Us and Them

I should say upfront that I’m one of those people. I believe in and seek out spirituality. This takes the form of Astrology, Angels, Earth energy, ancient religious/spiritual texts, and energy healing. I don’t just believe in them, I use many of these tools to navigate my life. I’ve tried some crazy things on the path to self-improvement. I’ve had some incredible experiences and some that while well meaning, resulted in additional chaos. Still, I was created with this chip. It’s in my DNA. Some of my earliest memories confirm that I look to something bigger to explain my existence. I have a difficult time accepting things at face value.

Therefore, the concept of “Us and Them” is one I’m hoping we can eradicate. Unity sounds like a great idea. It’s a beautiful word and a powerful consciousness to work toward. But at times, I feel the “Us and Them” mentality is impermeable*.

*Here I want to change the word and to versus – no – vs.  I think the abbreviated version of the word indicates a battle. Both sides have something to prove. Both push and fight for rightness and vindication.

Let’s make a list:

Rich vs. Poor

Race vs. Race

Religion vs. Religion

Truth vs. Lies

North vs. South

East vs. West

STEM vs. Fine Arts

I imagine you’ll add a few. Separation is afoot.

I was watching a class last week, and the teacher described living a spiritual life as watching life with subtitles. The image landed. I’ll experience a day designed solely to piss me off: crazy, life-threatening drivers, an unexpected bill, an argument with a loved one, and long wait times or numerous, annoying obstacles. On good days, my thoughts run something like: Well, it’s the first day of Cancer, or there were 3 earthquakes last week, or it’s a Full Moon and last night we had an Eclipse. I seek the bigger picture. Sometimes I feel it comes with a price. The battle rages with knowing there is an explanation for chaos around you, vs. not having a negative reaction to the chaos around you.

Things happen in life that are incomprehensible. Trying to look at a situation based on facts, always looking for the truth, means relinquishing judgments that I’m quite comfortable with. A contemporary example is it’s easier to view a Republican Senator as a misogynist based on an internet meme versus researching the claims from numerous sources and then making a personal conclusion. On bad days, this is the tape: Well, I’ve seen this like 5 times today, this must be true. That’s the whole story, I’m sure of it. It must be true if this person is posting it. I can’t believe this guy would do that…before long I’m anxious, angry, and disenfranchised. Separate. I begin to see nothing but the flaws around me. Things start to piss me off.

I had a friend tell me once that there is no “Us vs. Them.” He was responding to my frustrations about communication in my workplace. I was up in arms. Why doesn’t this person take responsibility instead of running every decision through the higher-ups? Why aren’t our ideas being utilized? Why all this change? My friend’s demeanor remained calm as he reminded me that while we are based in different geographical locations, we are a part of one organization working toward the same goals. “There is no Us vs. Them.”

My perspective expanded in that moment. I got a widescreen slow pan of my current movie and saw how through my own ignorance and resistance to change, I had created unnecessary separation. I had created pain for myself. I was upset and committed to remaining so. The truth? Half of the things I was pissed off about weren’t even true.

I want to say that I am far from enlightened. I am self-aware, and I have a desire to be a positive force in the world. I hope that after I finish writing this, I’ll be able to cross one line from the list of “Us vs. Them” that I’ve acquired. But I don’t think it will be easy.

 

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