“Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss whatever insults your own soul.” ~Walt Whitman
Watching Les Miserables with my sons recently I was deeply impressed by the opening scenes. After the ex-convict Jean Valjean stole from Bishop Myriel he was given a chance at redemption.
A new sense of faith and purpose dawned as Valjean’s heart opened, touched by the Bishop’s unwavering trust in love and the soul’s basic goodness.
This message of Les Miserables is the same message that Jesus taught, as well as the Buddha. It’s the central theme of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn & Walt Whitman’s poetry.
It’s what Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Einstein, Bishop Tutu, the Dalai Lama and many others have spoken of. I think most of us had close friends, teachers, grandmothers, uncles, neighbors or parents who did their best to live this way. In fact, I think most of us try.
“To believe in something and not to live it is dishonest.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
And yet, why does the human family as a whole keep resisting this shift in consciousness that the wisest among us have taught and modeled, for over two millenniums?
Over and over they have told us that all must be forgiven, that enemies are actually our sisters and brothers, that love and kindness will transform people. That mistrust, greed, selfishness, violence, materialism and hatred sow nothing but suffering.
Why is it taking so long for the Paradigm of Love- that the vast majority of humans say they wish for– to be applied wisely and widely? Why do we keep putting off the peaceful transformation of our world?
I’ve met very few people who don’t believe in the power of love, yet just as few who trust love and apply it completely. Why do we lack that Faith?
Why do we keep throwing nonviolent people into prisons, building weapons of mass destruction, making wars, celebrating greed and materialism, destroying rain forests and ignoring poverty?
Why do so many still resist living by the wisdom that’s at the core of all our religions, our best poetry, literature and art? Why do we continue to engage in and contribute to actions that insult our own souls?
There are many complex problems in our world that seem difficult or next to impossible to solve. Yet in most cases the solution is quite simple- what is needed is for Civilization’s guiding paradigm to shift.
That’s all that is needed. Once enough of us open our hearts and Trust in Love- above all else– our own deepest wisdom will creatively guide our decision-making and show us the way.