“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself.
If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.
Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”
Walking amongst the mountains of Canmore Alberta on a surprisingly beautiful spring-like day in mid-November was just what I needed following a terrible Friday night and its aftermath. To detail my opinions here of those events would be nothing short of superfluous at this point.
Hearing the sound of a stream alongside a snow layered trail, or a tree branch rustle after a little creature had visited, or a bird doing what birds do up in the trees, or the sound of snow being crushed under my feet – were the only sounds I could hear beneath the magnificence and majesty of the Rocky Mountains. These resonances temporarily drowned out the noise of hate and intolerance that have been ever so present – not only since Friday night but certainly the chorus since then has reverberated greatly throughout the western world traversing the digital sphere and also into my inbox.
I am becoming more adept at listening and understanding and seeing – at least from my own altering perspective on life. As I encounter intolerance I am learning the truth of Lao Tzu’s wisdom that what is “dark and negative” is within the intolerant and the hater. They only see ugliness in the world and are most critical of others. This speaks as an example to their internal angst, dissatisfaction, jealousy, being trapped in their life or perhaps an unresolved past – something to which I can attest. With this lens they see others adversely that make them this intolerant and agitated soul. Yes bad things and tragedies occur somewhere every day and will continue to do so but our world is not ugly. The beauty of our surroundings, our families and friends, music and art, a fulfilling job or just a paycheque are all blessings that to me demonstrate the splendor of this world. How we see the world is a choice we have.
Having a choice, a choice even how to think is ours. Kute Blackson wrote, “The moment you own your power to choose then you also own your ability to change your circumstance.” That is true empowering freedom. Hating never leads towards love, only more hate, more anger and more of the same. Post Paris many are misdirecting their fear, their disgust and their revulsion – all natural emotions considering what we all saw on the news – but towards innocent people not deserving of it – and into hatred and self-righteous intolerance. And after all, what good is harbouring these thoughts? I know the harm it does.
The mountains of Canmore stood before Friday November 13th. Those soul-touching sounds I heard I believe were there as well. The blessings in your life were there too before November 13th. So today is November 15th – and if you look you can still see the goodness in the world and other people in it if that is your choice.