Ram Dass and Eckhart Tolle hosted their first ever joint lecture this year. I'm watching it right this second on the Bright Star Events website. Round about minute 38 Ram Dass said something that made me pause the video and write a blog post! I had no idea what to expect from him as I haven't read his books. He was going on about the soul being awareness, and how we need to love everyone, putting us in a state of loving awareness. Ram Dass was also quick to point out that the ego gets in the way of us truly loving everyone:
"When [his guru] said to me 'love everybody' I first of all, the politicians? ... love them? I can't, I mean, certain ones I can bear." He then goes on to say "that was my ego, judging, judging, judging. The soul doesn't judge."
I really struggle with this one. Is it possible to love crooked politicians and violent criminals? Though I'm all healerly in London; when I go home to Mexico its hard to stay neutral. You hear lots of stories about drug violence, extorsion, kidnappings, home invasions, etc. The disturbing stories aren't the ones you see on the news; it's the family friend who was taken from her home in the middle of the night. Or the uncle who was snatched after he refused to pay anti-kidnapping insurance to his local drug runners. Though my heart tells me most Mexicans are honest people, the few rotten apples make it an unpleasant place to live.
There comes a time when an "us vs. them" mentality starts to form in the national consciousness; news is good, bad or neutral depending on who was killed. Military being killed is always deplorable; they have a tough job and though most of us would rather not have a drug war, we do empathise with the brave men fighting it. If the news is that 20-30 cartel members were executed by a rival gang - its not good, but at least there are fewer criminals on the street. If no innocent bystanders were hurt it might even be good. To me this is the real tragedy; we've gotten to a point where one life is less valuable than another. For us, an "honest man's" life is valuable, the criminal's is not. For them, it's the other way around.
Why does violence become so common in the first place? I find it hard to believe that people are just plain evil. My bet is on poverty, financial inequality, and an undercurrent of resentment, anger and entitlement (no matter the cost). For a small minority, these feelings justify a violent lifestyle. Though initially I wasn't inclined to send healing to these violent souls; my angels tell me it is the right thing to do. It's all I can do. This was when I realised that I need to care about them, not because the individual means anything to me, but because we're all in it together. It's a case of dysfunctional oneness; when the criminals act up, it hurts everyone. The truth is, not even criminals want violence in their backyard. Puerto Vallarta is rumoured to be the safest beach city because that is where the cartel leaders have their weekend getaways. We all value peace.
Beyond this, I also get the sense that poverty and inequality are at the root of all the problems Mexico faces. The government is supposed to be working on this, and hopefully new president Enrique Pena Nieto will do a good job of it. There is also a responsibility with every individual; we can all facilitate the healing and recovery process by making a genuine effort to help those less fortunate. This would also help allay feelings of resentment and anger, which are often palpable on the street. It is hard to be angry when people know others really do care. Again, I'm back to poverty and a lack of empathy as the No 1 problem for the country. Mexico is a good case study; though we can look at global issues in the same light. Lack of empathy and "us vs them" mentalities create lots of havoc.