Friday, August 19, 2011

Diverging Paths - Some Thoughts about Community

There are three major sources of Support, Wisdom, Love, Truth and Beauty in my life…. sources of Communion in the secular sense of the word. They are the Dances of Universal Peace, the Michael Teachings, and my own local  “home” community. And going on simultaneously in all three there have recently been very similar events taking place, all within the context of online communications via Yahoogroups, including a local yahoogroup that I moderate, a Ning community, and some overlapping activity in Facebook discussions. These three similar situations all involved one member who was communicating in ways that others found to be rude, abusive, arrogant and manipulative. The ones who were behaving in those ways also felt that they were “right” in what they said, and that the responses they received from others were – yes – rude, abusive, arrogant and manipulative. We are such mirrors for each other!

In all cases, the final outcome of the situations have been that the person perceived by others in the community to be behaving abusively had to be removed from those groups, because they refused to honor the requests from others for attitude adjustments, mediation, or simple good manners – the Golden Rule of treating others as one wishes to be treated.

It has been a challenge for those making the decisions to remove those persons from the groups because in all cases, the desire or goal of all three groups is the development of unity, cooperative community sharing, and the raising of consciousness. We are all practicing Agape to the best of our ability. So we are faced with the conundrum of how to treat one who is behaving like a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum, realizing that those persons are probably very unhappy, possibly psychologically damaged individuals who need healing, and the necessity – and indeed even the right – to protect ourselves and the extended family of our community – from further anger, hurt, disharmony, and emotional abuse.

One person used the analogy of having a nice party in your home, and in comes someone who starts fighting with your guests, yelling insults and denouncing or even threatening the other people there. In that case we would all most likely choose to escort that person to the door, in order to protect ourselves and our families from an abusive and perhaps even dangerous person.

Some people felt that those angry people should be allowed to continue to “rant on” in the name of freedom of speech. But what good would that do? It would simply bring everyone in the community into a state of disharmony and discomfort.

I believe we are called upon to love every being to the best of our ability. I believe that means we wish that person well, hoping they will find their way to being happier, more easy-going people, and we offer to help if they are open to being helped. I believe it’s appropriate to pray for those who are angry, belligerent and rudely abusive. That would be the practice of unconditional love. I don’t believe unconditional love means unconditional acceptance of all behaviors. I believe we have the right to remove abusive people from our homes, our families or our community groups, for the greater good of the whole.

Those who are behaving in ways that are damaging to others may not realize what they are doing, but they are, nevertheless, adult human beings, and free-will beings, who have made choices that have damaging consequences for themselves and others. They are responsible for their own choices, whether those choices were made consciously or unconsciously, based upon previous psychologically damaging events in their own personal history.

These days we are trying to behave in loving ways towards all people – but in practicing that goal, many of us have lost the ability to establish healthy boundaries around ourselves. It’s OK to say NO! I will not allow myself (family/community) to be treated abusively!

That is the reverse image in that mirror of life.

Sometimes tough choices must be made and we must take responsibility for our own well-being, instead of allowing ourselves to be the victims of another person’s hostility.
Shakura Cathryn
"Everyday ask yourself the question, 'Do I want to experience Peace of Mind or do I want to experience Conflict?'" ~Gerald Jampolsky
"To be right or happy, that is the question. Neither can be a mistake, but only one can bring True Peace." ~Author unknown to me.
"The highest expression of love is respect." ~Hazrat Inayat Khan
"The universe is like a dome: it vibrates to that which you say in it, and echoes the same back to you.” ~Hazrat Inayat Khan