Thursday, March 31, 2016

Knowing Your Own Soul

"Yes, those with mental and physical disabilities, minority groups, LGBTQ folks, refugees, prisoners, those with addictions--anyone who's "failed" in our nicely constructed social or economic success system--can be our best teachers in the ways of the Gospel. They represent what we are most afraid of and what we most deny within ourselves. That's why we must learn to love what first seems like our 'enemy'; we absolutely must or we will never know how to love our own soul, or the soul of anything." 
       Richard Rohr

We live in very politically-charged times. We all have our opinions, our causes, our hot buttons and issues that make us passionate/crazy/react/retract/etc. It is my personally-held belief that posting on Facebook, or other social media, anything political, causes more unrest than it does anything else. I don't believe people pop on over to Facebook to be educated or have their mind opened/changed, and so, I choose to stay out of that. I have a friend whose own mother said, "We better part ways," over diametrically opposed opinions were posted on Facebook.

Yesterday, I read the above quotation from one of my best spiritual teachers, Fr. Richard Rohr (sign up for his amazing daily emails here). While it has long been my belief that those with disabilities are the best teachers, I, personally, see where I need to extend that belief to others that are beyond social and/or economic "success" systems. 

Harder still, perhaps, is asking ourselves how do we extend our belief that those within the "success" system?  Those running for office, those with power, those with influence, those with money, those with millions of people that agree with them, but with whom we strongly disagree. How do we see in them, the aspects of ourselves we are denying and afraid of?


Laurie Harper said...

It is a lifelong challenge to love those we either don't understand or with whom we fundamentally disagree, and certainly those who scare us (for any number of reasons). My sister Gail has always said, if you don't engage in the discussion with them, how do you learn? You may still feel the same, but you will better understand how others see something, or how they believe, or how they feel. I chose to initially post things on Facebook that were political because I was expressing myself. Period. I was not trying to debate online or challenge anyone - it was sharing a point of view. That didn't work well so I stopped, but in doing do, I lost a good degree of interest in Facebook postings overall.....Thanks for writing this, Carrie.

kario said...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about listening these days and really reflecting on how open I am to listening when I'm uncomfortable. We have been so conditioned - especially with the rise of social media - to believe that our narrative is important and needs to be shared. It takes a lot of practice to stop the story in our heads, stop assuming that we know where people are going, and formulate our own responses before even hearing what they have to say entirely. I am guilty of this, to be certain. I heard a fascinating fact the other day: human beings can speak around 220 words per minute, but we can hear at a rate of 500 words per minute. That means that when we're listening to someone else, our brains are racing ahead, filling in the extra 280 words per minute with our own story, and we are impatient to have our turn to speak. That stopped me in my tracks. I will continue to work hard on listening with the intent to understand instead of the intent to respond.