Tolerance and Healing

Sri Sri Suddhaanandaa Brahmachari

“Far too many of us have lost touch with the beauty, the rhythms and wonders of the natural world.”

People from India received quite a shock on 26/11 with the Mumbai attacks. It has been similar to what the U.S. went through after the 9/11 attacks in New York City. It has made a deep impression on the Indian psyche, which I would like to address. Whether or not you are an Indian, the principles are universal.

It is easy to forget that life is an exquisitely beautiful, self-evolving system, when each day brings news of terrorism, other violence, and of the global economy grinding to a halt. Yet, the wisdom that operates within all existence, including all human difficulties, is unfailing. Life is always driving us towards a higher, more expansive and harmonious consciousness.
If your anxieties about conditions in the world are rising, if you have lost your job, your savings, or your retirement, it is not just happening to you. This is happening to everyone. It is happening to the collective.

A time to refocus internally

The outer world that humans have created is a reflection of our inner life. If violence in our world is increasing, if our economy is collapsing under the weight of unbridled greed, we need to look inward. We need to look to the state of our own mind.
For the past century, we humans have surrendered our focus to externalities. We have forsaken the inner realm and forgotten the central role it plays in our lives. We have forgotten that our inner life is the source of our well-being and happiness.
Far too many of us have lost touch with the beauty, the rhythms and wonders of the natural world. We have become preoccupied with the material dimension. Deprived of the inner realm’s ability to inform and harmonize our lives, we have become increasingly imbalanced. Multiply that by billions of human beings and we quite naturally have disturbing results.
The headmistress of the universe has gathered her rod and is giving us a rap. The sharp stings we are experiencing are calling us to awaken. We think we are being punished, but this is not punishment. It is the rod of awareness.
All of us are being called to reawaken to the eternal, inner realities. It is not just the world that has a problem. We are all being snapped to awareness. We are all being shaken out of the unconsciousness that has been shaping our lives. These times are calling us to a time of reassessment, to a time of learning, so that we can be renewed in the true purpose of our existence. Getting caught up in negative emotions about what is happening, will only add to the negative energies that feed the global, downward spiral. It is infinitely healthier to ask ourselves critical questions about our own state of mind, and about the nature and source of happiness.
What could be more fundamental to that process than making a serious inquiry into what is real? Is security real when it is based on material conditions, or abundance that can disappear in an instant? What peace is available to us that can transcend the inevitable ups and downs of life, and the storms they cause, in the material world?

“Terrorism is a culture. Those who espouse terrorism are working in a focused way. They are researching, planning, and expending intensely focused energy to promote it. So terrorism’s reach is naturally extending. It is giving birth to new levels of itself, to new expressions, drawing more people into its vortex.”

Have we done justice to life’s purpose?
Today’s terrorism and violence are heart breaking. But who is responsible? Is it really just the terrorists and those committing the violence? Aren’t we all responsible, each person and each nation?
Who among us has not harbored negativity from time to time? Who has not sent negativity into the interconnected stream of human relationships? Are the human beings that reach their breaking point, the only ones to blame?
Who has not been overly critical toward others, and ourselves, thereby fostering insecurity and fear in our own mind and in others? Isn’t the tyranny of the negative mind a terrorist of sorts? Don’t most of us do far more inner violence to ourselves than anyone has done to us?
How many of us have done justice to the purpose life has given us? Our purpose is to fulfill love in ourselves and others; to foster the good wherever and whenever possible. Are we attending to that sacred duty?
Given that all of these things are true of even the best among us, how could our collective human consciousness not have become the toxic ground in which violence has flourished?

“It is not just the world that has a problem. We are all being snapped to awareness. We are all being shaken out of the unconsciousness that has been shaping our lives. These times are calling us to a time of reassessment, to a time of learning, so that we can be renewed in the true purpose of our existence.”

Terrorism is a culture

Terrorism is a culture. Those who espouse terrorism are working in a focused way. They are researching, planning, and expending intensely focused energy to promote it. So terrorism’s reach is naturally extending. It is giving birth to new levels of itself, to new expressions, drawing more people into its vortex.
What is needed is a countervailing force operating on the planet. The world is crying out for those who will devote themselves to promoting the loving, unifying energies of the Spirit. It is crying out for those who will give expression to the highest possibilities in each moment. It aches for those who will charge the air we all share and breathe with light and love, forgiveness and compassion, wisdom and religious tolerance.
It is obvious that a cultural transformation is needed on the planet. We need a culture of understanding. We need a culture of the sacred, one dedicated to the beauty and goodness of life. We need a culture that will naturally transmute and heal the negative forces at work in the world.
But cultural transformation begins with the individual. The question is, how many of us will answer life’s call for a culture born of the Spirit?

