We often find it tempting to distance ourselves from people we deem unusual or different. Society and language can encourage this behavior. After all, humanity is divided against itself by borders drawn on maps. Demographers eager to throw us into socioeconomic bins ask exactly which one of several checkboxes most accurately defines us.
We root for the home team and boo the rivals into a homogenous blur of pure enmity. It is normal to do this but is it natural?
These social constructs hide the physical truth that in fact we are all connected to each other in many wonderful ways.
It is especially critical to remember this during the holiday season, when traditions of other cultures can come into public contrast with our own familiar traditions.
We may be put off by traditions or beliefs we do not share. But when we reach across such divides, we come one step closer towards a more peaceful world. This holiday season, let us aspire to feel at one with our fellow humans, and take it upon ourselves to fill the voids of apathy and fear with compassion and friendship.
If you look at any holiday gathering closely, you will see people enjoying each other’s company, reflecting on the past, planning for the future, and taking care of their loved ones. You will find the same precious laughter and celebration taking place in every home, irrespective of the geometry of the religious symbols, the color of the food, or the sound of the language.
Ultimately, we are all profoundly unified by our shared humanity and our shared earthly home within a universe of astronomical enormity. Although the traditions of the holiday season remind us of our past, we also need to look forward into the future, and to help create harmony in the world through unification instead of isolation.
How do we practice unifying? We start by unifying within. Unity is not just an idea. It is a feeling, an act, and a way of living in every moment, in each new experience.
Too often, we allow our fears and insecurities to overwhelm us, leaving us to doubt our own potential instead of realizing it. Why are we afraid of our potential? Because it is an unknown. In order to unify ourselves, we must break free from the self-imposed chains of doubt that hold us back. Then we are present in every moment and acting instead of reacting.
Instead of allowing old dualistic affirmations such as “No matter how hard I try, I won’t make it” or “I need to prove myself to people” to play like a looped recording in our subconscious, we must repeat empowering, liberating mantras that speak from the soul. Such affirmations assert truths like “I am safe,” “I am loved,” and “I am accepted for every part of me is good.” The unknowns within ourselves immediately become less scary when our subconscious is not permitted to hold us back from our greater potential.
When we have unity within ourselves, when we come from a place of love and understanding, we don’t need to fear the unknown anymore. That which was unfamiliar or scary is now interesting or exciting. Those who used to seem distant or threatening now seem approachable or innocent.
This shift in where we come from and how we perceive others now permits us to accept them. Acceptance then allows us to replace ego-based thinking such as judging, blaming, and rejecting with soul-based living gifting us with compassion, love, and oneness. When we feel this way for each other, we are unified and one step closer to a peaceful world.
Despite all of the differences we highlight between people and traditions, we are all part of the same humanity. Behind the artificial borders we create are individual people with the same insecurities and hopes we have. So remember it doesn’t matter what we call our individual holidays or exactly how we celebrate them. The holiday season is a time for people to come together, and no time is better to do that than right now.
As it appears in Inside Look Magazine Nov/Dec 2009 issue
© 2015 Jason Nelson
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