Love in the Presence of Fear and Hatred
Within the privacy of our own consciousness, we must ask ourselves: “What is right relationship to the situation of pain and sorrow that has now been created once again? What is right relationship to the shooting of Jacob Blake and to the protests that have occurred as a result?”
With the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, we witness, horrified and saddened, something that we thought could not happen in the same way again, following the death of George Floyd. Yet, it has happened. This shooting with its apparent physically crippling effect, has once again awakened the feelings of rage and outrage in this nation at the treatment of black persons. In some, it has served as an incentive to instigate riots and vandalism, not as a form of protest, but as a form of generating increased agitation within the public at large.
When emotions run high, when they affect millions of people, we feel them coursing through us and think that they are our own when they are only partly our own. And because the current of collective emotion is so strong and for the most part indistinguishable from our own feeling-response, we lose sight of the choice that we have in each situation and in each moment about how to feel.
We may not think we are affected by these mass currents, influenced by energies that are invisible, but we are. As a result, we must work with greater diligence to separate ourselves. Within the privacy of our own consciousness, we must ask ourselves: “What is right relationship to this situation of pain and sorrow that has now been created once again? What is right relationship to the shooting of Jacob Blake and to the protests that have occurred as a result?
We have a choice concerning how we feel. We may start out feeling one way, yet, our deep decision to stand for light and love and to have our responses be helpful to others rather than contributing to greater harm, can lead us in the right direction. First, we must believe that we have a choice.
In a time in which fear, hatred, and the lesser forms of these that are anxiety and anger are everpresent and widespread, we have a choice. Love is a choice that we can make and that we must make. Love is the only choice that will not add more fuel to a fire that is already becoming a conflagration, and that has already seized the hearts of those who are more available to thoughts of violence and the actions which follow from these thoughts.
Love is the water that quenches the fire, and whether it appears only in our own hearts or can be transmitted to others in a visible way, it is the universal force of good over which evil has no power. For this reason, love transforms, not through weakness but through strength. Not through visible force, but through invisible gentleness.
Choosing to love in the presence of fear, hatred, and the demonization of certain groups by other groups is a task for every being who desires to serve the light. Love does not exclude others based on the content of another person’s ideas, nor does it exclude others because they return only hatred and animosity. Love only asks for the opportunity to love more.
Love also does not exclude the desire for right action, or the desire that harm to others be prevented. It is not passive or inert. But the actions that it leads to are not against something, but rather for something. By taking a stand for the truth it holds, it shows the way toward human betterment.
Love does not participate in the increase of chaos through adding to the currents of fear and antagonism that are present. Rather, it seeks to see the light within the darkness, wherever it may appear. For this reason, love does not judge others with harshness who disagree with one’s own point of view, but sees the purity of idealism that may be the core truth of one who has followed a different direction, and may be influenced by emotional currents that are fearful and hateful.
In a time of fear and hatred, the choice for love is the single most important choice that the heart can make. One must undertake this choice with every fiber of one’s being, for the forces arrayed to defeat such a choice are strong and are strengthening, and those who commit themselves to remaining faithful to love are the healers of the world.