Line of Separation =Me vs You = Us vs Them
Separation = thinking that we are cuter, sexier, smarter, richer, gentler, more religious, more understanding, more … more ... more than whomever out there.
Simple as that.
Why Do We Need Pain to Gow?
Indeed, Why do we need pain to grow?
We are not hardwired like plants.
We do not grow and develop on the inside to produce beautiful, awesome growth on the outside, while basking in the sun and sipping water through our roots.
We, humans, are recalcitrant learners and we only learn through ‘tough love’.
WHAT made me do it?
All our setbacks, traumas and tragedies – as well as all our breakthroughs and moments of euphoria - are karmically tailored-made for each one of us.
These moments kick in at a precise nano second, as per karmic schedule.
The important thing to remember is that, though we tend to focus on the bad guy, the executioner, the same soul-to soul recognition also applies to would-be ‘benefactors’.
On any given day, anywhere on planet Earth, sometimes in front of our own eyes, more often in the news, we become privy to a myriad moments when strangers self-sacrifice in grand and spectacular ways for the benefit of one or more persons unknown to that ‘hero’.
When this hero is asked why /he jumped into the fray, risking his/her own life or possessions, such a person usually replies that they had no idea why they did what they did. They simply had to do it.
And yet, a lot of our angst stems from our fear of being overlooked a.k.a. our fear of being found lacking/unappreciated/dismissed which equates to our fear of NOT being loved - be that in the home, in the work place or in the street.
This cultural angst, too, pushes up into actions we can rarely rationalize.
Guilty As Charged
Though separation happens everywhere in its ugliest forms, for most of us separation is made most graphic on the news. Sometimes it comes in the images of looters in the aftermath of disaster. Sometimes it comes in images of otherwise *nice* people pushing and shoving each other out of the way, trampling each other to grab, to horde, what they think they need to survive – they want it for themselves and for their family – they want it at the expense of someone else's family. It comes in images of bullying and ostracizing.
Separation: favoring one child over another, in the home as in the classroom.
Separation: taking one look at someone and, on face value, deciding we can't possibly "connect", so we actively, if unwittingly, activate the feeling of difference – the feeling of separation.
Separation: thinking we are good and righteous because we care for our loved ones whilst donating to a cause, but shutting down our heart energy as we pass the grungy homeless tucked away in a bus shelter near where we live.
Flavorsome Herbs or Dry Love: our choice to give
An adjunct to Proverbs 15:17 which states: Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it, is a parable given to me by Moriya, my spiritual teacher. It is an adaptation of Erel Segal's interpretation, which offers a great shortcut to understanding universal love and the concept of non-separation.
Once upon a time, there was a rich merchant who wanted to amend his karma by preparing a feast for the local poor. He had a couple of his best ox slaughtered. He despatched some servants to the market and others to find flowers with which to adorn the great hall where he would entertain the wretches. He also brought in a group of fine musicians.
As evening drew near, he surveyed all that he had brought forth and felt puffed up with pride. Only a truly rich man could produce such a feast. Only a truly good man would bother going through so much trouble for the town's wretches.
During the dinner, however, as he looked about the splendour he had bestowed on the wretches, he began to resent the dirty, uncouth folk who had invaded his great hall like an army of rats. His mind began a tally of the money they had cost him.
Why, he thought, I could have gone through the same trouble but invite my dearest friends instead. Or I could have entertained my equals, or even the creditors, whom I need to maintain in high esteem, instead of wasting it all on such hapless creatures who are so cursed by God that they are unable to help even themselves.
And these thoughts created such a disturbance in his mind that, by the end of the dinner, he could no longer stand the sight of these paupers drinking his wine, licking their lips and finding merriment in the sounds of his music.
All of a sudden, he stood up. With sonorous claps of his hands, he muted the musicians. His guards returned the paupers to the streets.
At its simplest interpretation, the moral of this tale is simply that it is preferable to give someone a simple meal, even a dinner of *herbs*, but treat them with LOVE, therefore respect, than to go beyond our comfort zones and resent them for what they stand for which, in the short and long term, can have no other outcome than duplicate resentment on their part.
Giving and Receiving
An added layer of interpretation could focus on those who receive for they, too, obey their own motives. Given the choice between a banquet of sweet meats at the table of a host who will treat them, at best, with polite indifference but from which they will walk away dispirited but full in the stomach or sitting in front of a simple plate of pasta at a table where they will be treated with compassionate respect, which would they choose?
The latter would be the wiser choice, but not everyone is able to choose wisely.
Not everyone's intentions are pure.
And so, there is still more to squeeze out of this parable: On face value, alone, we do not know for sure which of the characters in the parable is the better person.
The banquet-giver seeks love, respect and acceptance by ‘giving to charity.'
The receiver accepts the offerings, but gives nothing in return – nothing tangible, that is.
Although it might be unintentional, what the receiver does for the one who truly wants to give and assist, be that in a financial, artistic, emotional or spiritual area, is give us the opportunity to practice universal love.
In exchange, if such a person were able to accept and replenish their own heart-energy while, themselves, practicing flowing and letting go of the past resentments, to just be in the present-moment, they, too, might find themselves in the position of feeling love and compassion and respect.
It is the search for love through overt acts that are disconnected from pure heart energy that create a type of resentment that can easily turn into hatred.
Political squabbling aside, the international arena is one where we can observe that, generally speaking, financial but mostly impersonal AID to third world nations has not, over the past fifty years, generated much pro-west gratitude and respect although billions and billions of dollar-equivalent, from many countries, have been *donated* to relieve plight-stricken countries.
Karl Marx may have been right when he said that, "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." But, in the spirit of the topic at hand, he totally missed the point when he thought that its fall and the victory of the proletariat alone would yield a society fair to all.
Karl Marx, it is safe to assume, did not factor in the destructive drag of separation and conditional love.