Our Collective Darkness

FaceI am a flawed human being. Depending on the context by which you may have personally known or know me, you might even add the adverb deeply, providing a more accurate depiction of my imperfections. Past pain caused through my ignorant  allegiance to these shortcomings positioned me to choose and explore a long, self-inquiring journey, uncovering the realization that I am more than my humanity.

I am an extension of something Divine. This divinity, as me, through me, has never been violated. It seeks only to know more of Its sacred nature and awaits my personal permission to expand through my thoughts, words and deeds. It is the part of me that is infinite potentiality. It parallels the classic Native American wisdom tale:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Like the Native American wisdom tale, my divinity will only expand and envelop my humanity if I feed it. Yet, adding nuance to this tale, I don’t wish to starve one and solely feed the other. I believe both ‘wolves’ continuously exist and serve a purpose. My divinity NEEDS my humanity in order to have a vehicle to express itself on the planet.  My redemption grows in harmony with my continued love of self. When I allow my allegiance to shift from self condemnation to self honoring I have not fooled myself in thinking that I am completely free of the evils of one wolf, I simply know that when those actions of separation arise, I am at choice.  Darkness is inside of everyone. I choose to champion my light. My story is your story. It’s never been two stories. It is simply one universal tale of the entirety of humankind.

As I appropriately create the space to feel the entirety of my feelings around the numbing loss of life from the Orlando shootings, I am held accountable to remember that the wolf within Omar Mateen is also the wolf inside me. I am not different than he is; only my feeding regimen is.

When you choose to love and honor all people, all faiths, all pigments of skin, all orientations, you deliberately feed your divine nature. That divine nature, now given free rent in your human heart, speaks affirmingly of others, listens first to understand and bravely engages in communication with the sole intent to build solution. I learned this option long ago simply because a handful of someone’s were kind and accepting of the flawed me. Yet, even then, learning of it was not enough. I had to become disinterested in my story of pain in order for my story of potentiality to breathe.

Cliché as it may appear; we must begin to love without condition or agenda. We must see others as reflections of ourselves. If the lives of those who were massacred at Pulse in Orlando, FL are to have any positive ripple effect on our flawed collective humanity, then we must tirelessly feed the divine nature that exists within every heart.

I must free myself of the act of blame. I must recognize the starvation of other’s divine nature and tirelessly offer to live the sermon of choice. I must clean my own house instead of criticizing the clutter of another’s misfortune. I must reset my lazy ideology of separation and realize that I am not only my brother’s keeper, I am my brother.