As I am sure you are, too, I am saddened by the loss of life experienced this week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I am also affected by the thousands of lives lost to violence, neglect, and preventable disease around the world every day – not to mention the human suffering imposed at the hands of others, or by a system/culture/society that is unable to care for those whose suffering it helped create.
Sage Masters call the awareness of others’ pain and sufferings, consciousness. Jesus instructs, “He who has not known himself does not know anything, but he who has known himself has also known the depth of all”, Book of Thomas. I don’t believe my evolution in consciousness, to know myself, has brought me to an awareness of others’ pain and sufferings so that I can live in complacency.
Even complacency rooted in empathy cannot effect change. Complacency is a form of indirect resistance if it comes a place of hopelessness. Indirect resistance to society’s calling to stand for something Higher is a passive aggressive attempt for change, at best.
Yes, I am saddened by how we treat each other; but, I am also hopeful that there will be a day when we will have evolved out of the need to persecute others as a means to relieve our own pain. I have faith that God has a plan. And that plan is us.
Until We, all peoples, stand united in one desire for Good, we will continue to disappoint ourselves. But out of disappointment grows the hope for improvement, the faith that we are not alone, the trust in each other that we can do better, until the final realization that we are Love.
The call to “know thyself” is the primary call we should be taking. Made in the image of the One Source, God the Father, Divine Mind, there is no choice but to (eventually!) know ourselves as That. And that That, is Love.
But don’t take my word for it. This can only be known through experience. Test it for yourself. When you lay down your preconceived ideas about how something will probably happen in any given situation and, instead, show up as Love, what is the result?
Maybe we are in rehearsal for coming to know our True Nature, and these instances of violence are our opportunities to remember that we all have a common goal, to know ourselves as Love, and through that process, glimpse into others’ pain. For it is by seeing through someone’s pain and holding the Highest Truth for another that we can enfold them in the healing Love of God when they are unable to do it for themselves.
Unity’s Lenten theme for this coming First Sunday in Lent is “Altar”. Rev. Kelly Isola’s Affirmation for this coming First Sunday in Lent is, “I remember that prayer does not change God; prayer changes me. Prayer reawakens my awareness of the light and Truth that I Am.” She goes on to write, “The root of the word ‘altar’ means ‘a place of sacrifice.’ . . . An altar is a demonstration of experiences that have crafted our souls, including objects that weave a tapestry of the sacred joys and sufferings we call life.”
Don’t let the lives of those sacrificed in Florida – or anywhere – be in vein. Know thyself.
Toni King, Spiritual Advisor