“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for your in its hands.
You seek problems because you need their gifts.” Illusions – Richard Bach
I sent the essay “Problems and Gifts” out in May, with my plan to send out Part Two the following month. Editing a book (not mine) and other factors intervened.
I wanted to look at the many problems facing our planet, and see what the gift – the silver lining – was.
I wrote down some of the issues that had gotten my attention. War – forty conflicts on Earth as I write this; corruption in politics; greed in almost every corner of the business sector; medicine for profit, with pharmaceuticals leading the pack; energy; education; scientists being muzzled in the press; anyone trying to tell the truth being muzzled or discredited; young people feeling a lack of purpose; racism, voter suppression, nationalism, religion in politics, politics in religion, extremism, hatred of the “other,” greed, malice, social media lies and distortions; economic inequities, and despair.
As I wrote in the last essay: “Gifts? Are you kidding me?”
But then a light dawned. (Chorus raises voices, stage left…) I had a realization, and it really was the answer to my first question: What IS the problem on planet Earth? And the voice inside me began to spill out the answer: All the problems are NOT the problem. Every one of them is a symptom of ONE PROBLEM. In fact, I had already sort of written the idea for this in January. I guess it just wouldn’t go away; this problem has been out there for a loooong time. Forever.
One problem makes the solution simple, yet at the same time, just about impossible to implement. Simple but not easy. Then again, the problem has created so many symptoms, of course the solution will not be easy. But it is simple.
Here is a hint: How could we, a species with minds that supposedly have a huge capacity for understanding and communication, have come to the point where communication has become more and more solid, escalating from yelling and accusations, to bullets and bombs? Eventually misinformation via cyber crime of global magnitude has turned truth up on its end. We have come to the point where “understanding” comes down to grasping only one viewpoint, and each one holds tightly to that viewpoint, lest it be threatened by – truth!
We have misused our minds, and abused our creative imaginations by failing to look clearly at the issues. Limited viewpoints close off any opportunity to see a wider picture, or consider another view. Thus – SEPARATION. Which is the problem.
SEPARATION. We, one entire species, have split off into tiny pods of special interest, special wants, special beliefs, and special situations, and we have become so disparate that we cannot have a meeting of the minds. Pitiful, but true.
None of us belongs to the human race any more. We belong to special groups all around the globe. We have lost our capacity to communicate honestly, with integrity, because we are so distrustful, certain that if the other guy wins, we lose. And that is a major part of the problem. Our whole system is set up so that one has to lose so another can win. We are separate, not equal, and not willing to give an inch, not even if it were to save the world. Everyone wants to be right, and no one is happy. That’s because everyone would rather be right than happy.
And this is not just about countries and politics. It is about families, neighbors, distrust and dislike among all sectors of society. So what is the solution then?
The answer has been staring at us all along, and we have been led systematically down the path of mistrust and separation by those who can profit from our confusion. (Please note the word profit, a chief instigator in this nefarious scenario. And I am not just talking about monetary profit, but power profit as well.)
The solution to the problems on this planet are not outside us, though it seems as if they are. If only we could fix the corruption in politics, or change the way the economy is run, or fix the problems regarding ecology and the sane and sensible use of our planet’s resources – then things would get better.
But no – none of those will get solved , because they are just symptoms of separation. Until we use the solutions that are inside us, and bring out our best selves to deal with our ONE PROBLEM – SEPARATION, nothing will be repaired, and we as a planetary species will continue until we destroy ourselves.
So the answer to the dilemma of separation happens to be the same one from “Problems and Gifts – Part I) The answer is inside us. It is the strength and integrity and sense of purpose we all carry within us, but which has been supplanted by all the divisive influences around us.
The answer looks like three answers, but they really go hand in hand:
Communication Understanding Love
True, honest communication leads to understanding, which leads to love and acceptance. When we learn that there is no other, that we are all in this together, we can finally drop all the defenses we’ve built up, and get to work reuniting our human race, finding positive cures for our ills.
“Oh please,” you say. “Understanding and love? Airy fairy bull!” (Uh – you might want to read the sentence above where I wrote about total destruction of the human race. If you think I’m airy fairy, you’ve got the wrong person.)
People don’t even understand what love is, and they don’t really get what “understanding” is, either. People will avoid these two ideas, dismissing them in order to avoid confronting the truth, so they can keep their ideas intact.
There’s actually a deep, esoteric meaning to the word understanding. When we understand, we “grasp the meaning,” we “comprehend,” we “get it.” And, when it comes to people, true understanding leads to love.
We’ve all had those moments, maybe sitting in a classroom, or reading something, and the light dawns. “Oh! I get it! I get it! And once you have that understanding no one can ever take it away from you. Things are clear, a light dawns. You see, and not just with your eyes, but with your mind. The light shines, and darkness disappears. You understand. This could just as easily refer to a complex mathematical problem as it could to someone’s behavior. Or to one segment of the whole human race. One moment there’s a mystery; the next, it’s all clear. And once you see it, its yours forever. Someone is a mystery who drives you crazy; the next moment, you understand what they’re about, and you get it. You get them!
What is missing in our world is understanding of one another, which has led to separation. It has led to a complete breakdown in our love and caring for one another. The “most advanced species on the planet” kills its own each day, destroys the land and the oceans and even our own air. We argue with one another because we do not understand each other – or, for that matter, ourselves – and because we do not understand each other we do not know how to communicate with each other, embrace each other and help each other. And we fail to recognize that even as we are different, we are all the same. Our differences do not count; our similarities, our sameness, should bind us in understanding.
But because most people would rather be right than happy, they will sacrifice Earth and everyone on it, simply because they do not understand. In fact, they do not even understand themselves, or why they are so filled with anger and hate. (Note the above comment about profit – those in power profit from this dilemma. If we look at the problem squarely, we will be able to regain our own power and “become who we can be, not who we are”.*)
Just like the people in “Problems and Gifts, Part I”, the solution to the problems that beset our human race and Planet Earth is inside us. For starters, we need to drop the weapons from our hands and we need to start learning how to put our hands out to help and to heal..
How many times have you had an argument with someone and then found out later it was based on a total misunderstanding. Here’s a clue: almost all arguments are based on misunderstandings. This means between individuals, countries, organizations. And the other thing that causes arguments is the deep-rooted refusal to take the time to look at another’s point of view. “My way or the highway,” is the byword for all those who think their religion, political viewpoint, special opinion or preference is the only one that counts. We absolutely refuse to see that maybe someone’s idea of what is of benefit has value.
But – when you are able to understand someone, and see that there can be different views, but you are still connected by your humanity, then you are capable of not just understanding. You become capable of love. Why? Because love is NOT an airy-fairy notion. Love is a deep-rooted sense of connection with another. It can be created by simply finding out how someone else sees the world, and coming to see the world through their eyes.
This essay has gone on too long, but I think the picture is clear. And, by the way, you don’t have to think of this as just a way to solve the world’s problems. Start out with your own life, your own family. That neighbor you just cannot stand? Your cousin who has driven you crazy with her obsession with her looks? What is behind their behavior? What do you see that so troubles you that you cannot find a way to communicate?
Find some common ground. Find a way to connect with someone in your own life, and see how well you do. It starts there.
I may have to write more on this…it’s a big topic. To me, it might be the only topic.