With all that is going on in life at the current moment in politics, I feel compelled to share one of my life experiences with you, about bias and intolerance. We live in a time where we can no longer ignore, discard, or avoid, people that are different than ourselves or anyone other than what we identify with ourselves. We absolutely have to elevate our acceptance and understanding of other religions, colors, cultures and orientations than our own, without exception.
Life is no longer about you as an individual, or the group that you think you belong to; groups whose interests you consider to be the only truth and above all others. We can no longer talk about ‘my people’ as the only people with rights and privileges. That time has passed.
Today is the day that we have to acknowledge that all people on this earth, no matter their color, religion, heritage or whatever makes them different to you, are our one and only family on our one and only earth. We absolutely have to work together and meet eye to eye, without exclusion of anyone. We have to collaborate and respect each other without hurting and judging each other, right now.
For aeons we, as a humanity, have hurt, robbed, plundered, raped and killed each other, to enrich, benefit, and favour, the group we thought we belonged to from bloodline, history, business or religion. No-one is exempt from having caused pain to another. That has to stop right now if we want to heal our world. Accept that fact and know that that is why we are reaping what we sewed in the past. We cannot hurt others and be free of the consequences. We have to repair. We have to ask forgiveness by acknowledging what we created – all of us! I hope I am not talking to only those of you who feel this way too. I hope everyone finds it in their heart to re-evaluate what we are doing at the moment and how we are facing a real crisis at the moment to urgently do something right today, together.
The story I want to share with you is written in my book, ‘The Riddle in the Mirror, a Journey in Search of Healing’, pg. 34.
“The mid-nineties were a magical time in South Africa. Nelson Mandela’s release from prison filled everyone with hope and joy for a new future. Mandela became president during South Africa’s first true democratic election. Tired of social conflict, I welcomed the thought of being part of the new South Africa. Then I had a dream that cautioned an opposite scenario to my hopes.
In my dream, I stared out into the night, skimming my eyes over what seemed to be a boy of calm water in front of me. As my eyes got used to the darkness, I saw the outline of a woman’s body lying halfway in the water covered by a sheet. I came closer to make sure that what I saw was actually so. Anxiously, I pulled the sheet away to investigate her mortality. It became clear that she was dead. Then I noticed the baby next to her, struggling to breathe. There was not time to waste; I had to save the baby! I jumped in and pulled the baby from the water, urgently resuscitating it. Finally, the baby coughed and started to breathe.
I felt happy and relieved to have saved the baby and noticed for the first time what a beautiful baby it was. Without warning, the smiling baby turned into a vicious, glaring, sharp-toothed monster. Its nails became claws and dug into my body as it bit chunks of flesh from my neck with sharp, pointed teeth. I woke in a sweaty panic, shocked and confused.
The dream was vivid and disturbing. This dream was without any doubt important. I had no idea what it meant. I struggled to understand the symbolism for a long time because the usual relational psychodynamic interpretations did not feel right. For months I tried to analyze it, this way and that, thinking that perhaps parts of my psyche were self-destructive while other parts were dying or transforming. The dream nagged me for clarity. I sought counsel from my colleagues. Their interpretations left me more confused and incomplete. Something was missing. What made sense to my mind did not make sense to my inner truth. Exhausted by the emotional turmoil, I resigned form forcing an answer to this riddle from my rational mind. I asked my god-self for answers, and my mind became quiet.
Asking questions and waiting with a silent mind for a response always works. A week or so later I abruptly woke up one night from a deep sleep. A clear and powerful ‘ah-ha’ struck me like lightning. Instantly clear, the dead woman in the water was my mother country. She had died. The baby was the fragile baby-state of the newborn South Africa. I supported its life but became its victim. I was in danger and had the sense that I had to leave even though I resisted this knowledge with all my reason! This realization to leave did not come from my logical mind but was a knowing that came from my soul.
The dream revealed itself and my soul-spirit felt clear about the message, but my mind still resisted. There was no rational way to accept the threat that the new South Africa would hurt me in any way. The very thought saddened me deeply. I insisted on playing a part in breathing life into my new South Africa. There was a chance for change, and all my painful childhood memories of playground conflicts and social prejudice between various cultural groups could end in harmony. All my life, I had dreamed that people of different colors, cultures, and religions would eventually live in peace and respect. Is this not what the new South Africa stands for? Is this not what is supposed to happen now?”
The story goes on in my book, but what I want to share next is on pg. 39.
“When I got an invitation to attend a ‘Cross-Cultural Conflict Resolution’ event, I welcomed the opportunity for discussion with other South Africans about the state of affairs between our peoples. Still battling the disturbing dream that jolted me to leave South Africa, I hoped and anticipated that my participation in conversations with other groups with the objective to heal our broken intercultural relationships will turn out to be so positive that my dream was just an inner fear. However, I happened to be the only white person amongst hundreds of black people at that event.
I was alone, representing the entire white population of South Africa and its shame-filled, wounded history. I represented not only the Afrikaner oppressor, but also all the other white groups that lived on that continent; the British the Jewish, the Scottish, and so on, everyone who did not think of themselves as racists.”
At the end of this Cross-Cultural Conflict resolution weekend, I was torn to pieces with collective pain. I was clear about wanting to work together to heal, but I was a lone voice in the wilderness. Alone, I could not possibly do the work required. The people there knew this and told me to leave the country urgently. They explained that I was the only white person that responded to the invitation and because of that they warned me to leave, because the country was angry and hurt. It was this moment that my dream became a reality and I knew that I was called to do something I was never willing or prepared to do; to leave my ‘mother-land’.
It feels to me as if the rest of the world has come to that point in time that has happened 21 years ago for me. But this time the dream I envision is that of an opportunity to stand together to create a new world. Do not let this baby down! The baby will not attack if we reach out to each other and seek resolution together. The old mother era is gone. She has dies and we are entering a new time; a time of collective collaboration.
It is no longer appropriate to project the ‘bad’ that happen onto others. We are all part of what we create together. No-one is innocent. Investigate your own soul to take responsibility for what goes wrong collectively. What can you do to change that in your everyday life? If you keep score against others and want to settle them with revenge and retaliation, you harm and create perpetuating wounds that continue generationally. Instead, work together to heal through cooperation and forgiveness. It is easy to ask for forgiveness when one is a perpetrator, but it is really big of the victim to have an open heart. What we do not realize is that victims and perpetrators are intimately connected in a cycle that repeats history over and over again, until we learn to cooperate in stopping the vicious cycle.
When I see and feel all the conflict and divide amongst people now, I know how urgent it is to find a new way to create peace together. How long do we want to continue on the path of segregation, bias and identification with oneself as the only legitimate one? There is no such a thing as ‘my people’ and ‘your people’ any longer. We are all one people, despite our differences and we have to cooperate and heal, before we destroy this world with everyone and everything in it. The only way to start this healing process is to start conversations with each other. There is no looking back on old self-righteous ideas. Old ideas are redundant and will never work in this new time of learning how to be a healthy collective whole. We have to create new paths and ways to support and respect each other. One person cannot do this alone. All of us need to stand together. All of us! This new way towards peace is a collective one, and not a competitive or selfish one. Any hint of self-serving interests and competition will destroy humanity. We have to care for our brothers and sisters, even if they have different religious ideas or different skin-colors; all people are our brothers and sisters now.
Without revenge, give and forgive graciously without resentment. Have compassion for everyone and do the right thing to contribute to healing and peace. The time has come to work together right there were you live and work in your everyday life. Be kind and communicate with sensitivity and a willingness to exchange understanding and insight into each other’s wounds and hearts.
Love and Blessings to you all,