African Americans

America: Divided We Fall

I told myself that I was going to try my hardest not to say or write anything further about the things that have been going on in this country as of late. But in light of recent events, and due to this prolonged period of elevated hostility, hatred, and chaos we, as a people, have become consumed by, I felt compelled to at least offer up some of my thoughts and opinions on what we, as a society, should be doing, collectively, in an effort to overcome these superficial barriers of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, class, and sexual orientation. Racism and ethnic segregation are nocuous to our American Nationalism and will only serve to further divide us against each other. And, as Americans, we should be a united front, held together EQUALLY, regardless of what we look like, where we come from, who we love, and what we believe, by our common nationality and citizenry. If we truly want to make this nation “great,” then we need to start by mending the tears in the fabric of our society.

I’ve always believed that one of the most fundamentally important things we need to consider when trying to solve many of our personal problems and social challenges is our level of active engagement, not just reflection and rhetorical and philosophical musings. We need to reevaluate everything in and around us, and start taking steps towards developing our own positive inner qualities and transforming ourselves into genuinely ethical and compassionate human beings. But compassion shouldn’t be something we just feel on the inside. It needs to be something we also demonstrate and exercise constantly through actions.

Too many people have become content living isolated, self-absorbed lives rather than being at all concerned with the world around them and the difference they could make in it if they only tried. That “world” includes the proximal intra-personal and inter-personal relationships of home, family, and community, as well as the larger context of society, commerce, natural resources, governance, and the environment. So basically, we need to seriously examine how we are not only treating ourselves, but also how we treat others and the environment.

What kind of a selfish person chooses to live only for themselves today when they could be helping to build a better tomorrow for everyone? And as these inner workings begin to transform us as individuals, the ethical and altruistic qualities we develop begin to spill out into our communities, our world, with each and every consideration, action, and interaction. It is only with a respectful, intelligent, and informed heart and mind that we can finally begin experiencing life with a sense of interconnectedness, rather than the dividedness and segregation that has become so prevalent in today’s modern societies.

But how do we do any of this?  How do we cultivate and nurture a caring and compassionate culture? How do we begin transforming and healing our world?

In order to transform our world, our families, our workplaces, and our communities, we must begin by transforming ourselves through self-contemplation, self-inquiry, and self-reflection, as well as through the cultivation of benevolent humanitarian values and ethics. We have to develop the ability and the capacity to be genuinely concerned about the welfare of others. In the beginning, we may feel as if our actions are inauthentic, contrived, or fabricated, but if we “practice” new behaviors and try to consider, adopt, and see things from new and differing points of view, and we experience firsthand the results of actions rooted in generosity, kindness, and the wish to benefit others — if we restrain our selfishness, hostility, and anger, and make an effort to also develop and promote tenderness, kindness, and generosity — our experience becomes our teacher; our experience educates us.

So the answer to our problem, how it is we create a kinder, more caring and compassionate, UNITED society, arises from the intentions and actions of the individuals within that society. One small act of kindness and generosity, or just one act of tenderness, of selflessness, each and every one of these moments makes a difference. No act is too small or insignificant. Each little gesture serves to eventually connect every single being on this planet through kindness, much like how the strands of a rope all come together to create a larger, stronger form. With this rope, we strengthen and fortify our relationship with ourselves and those around us, like a movement that starts with just one person and multiplies over time until it is all-encompassing. First encircling ourselves and others, close family, friends, coworkers, our communities, total strangers, and eventually….the world.

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