In 1994 an unusual song hit the radio waves. It had a slow and undulating rhythm with an Amis chant to open the song and then continued throughout the song. Some of the lyrics are:
"...Don't be afraid to be weak
Don't be too proud to be strong
Just look into your heart my friend
That will be the return to yourself
The return to innocence.
If you want, then start to laugh
If you must, then start to cry
Be yourself don't hide
Just believe in destiny."
This song, as well as many others, point us towards the truth and simplicity of innocence. It is not a marketing campaign towards tolerance, but innocence. We have promoted tolerance for far too long. Unity can't come from tolerance, but rather from a respect for our other co-inhabitors of the planet Earth. Innocence has several definitions including freedom from sin or moral wrong, but the one I want to point out is "simplicity; absence of guile or cunning". Most of us would admit we never use the word "guile"; however, it's a great word that describes an insidious cunning to attain a goal or crafty or artful deception. I think most of us would agree that this world is full of guile. The word itself sounds nasty.
We are bombarded daily from every angle of this negativity in our world. We are told to be tolerant or to hate or to seek revenge or to fight for justice or whatever. I'm not speaking negatively about seeking justice or equality or anything else, instead, I'm wanting to point out the artful deception that so many (including me) have fallen under. This deception started at the beginning of our world and continues until now. It's the small deception, the small twists in wording, the small seed planted in our heads that begin to grow and manifest themselves in all out hate, robbing us of our innocence. That was what was robbed during that fateful event when we first plucked the fruit from the tree. I say we because we have all sinned, we have ALL lost our innocence.
So how do we return to innocence? How do we step away from the deception and guile that permeates our world? I will hold to the notion of focus as the key to this freedom. You see, the deception has and will continue to be the idea that if we focus on the injustice of the world that somehow it will be changed and justice will prevail. If we focus on the hate and allow ourselves to rage as an individual or, better yet, as a community, that the community will change. If we focus on tolerating others who think, act, or believe differently then we will all get along. These will never fix the problem because we are focusing on the wrong thing. You see, when we focus on the hate, we allow the hate to grow. When we focus on the injustice it begins to permeate our mind also. When we focus on being more tolerant then we feel slighted that our own beliefs are no longer important as compared to others. When we focus on ourselves, we allow our pride to grow.
The answer is clear and it has been proven over and over again. The song above says to look inside your heart. This "looking" is really more examination. Examine your heart and re-focus. Let go of those things (hate, guile, injustice, pride, etc.) that hinder you and keep you from running this race we call life. Don't be encumbered and trapped, but let go of everything that pulls your focus away from the finish line.
The song also speaks of emotion. Emotion is a powerful force that has both destroyed nations and also forged some of the greatest things we have ever known. Emotions can protect us, help us, move us, and change us. However, despite all their power, all emotion is just that, it's emotion. Emotion is to always come under the control of logic and we have failed to teach that for many years. We have allowed feelings to rule our decisions rather than aid in our decisions. It's time to re-claim both logic and emotion. Emotions are beautiful and powerful and instead of fear them or revere them, we should instead embrace them as they are and for what they are. We must allow each other to feel; however, we must always choose to act in a logical manner, rather than out of those emotions.
So allow yourself to feel compassion for ALL loss of life. Allow yourself to feel angry over injustice. Allow yourself to feel joy and love and happiness. However, DON'T allow yourself to remain FOCUSED on those emotions. Feel them, express them in a healthy manner, and then release them. Expression of those feelings should NOT include acts of violence or hate. There are healthy and appropriate ways of expression that have no negative consequences.
To wrap up this blog, I want to pull everything back into this idea of focus. Focus on the positive. Focus on the things with which you have been blessed. Focus on the One who created and then gave you those blessings. Focus on those who are hurting and those who are lost - emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Love your co-inhabitants of this world. Allow the Focus on the positive to change your behavior even today. Don't focus on the person who cut you off at the stop light, instead be grateful you weren't hit. Don't focus on the injustice, but recognize and realize there is plenty of justice doled out every day mostly in healthy ways.
Today, let's all try to be less tolerant but more innocent. Let's not focus on injustice, but be happy about justice. Let's choose not to allow our emotion to rule us, but instead choose to embrace and then RELEASE emotion then ACT in a logical and loving way. Let's choose to look beyond the external and see the heart.
As always, let's Create Hope for Tomorrow in all we do today.