This story begins in times before the COVID 19 pandemic when reading about the mass shootings in Indianapolis, Atlanta, Boulder and California I was reminded of a day in 2000 when middle school children told me:
Fear is the root of prejudice and mistrust. This fear causes pain in the heart.
I thought I knew what they meant. I 'd worked for two decades with adults identifying and addressing negative attitudes and behaviors that fuel prejudice. I knew it is latent, surfacing especially in stressful times. However, the children's words disoriented me as they were deeply and simultaneously real and dreamlike. Kind of like they weren't talking about us or me. And if they were, I didn't know what else to do about it. This disorientation is widespread today and it the source of our existential fear.
But, since biblical times, we have heard,
We must change our heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19.
This quote is testimony to the ancient roots of our dilemma.
Still, through time, a light shines on us when some public figure speaks about the responsibility we have to transform the nature of our heart. Meanwhile, the human world continues to writhe in pain and many, in public protests, continue to express their disgust at the extreme social inequalities, the devastating state of the environment, and ultimately Russia's brutal and unjustified war against Ukraine. But the general response remains the same. We continue to carry on business as usual in a world that is driven from the bottom up by the desire for power and money and a culture of celebrity. A polarized world and, therefore, doomed to failure. All these are expressions that, unconsciously, we mistakenly assume compensate for the pain that we carry in our hearts and other significant aspects that we fear we are losing in life. The results remain the same.
No matter how much we politicize these issues, at their root they are all caused by fear and pain that lie behind the shadows in our heart. The pandemic brought us to our knees, but the fear and pain remain unrelenting, as the latest war shows. Spirit communicates that by acknowledging and honoring the pain that we carry in our hearts we surrender the falsely elevated self helping us release emotions from the past and opening the doors of our soul. When this happens we can get in touch with our moral compass, our wisdom and compassion. These are all the spiritual values that we are all desperately searching for. Something that illuminates our choices and actions in the course of our life experience.
When we consciously release emotions that have been hidden in our heart, consequently, we are activating and modeling abilities that respond to the present moment, leaving behind acting with conditioned behaviors and attitudes. This is a new kind of personal responsibility.
This is the way to stop perpetuating one of our most horrendous violent acts of self-destruction, the transmission of our negative traits to our children that robs them of their divine wisdom.
Furthermore, when we make this process an integral part of managing our lives, we reach a state of peaceful and calming presence of mind. This allows us to go beyond our existential fear towards a compassionate and nurturing self capable of providing for others and for the restoration of our mother earth and our social systems.
Copyright © Aura Camacho-Maas – First published in April 2021. All rights reserved.