Decades ago I attended a Faith and Resistance retreat in preparation for an action of nonviolent civil disobedience protesting the nuclear arms race. During the retreat we did role plays to prepare ourselves for the action, which we would carry out on an Air Force Base in Wyoming. We practiced maintaining a stance of nonviolence in the face of people screaming at us, shoving us, and threatening us.
We also heard from several insightful speakers, one of whom was a nun whose words of caution have stayed with me all these years. She told us, “The danger in confronting evil is that it brings out the evil in us.”
At this point in my life I would use a different vocabulary. Rather than evil I would say unconsciousness, or the shadow, or the ego-mind, but the message is the same. When we attempt to confront something that we see as harmful and destructive, the danger is that we become the very thing we want to vanquish.
When we see people attacking, or come under attack ourselves, we will want to attack. When we see people vilifying others, we become tempted to vilify the vilifiers. When we see people being dehumanized, we will want to dehumanize those we deem responsible.
But now, in this time of profound planetary change, we are being called to take a great leap, the greatest leap humankind has ever had to make: to abide in the Reality of Love, no matter what.
Why this? Why now? Because the world we had created for ourselves was based on the fallacy of separateness, and it was inherently unsustainable. We are beginning to see that now, especially as we face the devastating environmental consequences of our story of separateness. It is beginning to dawn on us that the only future available to us is a world based upon the fundamental truth of interconnectedness and interdependence. In other words, a world based in Love.
The great task now before us is to relinquish once and for all the notion of ourselves as separate selves that has given rise to all the destructive patterns that have become so evident—the racism, xenophobia, misogyny, wealth disparity, assault on the natural world.
What makes this task so challenging is that it allows for no exceptions. Love encompasses all that is, including those we have deemed to be the “enemy.”
Love doesn’t banish anyone or anything, because it can’t. Its absolute, inviolable universality is what makes it Love. And its inviolable nature, the fact that it cannot be fractured no matter how we mortals may try, is the essence of its power.
We are in time of intensifying shadow tendencies, but this is also a time of an accelerating awakening to the truth of oneness, and the awakened consciousness doesn’t do battle with the shadow. It enfolds it in the light of Love. It welcomes back all the banished parts of ourselves and one another so that we can at last experience the wholeness that is our birthright.
Love is ultimately all there is, and we are powerless to rend it and powerless to exile ourselves from it. Our attempt to do so has been the human egoic drama—our collective dream—a drama that is at last approaching its denouement as we begin to return to the Love that, truly, we never left.