There are certain “great levelers” that strip away any and all pretense that we are marked by differences bearing names such as race, class, sex, age, religion, economic status — fill in your least favorite here.
Earthquakes don’t care what your house cost. Tornados don’t care if your children need you. Exercises in greed and power are built upon foundational beliefs that nearly everyone matters less than those calling the shots from the corner office.
And so, every day, around the globe, people whose obituaries will never make it to The New York Times go quietly or not so quietly into that good night.
Part of me feels deeply that we arrive on this planet with soul contracts and agreements intact; that at some near-inaccessible level, we have signed up to walk a path of our own choosing, regardless of how banal or ghastly it may seem to others.
A much greater part of me doesn’t have a clue why some have been dealt an excrutiatingly harsh hand. Why some are born, live, and die in obscurity and their own brand of misery. Why others choose to find a certain contentment and joy in every moment, and why still others live out days and nights writ large on screens and pages of mammoth proportion while the masses hungrily lap up every detail.
It’s simply one of those great mysteries of life that we can ponder and ruminate, discuss and debate, for eternity. When all is said and done, though, someone still needs to hammer nails, fix streets, wash the dishes and feed the cat.
A friend who has participated in Native American sweat lodge ceremonies for more than a dozen years, spoke to me of this yesterday. When you’re stripped bare of masks and armor, when you’re in the darkness, in the dirt, everyone becomes equal, he reminded me in his softly present voice. When you together shed your tears, your pain, your sorrow, your identifiers, and whatever badges of honor you have given yourself or had bestowed upon you, you get it.
Here are some others who get it:
Sarah Baram, who questions media’s priorities while asking the question, “Did You Hear About Tennessee?” in a recent blog post; and
Marcus Baram (and I have no idea whether these insightful folks are related in any way), who reports for The Huffington Post and features a photo tribute to the 11 men whose lives and memories have been given short shrift in the ongoing deconstruction of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig “accident.”
I love the phrase, “There’s only one of us here.”
It bespeaks a consciousness of unity and holds the power to dissolve the concretized thinking that arises when we zero in on our perceived differences and cling to our prehistoric notions of separation and judgment.
The change is happening now, and gaining ground even while oft overshadowed by the residue of how things have been for far too long. Regardless of what you see around you, it’s a good place for the inhabitants of the planet to be.
This is the day, these are the times, when each one of us may actively choose to embody how utterly, unconditionally alike we are at the core. And that is precisely when we begin to create a world of compassion and understanding borne out of open hearts and open minds — and an unwavering commitment to see our own reflection in every pair of eyes we meet.