so-called democratic society, to say nothing of sexism.
Everyone’s consciousness is affected by this skewed worldview. Many with more don’t want to give up what they have in order to assist others who have less. The media promotes consumerism and the lifestyles of the rich and famous, as if these were behaviors to aspire to. The artificially created “need” to buy and keep buying invades our daily lives. Unless we make a conscious decision not to participate. Unless we choose sharing over greed, caring over selfishness, simplicity instead of overconsumption. Unless we choose to live from our hearts and not our conditioning.
All the extremes and polarities are being displayed in full view of the world. The advent of Trumpism as a belligerent, self-aggrandizing approach to life is pervasive. There is an increasingly harsh and ruthless holding on to privilege, often accompanied by hatred of all those who stand up for their rights as equal citizens. Yet, there is a hollowness to these defenders of entitlement. Their hearts seem to be empty, their minds filled with delusions of superiority based on money and power. Appearance is more important than truth. But there is only so long they can maintain that facade. Their extreme behavior is the death rattle of an outdated paradigm, doomed to disappear like the dinosaurs.
Hope for the future lies with those who are, everywhere on this planet, now awakening to a conscious awareness that sees unity and commonality, not separation and divisiveness. People whose lives are lived heartfully and soulfully in deep connection with their fellow beings. Generosity of spirit prevails. You don’t hear as much about these individuals, because the media tends to focus on disaster and destruction instead of imaginative and inspired alternatives to power and elitism. But they/we are out here, and we are not going away.
Even though at times the odds seem overwhelming, we mustn’t lose heart. In having heart, in living heart, we open the heart of the world to greater compassion and caring so that eventually everyone, every soul on this Earth, can step out of separation and live in oneness. A critical mass of love and kindness has the power to shift everything. You never know when even the most recalcitrant of dinosaurs will have a change of heart. In the long run, hate can never “trump” love.