Everyone seems so angry nowadays. Social media is rife with opinionated people ripping each other apart. Ugly words, with recommendations to end their lives are almost like a regular signoff in these posts. When as a collective did we get so agitated that we think nothing of calling random strangers abusive names in public?
More and more I see silos of people who think a particular way regarding everyone else with such disdain. The us versus them conviction has seeped into every Strata of society. These pillars of thought that once held the walls that separated the poor and the rich, today are holding flimsy pop up walls of different opinions.
I was having a chat with a cousin the other day and I was putting across a point that he wasn’t to happy with. Like fireworks came the defensive aggressive banter. I was quite shocked and had to stop myself from telling him to calm down and take a breath. Because I know how condescending that can sound and then it hit me. How many times have I heard someone tell me that, so was I behaving the same way he was?
We all know the ugly truth of that answer. I went back in time trying to relive those conversations when I had someone tell me exactly that. Looking at myself with the lens of today I realize how vociferous I had been, but back then I just labeled it a being passionate. My aggression was from years of being told that I was wrong, wrong to feel the way I did, wrong to think the way I did and wrong to even stand up for myself.
After years of meditation, mindfulness, and mostly just being aware I clamed down and realized that the truth of who I am has nothing to do with others. That my loud voice was a silent cry for wanting to be accepted. To pause that gnawing thought that maybe I was wrong from eating my soul. Apparently the way we have been brought up, being celebrated for doing what pleases our parents, family, teachers, friends, and society has hardwired us into thinking that all is right with the world only if everyone is in agreement.
And they lived happily after was the cliché we were fed as the hallmark of success. Wanting things your way, having strong opinions, refusing to be put down is often looked upon as being difficult. Sacrificing our wants and even our needs to keep others happy is praised and earns us the label of the good child. Suffering we are told is the coming of age ceremony of adulthood. Of course this is assuming you are born in the walled colony of the good, the decent and the humble.
There is a wilderness out there beyond those walls but stories of monsters that rip you apart keep us safely within those walls. Ever so often we hear of missing villagers who fell prey to the seductive calls of the dark never to return again. They are the ones to chip a hole in those high walls that enclose us. From those cracks we hear laughter and music coming from the other side and we wonder. Good citizens cover their ears and mumble prayers to ward of the seductive lure of the wild.
Some who are unhappy, curious or just bored dare to step out returning with tales of wonderland. They bring exotic fruits and stories of adventures back to the fold only to be heckled, thrown out or sometimes killed for blasphemy. Unhappy the guardians of the stone walls spin more stories about horrific torments in the after life for those who strayed and worse led others astray.
As the discord among the residents grows and afraid of a rebellion the guardians hatch another plan. They convince us that this life is just a test, the afterlife is where the real happiness is and the nod from the guardians is what gets you to the happy place. So they get us to willingly surrender our birthright to explore, to discover the truth.
And so this world is full of such walled colonies with the same threats and promises. Having sacrificed our freedom we fight to defend our village, the belief of our fathers, forefathers and those before them. To think differently is to disrespect them, to anger that unseen but extremely judgmental God. We say he loves us and is full of compassion but think nothing of it that he would burn our fellow brothers and sisters in hell fire for defying his laws. After all it isn’t just the evil people, the guardians tell us, but even those who question the authority of the guardians who will be burnt in hell fire.
And so we remain obedient and scared doing just as the guardians have commanded us to do so, hating those beyond the wall, shutting our eyes to the beauty of creation, and chanting our affirmations in the hope of pleasing that invisible God. We have gatherings where we talk about the goodness of the walled city that we live in. How blessed we are that we unlike the other lost souls outside found the right town to be in. And when this is over we the ones on the right side of the wall will be the ones who enter the happy place and then the others will know and be sorry.
And within these walls we make better stronger walled enclaves where we the chosen ones know the secret, the real truth. The truth that is hidden from unworthy eyes, you need to be special, purified by your faith to believe this truth. Only the purest believers can taste of this nectar. Wrapped in mystical magic that if unbelievers were to hear it they would call it utter nonsense, but to the chosen they would unravel. The truth would call to them. Do you hear it?