I was surprised recently to hear the phrase ‘I become we’ and it reminded me of something important, especially in these times. This is an idea that’s been made use of for generations in the Civil Rights and Labor movements, as well as in religious teachings.
We fear power because we associate it with aggression. It’s there in everything from militarism to abusive husbands and boyfriends, to those we say are ‘drunk with power’ – implying control, domination, and injustice. But power in itself is neutral. Power can be turned any way, and this is something we need to know, for our own sake, for that of our community, and world.
I first saw what has come to be known as ‘the human microphone’ during Occupy. This is where one person speaks, and those around him or her repeat it, so that others can hear. They begin with saying ‘Mic check!’ ‘MIC CHECK’, the crowd replies. This is a time when we all need to repeat the best things that we hear, a time when we all suffer and struggle together, and whatever wisdom we can gather needs to be spoken far and wide.
There is so much contained in love at it’s best that I thought it would be worthwhile to write a few words about it this morning. I highlight love ‘at its best’ to distinguish it from the fleeting, partial, or limited kinds of affection we all know so well. The love I would like to talk about is the kind we look to when we want to remember who we truly are and who we can become.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed,
all things would appear as they are, infinite…” – William Blake
In a recent movie, Tomorrowland, a young woman touches a magical medallion, and is transported to another world, where it is safe, beautiful, and enlightened. When she lets go of the button, she’s back in her ordinary world. When I first saw this, I thought immediately of how it was just like the working of mantra in Buddhism – under the right circumstances, it can shift a person’s awareness immediately, and produce the vision of a Pure Land that has been right here all along.
It’s almost impossible these days for people with different political views to have a meaningful conversation. Each side is so committed to their point of view it seems there’s no basis for communication. On one news program after another, there is very little dialogue, and expressions range from bewilderment, to contempt and insults.
As American soldiers returned from Vietnam in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, they were often met with scorn, and mistreated. The anger directed towards them came from an enraged and educated opposition that had gradually become aware of the injustice and sheer criminality of the wars being waged.