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Monday, August 21, 2017

When I'm Afraid, I Find Courage in Good-Hearted People

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Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash
I recently read a post by a colleague which touched me deeply.  She wrote that these are chaotic times, and the temptation during chaotic times is to abandon spiritual practices.  
I resonate with that thought, and I remember how numb I felt when the President's recent statement created an equivalency between white supremacist and counter-protestors.  I felt afraid and frozen and my attention strayed from my practice.

I know that when I abandon my practice, I become less effective in creating the change I want to see.  I know that I cannot trust the voice of anger in me, as tempting as it may be.  So I'm doing what I can to acknowledge my feelings, and to stay close to my practice. I do this not to become numb or to hide from the world, but so that I can be filled up, and useful.

Another colleague wrote that when a person professes to believe in oneness, that person becomes a spiritual sentinel, and as such must guard the light, in the sense of not letting it go out inside, and that we are to keep watch and protect kindness and offer support to those long denied it.  That's what I'm doing, keeping watch, speaking up, educating myself, and supporting those who are afraid for their safety.  I have been feeling afraid too, especially for the minorities in my community.  Sometimes it takes moment-by-moment mindfulness to return to an attitude of loving kindness when I feel afraid - so that I don't freeze up.  And, I because I take my courage from good-hearted people who refuse to surrender to hatred, and who inspire me to keep believing in humanity, I am making sure that I keep company with those who lift me up into hope and action.

Once we prepared stamped envelopes, addressed them to leaders in government, and handed them out to our spiritual community to encourage people to express their thoughts in writing about civil rights in our country.   We did that so that we could channel our loving-kindness into productive activities and thwart feelings of helplessness, without telling people what they should write.  We also partner with other organizations which are doing work in the world that gives us hope.  In other words, we are doing our best to stay active, and engaged,  at the same time be true to our spiritual practice.

Ernest Holmes wrote that "my world is recreated by my inner spiritual awareness of the action of Spirit in my life."  He advised us to acknowledge chaotic times for what they are, but at the same time to affirm that there is no necessity for their continuation.  To me, that means keeping my eye on Good and being determined not to succumb to destructive emotions.

Edward Viljoen

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