I remember quite clearly as a child having a vision of the whole world holding hands. Every single person on the planet, joined, hand-in-hand in a long line (or circle, I suppose) across the earth. (I’m not sure how we’d get around the issue of the oceans, but never mind.) And I thought: ‘That’s all we need to do, to end all these wars, to stop all this violence and hatred toward one another. If everyone would just hold hands, and feel the connection between each and every one of us, we could be at peace.’ (Quite probably this fantasy was inspired by Michael Jackson’s Heal the World, in the video for which I think they do that, although my internet connection is too slow right now for me to check.)
To this day that image comes to my mind occasionally, and my sentiment remains the same. Maybe that is all we need to do.
It sounds naïve, sure. Silly even, you might be thinking. Childish.
But doesn’t a child have the purest, most open, honest and loving perspective on life? Isn’t it through the eyes of a child that we all wish we could see the world (Our world), without the realities of violence, greed, corruption, and human suffering that plague our television screens, newspapers and social media pages daily (or even by the minute nowadays)?
If we all held hands (metaphorically speaking, at least), if we all felt as one, how could we hurt each other?
I think part of the inspiration for this post (and I’m not really sure where I’m going with it yet!) is an article I read earlier by a Healer, Ben Ralston, who I came across on Elephant Journal a month or so ago and have since started following. He posted a link on Facebook earlier to an old article he’d written (here), and it really got me thinking. I’ll sum it up for you, or he will in the directly quoted bits…
The root cause of all the world’s problems (for example “war, abuse, greed, hypocrisy, corruption”) is trauma – trauma that resides in all of us. Our individual and collective traumas are responsible for the devastating crimes against humanity which we see happening today on a desperately depressing level. Trauma is why, as the human race, we are at war with each other, both as nations (just look at what’s happening in Gaza as a devastating, timely example), and as individuals, in our relationships with each other, and sometimes with ourselves (eating disorders and self harm spring to mind).
Where does all this violence come from and how can we stop it? These were questions I asked myself a LOT as a child.
And I really didn’t have the answer. (As much of a dreamer as I was, I did admit that us all holding hands would be logistically tricky.)
I don’t want to rehash Ralston’s article here, but I do urge you to read it as it’s brilliant. He explains in a way that really resonated with me about where all this trauma comes from (it goes back to our basic survival instincts), and how we can all, as individuals, heal ourselves. And if we can all heal ourselves, it follows logically that we, as a species – as humanity – can be healed.
If we can heal the traumas that cause us all to live in fear, and in turn, fight each other to protect our innately programmed basic survival, there would be no need for war, for violence, for hatred, for jealousy, for greed, for corruption, or for anything else which divides us.
In fact there would be no need for prejudice, because there would be no need for class, or any other hierarchical systems for that matter, or even for borders. (Those are my words.) These are his:
“We have the tools to forge a new society, a new earth, a new humanity.
Healing ourselves is the ultimate environmental activism.
It is a political act.
It is an expression of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (truthfulness) and compassion.
Let us heal ourselves and each other.
Let us heal the global heart that is bleeding and crying out for us to stop abusing ourselves.”
I really agree with Ben that we all have the power to heal ourselves. My own little healing story is just one example of that. I feel empowered to say now that which I don’t think I could have even imagined six months ago: that the power of the human body, mind and spirit to heal is incredible.
I really didn’t think it possible to have taken such a 360 turn in my own emotional health and happiness, and to feel it so tangibly, so deeply, that I couldn’t possibly question its authenticity… There are no words really to explain how amazing it feels to have acknowledged, and let go of, so many fears, anxieties and insecurities (caused by trauma) inside me. And don’t get me wrong: this is by no means a closed book; the journey continues. I learn new lessons every day. But I’m listening, and I’m learning. And I’m healing.
Someone asked me an odd question the other week. One evening my friend and I were sitting on the porch of the little wooden bungalow we were staying in in Pai, a small hippy-ish village in Northern Thailand. While chilling in our hammocks and listening to music, an Israeli guy walked by and asked if he could join us. While he rolled a joint, we got chatting. An hour or so later he asked if he could ask us all a question (by this time two other guys had joined us so our little balcony was rather crowded).
‘If you could build any kind of machine in the world, what would it be?’ he asked. I’d just come back from the toilet so I was the last person in the group to answer. I hadn’t heard the others’ responses but they prompted me: ‘time machine, spaceship…etc.’
I thought about it for a moment and then I said: ‘I’d build a machine that we could put all the bad people in the world into and make them good.’
Everyone was pretty impressed with my answer for some reason (maybe they were just really stoned). For me it was obvious though, really. If I had one ‘wish’ or one ‘super power’ (or a machine), of course I would want to find a way to make the world at peace, and for everybody to be happy. (Doesn’t everybody want that?)
But actually, I realised even as I said it that my answer wasn’t quite right. Because I don’t actually believe that people are simply ‘good’ or ‘bad’. And who am I to go round selecting the ‘bad’ ones and putting them into a machine?
What I do believe, and what I think the point of this post is… is that we are all the same. We are one. And, as Ben much more eloquently explained, we all have the power to be ‘good’ and we all have the capacity to love. For that is in fact our natural state – unconditional love. Not war, violence and suffering.
And the best thing is, we don’t need to build a machine, or even to all hold hands (although I still think that would be EPIC!) We all just need to recognise our, and every one else’s innate goodness, then work as individuals, and together, to heal.
My soul honours your soul.
I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides.
I honour the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me.
In sharing these things we are united, we are the same,
We are one.
P.S. You can read more from Ben on Elephant Journal or his own blog, Grounded Spirituality.
I was also going to post the Michael Jackson song here, but it’s too cheesy, even for me. So instead, here’s one from The Beatles to go with the image above which I took at the Beatles ashram in Rishikesh, India, one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I’ve been on this planet. (Although this wasn’t one of the songs the Beatles wrote while staying there in 1968, it’s still quite fitting.)
Peace, love and light x