When many of us discuss what is going on in our States, Regions or Country, many of the same things can be heard depending on what narrative someone has chosen to side with or what is directly affecting the speaker or someone to whom they are close. These issues may concern corruption in politics, unfair business policies or practices, disgust with the opposite sex or a relationship or maybe just overall dissatisfaction with ones job or life in general. Although many of these discussions sound the same, the people having them are very different, at times. We live in an era where equality and fairness seem like the right thing to do; so much so that people will dedicate their lives to making it so. The problem lies in the cold hard fact that people are NOT created and/or raised to be equals!
Now, before you let that inner executioner jump to conclusions over my political leanings or what evil intention I may have by making such a claim, take a few slow, deep breaths, open your mind and read. For those of you extremists who think your minds are open, you may curse me and go back to your dogmatically positioned idiocy. There…now that I have your attention, here are some facts for you:
- Equality or equanimity are not built into a capitalist society nor should they be. And here’s the kicker. Neither are built into socialist or communist societies, either! How in the World could I make such a claim when, by definition, the latter suggest being so? It’s easy. People have different abilities and different dreams AND different morals! There is and always be the proverbial gray area. For some, it is larger than others and may even change depending on how they stand to benefit from a particular decision: “Do I steal this for my hungry children?” “Do I tell people about the wrong-doings of another when I will definitely benefit from the repercussions?” We do not think and thus, act alike and although we are taught, on one hand, to celebrate our individualism, we are also told the opposite; to conform, fit-in, and be like everyone else…at least, like HALF of everyone else. How do you think we ended up with only two political Parties in power?
- Socioeconomic position is just one of many variables affecting someones abilities, “book smarts,” “street smarts,” emotional intelligence, desperation level and overall satisfaction with who they are and life, as a whole. And further complicating this is that the above named elements are not only EFFECTS, but may also be CAUSES. This explains why so many may rise above their circumstances and on the other end of the spectrum, may fall in spite of their circumstances! (We are not equal, but we are also not fixed along a spectrum and we are greatly responsible for our path, whichever way it is headed).
- There are Universal laws or truths that, when learned and understood, may help us to make better choices and increase our likelihood of traversing upwards or to the positive end of whatever spectrum we’re focusing on. What is your purpose? Do you want a legacy? Is life about serving a higher power or purpose or is it putting in your time and not making too much of a fuss about anything, including yourself? Is life simple or complicated? Is it easy or drama-filled? Are you driven or “treading water?” The key is that everyone has different answers, excuses, rationalizations for the above questions and while some take responsibility, others will blame others for their feelings or for the circumstances in their life. Our perspectives are thus another variable worth noting…another variable that cannot lead to equality.
- We are like beings…connected even…but living very different lives. We will never understand everyone else. It is impossible. So, when someone is enough of a threat to our livelihood, how do we not think or want to do horrific things to them? This is life for so many people; seek allies and identify enemies. Who is with me and who is against me? It is a divisive way to go through life, but it is ingrained in our DNA. Like the Chinese identified opposing forces through the symbol YIN/YANG, life is filled with opposing forces, which, interestingly enough, allow for balance! Think about someone who you cannot stand…maybe even hate…and think about them from a point of gratitude. What do they do or bring to the World that serves a valuable purpose? Yes, for some people, it may be hard, but all the more important to find an answer as this is how we soften and come together on important levels. Levels that allow for disagreement and important discussion. We don’t have to agree, we don’t have to like each other and this fact seems to have been lost on most people, today. Truly, it puts you at war with most of the people out there and that sounds like a life full of dissatisfaction, disconnection and one incapable of love and compassion. Is this what you want for yourself and your family? Look around you. It is what most people are choosing.
What are YOU going to choose for yourself? Can you shut off the TV; the news, the water-cooler gossip, the negativity from your own mind and focus on what your ideal life looks like? Is it one where you are doing harm to others or is it one where we get along, in spite of wrong-doings, mistakes, misunderstandings and people who just believe or think differently from ourselves?
We are not equal…but this does not give us permission to judge others. It does not mean that we are to put ourselves above others. We are, more than ever, meant to treat others with the same respect and kindness we want for ourselves. This is the one thing I see religion doing in a positive way, for the World. Now, if only people would be true to themselves and follow the principles they claim to hold so dear…maybe then we’d at least appear to be a land of equality and equanimity.
Paul Gerst L.Ac. is the owner and a Practitioner of Acupuncture and Alternative Medicine at New England Natural Health Services (NENHS) on the South Shore of MA (Plymouth and Middleborough). Paul does his best to serve everyone (Community and Private Acupuncture care available and donation-only for Veterans) and treat everyone with respect and compassion…sometimes this comes in the form of tough love! Call 774-283-2726 or visit nenhs.com