Staying Open in the Face of Hatred

The past few weeks have been a painful exposé of systemic racism within law enforcement all over the country with the recent publicity of the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. The outcry of citizens demanding police accountability has been met, not only by public support for reform, but also by racist rants on social media condemning the victims.  We've even had the misfortune of seeing an American so fed up he took matters into his own hands and shot several policeman at random. And we saw him blown up in retaliation.

With this backdrop of hostility, fear, rage, and hatred, it's a tall order to take the time to consider openness and growing more accepting. It's tempting in this climate to retreat, reclude, and close off. That seems most safe in these times. There's a scripture in Proverbs 16:25 that says, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death". So many things appear right to us because we're human, but we may be setting ourselves up for death.

Growing in a healthy way (i.e. more peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, etc.) requires letting new information in and evaluating it. When we close off we cannot take in new material, but rather we take in only what adds to the narrative we're stewing in. Sometimes it's good to check ourselves to see if we're setting ourselves up for good decision-making. The Center for Applied Rationality has a useful checklist if you're interested in becoming aware of your own habits.

If you're a person who wants to contribute to the world in a useful way, you might be stuck trying to figure out what you want to do with all this information; how you want to respond. Some react right away and share their thoughts on public platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but you want to add to the conversation in a way that's productive and most valuable. I hear you. I'm there too. 

The anger and hatred that's clogging up my newsfeed on Facebook has served to keep my off the platform for awhile and likely caused me to miss a few items I might have benefitted from hearing; but alas, I have to keep my sanity.

My hope is for whoever reads this, to look at your own thoughts and actions toward your fellow man and choose the behaviors--moment to moment--of the higher self. If the whole world does that we'll all be more like our maker.