When was the last time you read that in a comment section of a blog post, news article or on Facebook?
Today, it never happens. It is the most maddening aspect of our current public conversations. Our discussions have devolved into, “I’m right, you’re wrong. Now shut up.” People show up already listening – to the voices in their heads. Those voices are the opinions and judgments made from the past. They are formed from experiences that are now irrelevant. We all do it. Instead of being completely clear-minded, available to read or to listen to words or to experience a person in a way that could teach us and guide us towards a more powerful existence, we show up listening to old voices that cut off the very possibility of being different, being better and being more evolved.
What is mystifying about this way of being is that we live in a time that is changing by the moment. Maybe that is it. Does our fear rule us? Are we resisting change? Most people have always resisted change. It means the unknown. Giving in to change means something new. There is no security, no safety. You will never catch a young child being this way. We are all born with curiosity and with complete listening. We want to learn, we want to explore, we crave uncharted waters, and are fascinated by everything new. If we are lucky, we never lose that way of being. If we are blessed, we live our entire lives with a sense of curiosity and of wonder. And every moment we grow and we evolve.
Instead, the majority of people are stuck. They are rooted in what they already know, resisting the wonder and the evolution of possibility. And with that comes judgment born of ignorance, which breeds bias, prejudice and even hatred.
When we choose to be this way, we have failed our greater responsibility – to the children and youth of our time. We have become an example and not a good one.
Absent some biological explanation, do you think the killer in Charleston, South Carolina, was born that way? Every adult in his young life had a responsibility to him; yes, they bear some responsibility for his actions today. Sound harsh? It isn’t. We are responsible for our actions and just as responsible for our influence on children. If we show up and instill our hard-held beliefs in children instead of sharing a sense of what is possible, we have failed our responsibility. If we reinforce bigotry, hatred, and judgment, we are guilty of gross irresponsibility or worse.
I read there was a moment in that church when he almost did not go through with it because he was treated nicely when he walked in the door. For a fleeting moment, he was fully present. And then, he reverted back to the past and his ingrained views. Where did he learn that? He wasn’t born that way. None of us are.
Let’s do ourselves and every person in our world a favor. Let’s show up every moment, fully present. Ready to learn. We are prepared to evolve. And to be grateful for learning to look at something or someone in a different light.