On waking from a dream of social destruction and primal violence last night, still held in that world’s thrall and unable to shake the sense that these portents and doom have emerged from the now that is not a dream, I feel sure of nothing but this:
How we treat the most assailed among us now is our personal destiny. If we demean or add to their suffering, we will be demeaned, we will suffer. If we do not do everything in our power to lighten their daily burdens, we will one day carry those burdens alone. If we agree to some parts of our world remaining broken just because we do not seem to be affected by them yet, we break the whole world in the doing, and we will not escape its broken, jagged edges. Gated communities, privileges of any kind, police forces and militaries and corporate greed and the political gamesmanship that appear now to be holding that jaggedness at bay for some and not others? Will turn, as surely as the earth does from day to night, on the privileged and unprivileged alike. No one is immune, no matter how seemingly impregnable a fortress s/he builds to hide in.
I speak not of karma here, for what I am describing is a deeper truth emerging from right now, this moment in time and beyond, as so many are suffering due to the actions and inactions and sheer apathetic willingness of the rest of us to agree to their pain, their exploitation, their illnesses and hunger and lack of any kind as we ourselves move right on—full and seemingly protected and entertained and filling ourselves with all that is good—heady into the shallows of what appears to be our removals from even the suffering that we have caused. Or deepened. Or made inescapable for someone else by our choices.
Nothing can redeem us as individuals or communities unless we can look on all beings alongside as inescapably part of us. Nothing. All one—bar none ever—we will succumb to the same fate as do the most assailed among us. We have moved to a point in human history where everything good is possible, for we have all the tools that we need right now to alleviate suffering for all, but we have also more chances than ever to construct only destruction and swathes of privilege resting on the broken bodies of untold billions, both human and not. But, no matter which paths we choose? Our destinies are inextricably intertwined.
No more will the wealthy get off so easy, while clambering up on the backs or throats of those who have fewer resources. No more will the well-placed be able to secure safety for themselves at the expense of others. Such moves were always temporary anyway, as history itself has demonstrated repeatedly, but the coming cataclysm will test the human species for a single lesson: Can you recognize your oneness with all that exists and act accordingly? Or will you sentence yourself to primal destruction alongside the beings whom you have agreed can be destroyed on your behalf?
Life provides many a lesson, all valuable but some taken more easily to the unruffled heart than others. Few have shaken me to the core. This one feels different. This one splinters all the carefully justified and evidenced reasons for why it is okay to move through the world being okay with using other people and animals or destroying life-giving resources of this planet solely for gain and greed. This one behooves us to take signal care of the whole earth and each other, paying especial attention to those among us who do not have all the privileges we presently do, for our own fates are tied up with theirs and will most surely come to pass, both in time and beyond it.
Yet there is no earthly need to throw ourselves into cataclysm so determinedly. We have all the tools we need to choose otherwise. We are better than our fears and our present greed. We are better than our needs for status and wealth and position. We are better than our soul- and body-wrecking consumptions and waste in a world where so many do without. We have all the love of forever within us—every last one of us, bar none—and it only awaits our slightest glance to become fulsome within and reach out to bless all alongside. We are all one. That is the core lesson. We will learn it. The only question is when, and how much suffering will we agree to cause for others and ourselves on the way? For the planet’s sake, and the sake of all beings alongside us, and for the sake of all humans now and still to come, I pray that we learn it soon.