Indignation Abounds

Indignation abounds. Many people are offended by tents pitched on public spaces, by the idea that there could be a free and equitable distribution of food and warm clothing, by the thought that protestors who claim to value sharing and caring over making money might actually operate their Occupy encampment using these ideals, successfully. Police, so heavily militarized and shielded by our nation’s profound fear of terrorism at home, use techniques straight out of their manuals to intimidate, injury, and repress the very populations they are tasked with defending. And all of this is done in the name of society’s indignation.
Why are we so easily disturbed? Why do we look the other way, as our rights and freedoms are trampled underneath the boots of corporate power today, manifesting as law enforcement and debt? What do we fear, such that we demand a return to the status quo, despite its inherent and growing dysfunction? Why can’t we have a dialogue, not a harangue, that points to alternatives and a resolution of issues in ways that serve everyone? Why are we so afraid of the unfortunate people who have no place to call home, who suffer unimaginable terrors and injury due to medical, psychological, or spiritual challenges? Where is our compassion, our caring?
Occupy has no list of demands for one very critical, fundamental reason: the only possible demand is that society change. It would be presumptuous, if we truly wish to have a sharing, compassionate culture that actively facilitates change and human development, to think that a few could mandate the required new rules to establish this paradigm. Our new way of being requires that we listen to others and find our common humanity, that we be willing to give even when it is not easy or comfortable, that we touch the goodness in others that is always there and then speak to that part in our neighbors and friends. Can we reach outside our comfort zone, into the scary future and alternate realities, and find there the needs that every human has: needs of love, security, enough food and water, a chance to be educated and to create, in order to satisfy needs as well as to create for the sheer joy of creating?
Our culture depends on us operating from a place of isolation, from competition, from judgment and domination or victimhood. Many of us don’t have tools that allow us to manage our life in any other way. But there are alternatives: can we instead, to quote Randal Amster:
“… develop and implement practices of mediation, conflict resolution, nonviolent intervention, facilitation, dialogue, and community engagement to address individual behaviors that transgress consensed norms and expectations.” ?
What do these tools have in common? They are about holding a conversation, not an instruction. They guide us to open our minds and our hearts to the bliss we find as we feel our connection with others: with our shared goals and in our ability to grow much faster together than if we grow alone.
We envision a new society; one that relies on sharing and understanding rather than competition and fear. We will endure fits and starts before we find our groove, learn from our mistakes, and begin to craft the culture we want to pass on to our grandchildren. But can we do this any other way? No human before has been faced with such global dysfunction, none has had the tools of instant, global communication and access to mankind’s complete trove of wisdom teachings available, and none has been blessed with the opportunity to craft a new, global consciousness, not just of humanity’s needs, but of the needs of all life on Earth. We have the chance to do what has never been done before. It requires that we step into our voice, and share that voice with all who may listen. Please join the dialogue, and listen well.

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