April 14, 2010

What would love do?

Posted in Between Us column, Relationships, Spirituality at 1:00 am by dinaheng

Negative words are like a toxin in the environment — the more you hear, the worse you feel. It’s no wonder people dislike reading newspapers or watching newscasts that fixate on polarizing political coverage or constant stories about crime and scandals.

Clearly, the negativity found in most news programs has made Oprah Winfrey the queen of motivational media. She talks to everyone we love to love, everyone we love to hate, and everyone in between — always bringing out their humanity, and reminding us to be our best selves.

What else do we really need to know?

Do we really need to know how many mistresses Tiger Woods had? Or whether his father’s words really make him feel ashamed enough to sanction a commercial aimed at saving a lucrative endorsement?

Does shame truly motivate us to become better people? I think shame can jolt us into realizing that our behaviors do have an impact on others, and it can cause us to hide bad behavior. But it doesn’t make us search our souls like loss and regret do. Until we lose something we truly value, we rarely get serious about doing better.

We’re about to lose the most liberal champion on the Supreme Court when Justice John Paul Stevens retires this summer, and the talk is already couched in terms of partisan potshots. If we really wanted to fill the vacancy with someone who would help the Court better reflect America today, we’d look at this as an opportunity to add a female minority to the bench, rather than see such nominees as being political liabilities.

We don’t need a compromise candidate who can pass muster. We need an inspired choice who will remind us what justice for all really means. Someone whose own heart is truly committed to serving the highest good for everyone.

We’ve gotten so used to the toxic fumes of partisan debate that we’ve lost our way in a  forest of fear. It’s time to start climbing the trees so that we can see from a higher viewpoint, rise to a higher level of consciousness, and let go of judgment. Not only our judgment of others, but our judgment of ourselves.

Inside each of us is an inner critic, born out of the disapproval and criticisms of others. We absorb toxic comments made about us as children, and grow up thinking we are who others have judged us to be. But what would happen if we stopped and tested those beliefs?

Well, if you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice. If you squeeze toxic beliefs out of your consciousness, you’re left with… love. The barometer for what is fair and just in everyone’s mind would shift totally.

Imagine what would happen if our political decisions were made by asking, “What would love have me experience, or do, here?” Rather than by fearing, “Whose vote will I lose if I make what I truly believe is the right decision?”

There is no end to the number of people in the world who need love. The more we understand this, the less toxic the words we use about others will become. For whatever we say about “those people,” we’re really saying about ourselves.


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