When the Suffering is Great

The news coming from my country has been so dire these last few days (and years), particularly in regard to the immigrant children. Many of us feel hopeless and aren’t sure how to help. I can’t imagine how anyone could think separating parents from children at the border is a good policy, and yet, families keep getting separated and children are put into internment camps. It seems to me like a modern-day Holocaust. 

Growing up Jewish, I learned about the Holocaust a lot. And the Holocaust is not the only example, there are so many more in our world – it is only the mass genocide I was raised hearing about the most. As a young adult I became convinced none of it would have happened if only regular Germans had put their feet down and said “stop!” 

Well, I’m finding that it’s a lot more complicated than that. Plenty of us are crying “stop!” We are donating and volunteering. And still there are children in camps. Only a truly cruel system could wish this reality on children and their parents. 

I had a dream last summer that I was one of these mothers. I was in a dark, cold prison of concrete and fencing, my toddler ripped out of my arms by a guard. My heart broke and I felt extreme despair. I began wailing as the guard walked away. In the dream I felt his emotions. He was more than just indifferent, he was sadistic and desiring to cause harm to another. I woke up shaken and so afraid and immediately ran to hold my daughter as she slept. 

When I pray, I feel the best thing I can do besides volunteering and donating, is to keep writing. I write for myself, and to help others on their journeys towards wholeness and love. Perhaps just writing this, even if a leader never reads it, adds this into the pot of the collective. 

Our current situation is a problem of separation consciousness. We are not separate from the immigrants. We are one with them, and with all people. We must welcome them. We must care for the stranger as if they were our own, because they are. If only our leaders could speed themselves down the path of awakening to know this. 

I am That

At the workshop this past weekend, Neale taught us about a neat exercise to try. I can take no credit for it! In fact, his unnamed friend taught him this exercise, so even Neale can’t take credit for it. Here’s how it goes.

Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, experience the truth of your oneness with all things by looking at everything around you and saying “I am that.” This includes people, animals, plants, and even objects. Walking down the street, look at the tree, and in your mind say, “I am that.” Passing by each person, say to yourself, “I am that.” Passing a car, a bicycle, a parking meter, say “I am that.”

Since I’ve learned this exercise, I’ve been practicing it in particular with people around me, especially people I might disagree with. It’s so helpful and beautiful. I find my heart opening and softening as I remind myself that “I am that.” Try it. I’d love to hear how it affects you, too!