Right now we live in a world where people have become calloused to their own sense of loving-kindness. There have always been those that wish to be more caustic than others, but as we advance as a civilization, it seems there is a coldness that is grievously impacting. “Bitch” is a term of endearment, “Shut Up!” is an exclamation of surprise, and scathing hatred is the new form of empowerment. In just one week I witnessed hateful speech toward Mother Theresa, a pillar of servitude, being called “vile” followed by a misogynistic expletive. This was just days after the Oscars in which The Onion “joked” about nine year old Oscar Nominee Quvenzhane Wallis by calling her the “c-word.” Over 500 Followers re-tweeted and over 400 favorited the comment on Oscar night in a seeming apathetic fog, not understanding the “big deal” about calling a child a reprehensible expletive in the name of satire. Has sarcasm taken the place of emotional sanctity? As my week ended in bewilderment, I was subjected to racially motivated behavior by my own financial institution, and later that day heard a rant from a woman who is so offended by the general nature of homosexuality, she complained that she felt the rainbow had been co-opted from the Christians. What is happening to the kindness factor in our society?
There is an epidemic of unkindness in our world that is now the status quo for workplace, educational and recreational interactions. There is a trickle-down effect that causes some to conceal their personal pain by mimicking the behavior of their oppressors. This vicious cycle passes on the communicable virus of intolerance and those infected take their frustrations out on those that shine bright in their innocence. In interactions that provide anonymity such as internet commenting, driving, or telephone communications, this problem becomes worse. There is an excitement to the privacy of hurting others behind the curtain; an exhilaration to make someone feel pain from a place of immunity. This is the reason why there are children as young as eight years old committing suicide from the pain of being the one singled out while others take pleasure in creating and perpetuating the pain caused by their actions.
In all things whether positive or negative, there is a beauty. In this case, the beauty of the situation is that we can change it. When we witness hatred in our communities, we can reach within to find the antidote of solidarity. In moments of apathy, we can employ the discipline of mindful kindness, as we wake we can send thoughts and prayers to those that are suffering. It is a difficult venture to care about others in such an individualistic society, but we must. We must look to the makings of our lives and see that what we do affects others, and do our best to illuminate our world with the life that we possess. When we think about spirituality and the relationship we have with whomever we think “God” is, we may see god as a person; anonymous, invisible, but present. Many people speak about the desire to be more like god or Christ, or Buddha in their everyday life. The time to be most godly is when no one is watching – on the road when cutting someone off, in the office when subordinates are being mistreated, at home when your children are looking for an example to emulate, and most importantly in your heart where no one can envisage the thoughts and feelings except for you. This is the integrity our human family needs right now.
Step into the experience of others with empathy and compassion. Look beyond dogma and see love as love, people as people and life as a gift (that does not require you to micromanage it). We are responsible for all that takes place in our world. The biggest injustice that can be committed is inaction in the face of war mongering, hate speech, and inequality.
Inject the antidote of peace, love, and kindness in all that you do. Be the change.