People are not all good or all bad. Even pedophiles. Even murderers. We are all capable of incredible light and love and unimaginable darkness. Although some people work hard to portray perfection by hiding aspects of themselves, or by doing anything to avoid disapproval - we all have a shadow side.
I have been reminded of this today: i've been reminded how quickly perception can turn into "reality" and how we see only what we want to see. Once my belief fuses with my perception (or vice versa) all external data from the world is filtered through this lens: and I see only that. Everywhere. So I cease to really see you for who you actually are - a complicated, perfectly imperfect human - and can only see my version of you based on the limited data I have about you (your behaviour), passed through my very own psychological lens made up of my beliefs, socialisation and values - originating mainly from my formative years (my interpretation).
If I believe my own hype, I become trapped in the illusion of my construct, my story. I become rigid, inflexible, judgemental and feel either "better than" or "less than" you. This is the beginning of our separation and isolation. It is the start of this global amnesia that forgets we are more same than we are different.
Now this doesn't mean that I can't be outraged by your behaviour. It doesn't mean that I have to agree or approve of what you've done. It doesn't mean that I don't hold you accountable. It does mean that I remember you are still a human. Beneath all the shitty, yucky behaviour.
It is a very remarkable thing when we can truly stand in the shoes of another. Truly. Open heartedly. Vulnerably. And it is even more remarkable when we can stand in the shoes of someone we don't like, someone who we perceive has harmed us or others in some way. Although we can't do this until we stand in our own shoes and honour our own truth. Until we can be with our own shadow.
Standing in another person’s shoes is not an action we do for them. We do this so we can bring our own hearts back to peace. We do this for our own freedom, so we can let go and heal. So the world can be softer, gentler and more loving.
This morning I immersed myself in the life and experience of another human being. I sat in meditation in what I imagined was his life: the same family, parents, sibling position, education, defence mechanisms, losses, triumphs, addictions, betrayals, secrets, trauma, pains, dreams, love, hate, the same friendships, the same fears and so on - and eventually I understood in my heart (not my head) that we are all wounded to some degree and we are all trying to find our way home.
I will never understand how someone can harm an innocent child, or take a life because I am not a pedophile or a murderer. I am allowed to feel moral outrage about it. I am allowed to choose not to have people that cause that level of harm in my life AND I do understand that they are wounded, just like me and the other 7 billion people on the planet.