Watching the political maelstrom of late, my reflections on opinions and judgment have been swirling. I can see that when it comes to politics and religion lots of folks have some underlying belief not only that they’re right but that the world (or life as we know it) is somehow threatened by the wrongness of those who disagree. That fear leads to hate and condemnation.
It’s one place where I can see pretty clearly that I can disagree with someone else’s opinion but there’s no reason I need to judge that person as bad or evil. The same for those who hold different religious views. I also see that for most people anyone who disagrees with their opinions–whether it’s Democratic or Republican views, abortion for or against, reincarnation or none, Protestant or Catholic, etc.– is an enemy.
It seems that since the dawn of time people have duked it out over deep seated beliefs and hatred of those who believe differently. And everyone is so convinced of their rightness that they seem unable to see that in the end all that vitriol is the thing that destroys us and threatens life as we know it.
The left thinks of itself as the group that aims for peace but I see just as much hateful conduct from the left as from the right. A lot of lip service is paid to Gandhi and Martin Luther King but few actually choose to practice what they taught. And even fewer seem to see that it takes a lot of spiritual practice to be peace yourself. The only person I can control is me. The only anger I can stop is mine. I am the war or I am the peace. I choose peace.