There is a lot of discussion these days about the rights of individuals within a society. So many people are upset about one thing or another—masks, vaccines, voting rights, human rights, economic inequality. Beliefs can divide as well as unite. At times it becomes “self” vs. “others,” “me” vs. “them”; some people start to believe in conspiracies. There is often fear in these conflicts—fear of difference, fear of the world beyond the self. When people are frightened, they close doors and claim their “sovereignty.” Or they fall into the trap of hating others, and this is how wars begin. If people opened their hearts and arms, we could live in a world where everyone has both freedom and rights (without infringing on others’ rights).
Is this possible? How do we respond to the anger and fear arising now? Perhaps we could begin by focusing on empathy and kindness. These basic human values are sometimes forgotten along the way. What do we want, as a people, as a planet? Peace on Earth? As long as we are trying to convince someone else that our way is “right,” we will never live in a peaceful world. Nothing is just one thing. And no one person can stand alone and survive without the support of a caring community. You and I may not agree on anything, but can we accept that and expand into something greater, like the willingness to allow difference? Universal peace begins in each of our lives, in each of our hearts.