Pause first

To solve problems in times of crisis, it is always wise to take the highest counsel available. We need to pause. We need to breathe. We need to calm our mind. We need to find the source of peace within our own being.
There are many, many layers of thought and manifestation that life is working with, to reorder and harmonize through these crises.
If we do not pause, what do we have to work with? We have our conditioned mind, our reactive mind, our fearful mind. We have our veiled mind, our distorted and distorting mind. We have our forced and forcing mind. It is pushing us here, pushing us there, and stirring the pot of our anxiety and fear all the while.
We need a higher intelligence, a more subtle intelligence. We need an intelligence that is supple and flexible, one that taps into the generative impulses of creation itself. We need expansive energy that connects us to the positive possibilities beyond our current field of vision.
Pausing, turning inward to the deepest resources of the Spirit is the key to this and every crisis.

Seek the holy company of divine intelligence

This is the time to seek the holy company of Divine Intelligence. That Intelligence is the source of all life. It is the seat of our own soul. Nothing will lead us more surely towards the life that is trying to be born through these difficult times. Nothing will bring us greater capacity to move forward with harmony, or to endure what we must endure, with patience and quiet confidence.
It is only in harmony with the Divine that we will find pathways through our personal and shared knotty human predicaments. We cannot do it alone. The current limits of our consciousness are simply too great. Our expectations, our conditioned habits of mind and emotion are too ingrained. Our reactivity is too easily triggered.
When an old order is crumbling, we have to look below the surface. We have to travel into the deep interior. We have to draw on the resources of the Eternal Self. In the simplicity and stillness of the Essential Self, our perspective clears. We naturally realign with the new life that is trying to emerge below the surface.
It is the beautiful universal consciousness, which orders the galaxies, the mountains and the seas, the sun and the moon, the seasons and our own evolution of life. That is our greatest resource. Only the infinite capacities of that Intelligence, which so painstakingly created the millions of life forms all around us, can guide us through these times.
That Intelligence is telling us that life can no longer go on as it has, without unbearable human suffering. Aligning with the purposes of that Intelligence, absorbing its energies, grace carries us forward. With those higher energies permeating our mind, our emotions, and the cells of our body, we begin to heal our own mind. We become a source of healing in our world.
Spending time, each and every day, quietly and humbly offering ourselves to that Intelligence is our ultimate and only security.

Prayer and meditation are Seva

Facing scarcity and mounting external instability, many of those around us will naturally be drawn into the vortex of intensifying fear, resentment and negativity. There is no need for us to join them. The very air we are all breathing on this planet is already overburdened with negative energies.
Resisting the pull toward the negative, taking refuge in simplicity, taking refuge in meditation, deep prayer and in our own breath become our profound seva (service to the Divine) for the planet.
In that seva, we are doing our small part to bring more positive vibrations into the world. We do it as a love offering, so that the more negative elements can be naturally subdued and transmuted.

Return to the breath

I have said it before, I have said it often, but I cannot say it enough: the breath calms and stabilizes the mind. The breath is always with us. It is the ultimate source of renewal of the pure life energy, prana, within us. So whenever we need to let go of fear, there is no better way to do that than to return to our own breath. We need to breathe.
Whenever you find yourself in distress, take a few moments to be with your breath. Simply lie flat on your back with your hands at your sides, and relax. Breathe abdominally. Breathe fully. Breathe consciously. Breathe deeply. Breathe long and mindfully.
Relax, being fully present to your breath, for just 15 minutes. You will be amazed at the difference this simple practice can make. This was taught to me by the humblest, most unknown of saints, the Divine Mother, Argatala Ma.

“It is only in harmony with the Divine that we will find pathways through our personal and shared knotty human predicaments. We cannot do it alone. The current limits of our consciousness are simply too great. Our expectations, our conditioned habits of mind and emotion are too ingrained. Our reactivity is too easily triggered.”

Return to prayer

Let us join together in our spirits to bring forth a different, less rigid and fearful, more positive world. Let us explore how we can fill the world with more prayers and meditation, how we can amplify those vibrations that move us toward peace and stability. And let us not forget the power of collective prayer.
Sincere prayers are always answered. There is no more irresistible music to God’s ears, no force more powerful, than that of hundreds, thousands, or millions of souls joining together in prayer for the good of all.
If you belong to a faith community, consider becoming a voice for more collective prayers and meditation for the planet. Include other faith communities. When intolerance threatens to obscure the true, unifying function of religion, it points to the need for all creeds to come together in understanding and love.
You do not have to belong to a church, a synagogue, a mosque, or a temple to link with others who are praying for peace. You do not even have to be a believer. You can simply reach out in your heart. You can stand in the power of your conscious connection with all others of goodwill who are longing for peace, working for peace, praying for peace.
We can call insistently – to God if we believe in God, to the life force and all the forces working for good if we are non-believers – for greater wisdom, for more compassion, for more forgiveness and tolerance, and for deep healing for one and all.

“That Intelligence is telling us that life can no longer go on as it has, without unbearable human suffering. Aligning with the purposes of that Intelligence, absorbing its energies, grace carries us forward. With those higher energies permeating our mind, our emotions, and the cells of our body, we begin to heal our own mind.”

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