The world we live in is so often perceived as two-dimensional. It’s black and white, Catholic vs. Protestant; plaintiff vs. defendant; Democrat vs. Republican; us vs. them. Taking sides and fighting for one’s side is idealized, while being neutral on most any topic is often seen as weak and indecisive.
The two extremes have a dark side. Those in power manipulate the masses by promoting conflict. It’s a tactic of Divide-and-conquer by keeping everyone busy mistrusting one another while the fox raids the hen house. Wars are fought and people die under this mentality.
Besides being dangerous to one’s health, well-being and survival, it is very limiting to view the world only in black and white. There is a whole spectrum of color, a virtual rainbow of possibilities that lie between. There is power in diversity. Nature knows this. Otherwise why are we blessed with a variety of thousands of species of flora and fauna? Couldn’t the earth get by with just a handful? And yet there is bountiful assortment to be found everywhere. Even in extreme desert environments, a riot of rich, multihued flowers bloom each spring. Plant, insect, and animal life adapt and find ways to survive in desert and arctic environments despite extreme conditions.
Resistance is futile. That’s a phrase known to most everyone, Trekkie or not. However, resistance sure beats being assimilated by the Borg without even trying to save one’s self! Resisting with all one has is heroic; it would be cowardly, even suicidal to just roll over and allow an enemy to have his way with you. In the real, nonfictional world, La Résistance were the good guys who fought for freedom against Nazi Germany. Mahatma Gandi taught his followers the powerful use of passive resistance. Everyone knows you’re supposed to resist temptation. Therefore, resistance is good. It would then follow that surrender is bad. It’s raising the white flag, giving up, giving in; throwing in the towel. Surrender is synonymous with defeat.
But let’s back up for a minute. There are times when resistance can be a bad thing. A well-oiled engine is free from resistance and therefore runs as it should with minimal wear. Muscles that hold too much resistance for too long will spasm and weaken. Workouts must be balanced with rest and relaxation. If a person wants to bring love into their life, they must let down their guard, e.g., resistance to meeting a potential partner.
As a child who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s I am no stranger to the concept of protest. Folk songs and books were written; peaceful (as well as some not-so-peaceful) marches were organized. A counter-culture was born, arguably at a time when it was very much needed. Protesting can be beneficial. When something is wrong, it needs to be called out rather than blindly following an unfair status quo. That being said, putting all one’s energy into protesting what we don’t want has a definite downside. Love and hate are close cousins. Both are rooted in passion—they are just aimed in different directions. When you pour your energy and passion into something, you energize it. Therefore, if for example, you hate conflict, ironically, you end up giving it more power. It’s a paradox to fight for peace.
My daughter’s life passion is the love of children, especially infants. After her last baby was born, she was thrilled to land a job as an infant teacher where she could cuddle and care for these little beings all day. She was allowed to bring her own small children as well; thus this job was the perfect fit for her. But then the needs of her employer changed. They moved her from the infants’ room to the toddlers’ room where she was called upon to chase after and care for toddlers all day. At first she was very disappointed and upset since toddlers are so much work. They are definitely high maintenance, mainly because they are mobile—an understatement, to say the least. Caring for these active little beings is like herding kittens, only toddlers weigh a lot more than kittens! It is both a physically and emotionally demanding job.
A few weeks later, I was pleased to see the smile back on my daughter’s face. In fact, she was practically beaming. I asked her if she had been able to return to the infants’ room, but she
A tale of perhaps Native American origin, some say Cherokee, goes something like this: A grandfather is speaking to his grandson about the fight between two inner wolves. One wolf is made up of all things evil and hateful and the other, of all things good and loving. The bad wolf fights the good wolf, all of the time. The grandson asks which wolf wins, and Grandfather replies, "The one I feed the most."
Unwittingly we find ourselves feeding the bad wolf every day. Everywhere one turns, there are cautionary tales to heed. Under the guise of being helpful, a chorus of voices constantly warns us to be aware, (beware) of a myriad of things—from illnesses to terrorist threats, and everything in between. We live in a complicated world where criminals and scam artists are poised, ready to steal identities, hard earned savings, and ultimately, our peace of mind. We need to be aware of our surroundings in back alleys, in shopping malls, and in our cars. We are told of ways to keep our children safe, and worse, what may happen if we don’t.
Bottom line, no matter how well-intentioned, all these warnings conjure up mental images that reinforce our worries. Much of our attention is focused on the negative, and thus we feed it and make it grow. By constantly searching the radar screen for dire things to avoid, we are all the more likely to find them. Or they find us. Fear emits a signal that draws a like result. The bad wolf grows stronger.
Hate is energy and it expands what you hate or fear. Love is also energy and it is stronger and more powerful than hate. How to make love grow? Here are just a few ideas, among many. Think happy thoughts. Play your favorite music, Meditate. Go for a stroll. Hug a loved one. Visit nature. Practice gratitude. Dwell on the good things in life.
Feed the good wolf, and thereby starve the bad one out of existence.