Since the earthquake that devastated Haiti on Tuesday, I’ve been watching people come together over the internet to create financial support and direct assistance for the people of Haiti. How beautiful it is when humanity joins in a collective effort of love for our fellow beings. I’ve been aware of the intense pain, confusion and chaos happening there: the souls lost in abrupt transition, the bodies left to die or suffer indefinitely, thousands needing help to survive. My heart is touched by how connected humanity is, and how often it takes an apparent tragedy to make that connection more real.
The question I keep hearing in my mind is: Why does it take a huge earthquake to get our attention? Why weren’t we inspired enough to help the people of the poorest country in the Western world before? Was the suffering of severe poverty not enough to motivate our collective action? Is it just too easy to be complacent about rampant economic inequality and human rights abuses when there isn’t an immediate and enormous devastating event? Granted, many of us are not complacent, and/or feel there is little one can personally do to completely change such a systemic and deeply ingrained problem as global poverty. (And, I certainly include myself in the too-often-complacent category.) What is it, then, that inspires me to action on a daily basis? How can I remember to love and serve all of humanity, to inspire greater peace and well-being for all, and to give where and when there is need every day?
The events in Haiti, and the global support in response to it, are serving to awaken many to the need for global sharing and teamwork, as well as our ability to meet that need. Individuals, foundations, humanitarian aid organizations and governments worldwide have responded to the devastation in Haiti, like tending to the immediate needs of a newly inflicted wound on collective humanity. And it is beautiful and wonderful that we are helping in any and every way we can to heal this wound: with our prayers, thoughts and visions, financial aid, networking, organizing and mobilizing.
Follow this analogy further. If what is happening in Haiti is like a huge gash in humanity’s “body” that requires treatment and healing, what are some of the systemic imbalances in our “body” whose symptoms are ignored or medicated away with ineffective treatments? How can we address the imbalances and the symptoms they produce (ie poverty, starvation and malnutrition, war, abuse, genocide…this list could go on and on…you get the picture) right here, right now? How can we create new political, economic and social systems based on cooperation, sharing, mutuality, peace and prosperity for all?
We can certainly begin within. We can treat ourselves with love, respect, compassion, gentleness and forgiveness. We can recognize our worth, our divinity, the wholeness of our Being. And we can extend that recognition “outward” by recognizing the inherent worthiness, divinity and wholeness of every Being, of all of humanity and nature. With that awareness, with that Love, we can act and serve in any way we feel inspired. No action is too small to make a difference. Our actions may come through how we treat our children, our neighbors and friends, the person driving really slow in front of us when we’re in a hurry. Our actions may come through how we talk about our political leaders, how we talk about our families, how we talk about ourselves. The form of our actions may or may not appear to be helping the world become a more peaceful and generous place, but if we are coming from a place of peace and generosity within, our actions will make a huge difference. The Love we give, in whatever form, will ripple out and touch the world in ways we do not know. In beautiful ways, like miracles.
This New Moon, this New Year, this eclipse, the world events capturing our attention and waking us up, they are all opportunities to begin anew, to take action, first from within. The most important “action” to take, the first “action” before any other action, the “action” that inspires our next loving actions, is forgiveness. To see through the pain, not ignore it but see it and then see beyond it to Spirit, is the act of forgiveness. To recognize the Truth of wholeness–beyond the appearances of disaster, disease and depression that emerge as symptoms of our collective mistreatment of Self–is the act of forgiveness that is crucial and miraculous. From there, do what your Heart tells you: sing a song, care for a child, love your neighbor and your enemy, send money to an aid organization helping people in need around the world, plant trees and gardens, visit a nursing home, write a letter to a political leader thanking them for their work…whatever your heart tells you.
When we begin within, with the “act” of forgiveness, miracles happen. When we seek to change our minds about what we see in the world, rather than trying to change the world, by forgiving rather than condemning and fighting what we do not like, change happens effortlessly, gracefully, and the results are more wonderful than we could have imagined. Forgiving and responding from Love gives Spirit space to Be. It allows Spirit to fulfill the miracles it offers every moment. Forgiveness is how to be in the world, but not of it.
There are many opportunities every day to begin again, to go within, to forgive, and to take inspired action. Today I’m reminded not to fall into the sleep of complacency, to wake up, every moment, to the Love that Is, and to offer this Love anywhere and everywhere it is needed. I offer It first by forgiving, then by giving Spirit space to Be, to share miracles through whatever actions I take and through every person I meet.
May all of our actions be inspired by Love, and may we begin again, each moment, with forgiveness.