All lives matter. Hands-down, unquestionably, yes! Every single life on this planet matters. Now I invite you to consider that we have a big problem to face before we can emerge into integrating that truth into our daily lives for everyone. This is why we are standing for Black Lives right now. The problem resides within the hearts and minds of each of us and it will take each one of us to do the work in order to resolve it, no exceptions.
When all lives matter, it means that we are willing to get out of our comfort zone when one of those lives is compromised.
Under the Surface
Our humanity is defined by our ability to have empathy for others, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and to allow our compassion to inform our daily actions. When we view the world and everything unfolding in our lives from the perspective of the innermost heart, things start to make sense in a way they didn’t before. However, it takes effort and inner work to get to that place.
Consider that this moment is presenting an opportunity to address a wound that has been festering under the surface. Perhaps the source of racism itself can be found within our psychological conditioning. It is the result of our collective choices stemming from pride, hatred, and ignorance. Who is impacted by racism? Everyone. But especially those whose lives are literally threatened by its impact.
The Human Race
The truth is that no one is impervious to racism. The cold reality of being unjustly cast as a threat or as inferior in someone else’s mind is not exclusive to any one race. However, we would be doing a disservice to collective progress if we ignored the added responsibility that authority figures have to dismantle racism from the inside out. With increased power comes increased responsibility. Right now we are collectively reeling in response to the blatant misuse of power and authority. What can we do about it?
We can rise to the occasion and stand with every ounce of our being for justice. Justice for the black community and for all those facing injustice.
Am I Doing Enough?
You are not alone if you are questioning whether you are doing enough. In fact, we should all ask ourselves whether what we are currently doing is enough to create real change. Part of the allure of the status quo is to just enjoy our personal comforts and privileges without doing the work to fully recognize the hardships that others face. When we commit to doing our inner work and combining that with actions that are aligned, we are engaging in a sacred act.
Turning inward without also taking aligned action can be spiritual bypassing, while on the other hand, taking actions that are not rooted in inner truth won’t create real change.
One very simple and practical way to begin co-creating a new world is to practice active listening. The act of genuinely listening to others who are different from ourselves cannot be understated. It is one way we can work to individually unravel racism and biases from the inside out. When we truly listen, we move out of judging the other for their differences and instead move towards connection and compassion. This is one example of inner work in action.
When we begin to look for the good in everyone we meet, and genuinely listen, we participate in the courageous act of co-creating a new world.
Inner and Outer Change
Listening is an important action, yet we also need to address the systemic and malignant forms of racism within our society. This can be accomplished in part through listening and inner work yet we also must take steps to educate ourselves. If we limit ourselves to our current world-view then we block ourselves from learning anything new, preventing transformation and systemic change from occurring.
Each and every one of us is responsible for uprooting racism both within ourselves and society as a whole. However, we must engage in both simultaneously. Turning inward and creating self-change while also taking bold action in the world. The question remains will we accept the challenge or put it off for the next generations to accomplish?
Leadership is defined in part by our ability to take self-responsibility. Through the process of consciously looking at ourselves and engaging in genuine remorse (where appropriate) without guilt, we become part of the solution. Being the change we wish to see in the world.
We have a multitude of opportunities every day to practice self-reflection, acknowledging our mistakes, and working to do better. This is what inner work is for.
It’s going to take a great deal of effort from each of us to overcome that which divides us. The good news is that life itself is on our side. At our core, we each recognize and oppose injustice when it is inflicted and part of us yearns to break free from it once and for all. Not an easy task amidst media frenzy, and false narratives further dividing us.
As we become more aware of the experience others are having we may notice discrepancies in our world view while simultaneously creating fertile grounds for personal transformation. It is a powerful thing to acknowledge the impact our current way of living may have on people who look different from ourselves.
It's only when we become identified with our privilege that it is painful to acknowledge where it has gotten out of balance with the wellbeing of the whole or comes at the expense of others.
We must delve inwards and come to terms with what we find there. Through honesty and genuine remorse, spontaneous transformation can occur. Inner work is a process that is restorative, clarifying, and uplifting. The work is there for each of us to do, and everything we dream of having can be found on the other side. One step at a time. One moment and one choice at a time.
True inner work is not the same as spiritual bypassing. The differences can be found in their corresponding actions in the world. One leads to the perpetuation of the status quo, while the other leads to radical change.
So if all lives truly matter, let us be a voice for the voiceless and use our privilege in a way that benefits the lives of those in more difficult circumstances. We have so much to learn from one another, particularly from those who are different from ourselves. As we find empathy for others may we also exercise compassion for ourselves as we do our inner work, overcome our mistakes with forgiveness, and stand together for the wellbeing of all. We are in this together.