Where the Smart Money Is

“Via negativa” isn’t a commonly used term, but it is one we see at work quite a bit.  It means “a way of describing something by saying what it is not.”  Darkness is a good example; darkness doesn’t have any properties of its own.  It is understood by what it isn’t:  light.

The darkness we have seen on the faces and signs and heard in the shouts of people espousing hate and division these past days doesn’t really have any properties of its own.  What we see in action is a void – the absence of light, love and unity.

There are only two emotions in human experience:  fear and love.  Fear isn’t the opposite of love; it’s the absence of love.  Fear separates; love unites.  When love is absent, the separation of fear demands self-protection in the form of attack, destruction and anarchy.  When love is present, unity compels us to live with compassion, growth and order.  We destroy or we build; we separate or we unify.

Throughout the ages, unity has worked; separation has not.  Animals survive and thrive when they stick together for food, safety and shelter.  Those who separate are vulnerable, weakened, exposed.  We have seen humanity progress the same way – cooperation and sharing bring about discoveries and advances in our wellbeing; unless we work together, our growth slows to a crawl.

Separation in human terms compels us to fear the “other.”  We see them as a threat:  so we judge, condemn, label, ostracize.   Unity shows us there is no “other,” no “them.” So we connect, share, cooperate; wisdom traditions are being backed up by science as we come to realize this.  Knowing this distinction, we can create environments of growth, choosing to preserve “us.” Or we can create environments of destruction, impeding our own progress.  Unity moves us all forward; separation fragments and weakens us all.

We can carry hate in our hearts and live in fear, darkness and separation or we can carry love in our hearts and live in love, light and unity.  Fear or love; separation or unity.  We can choose.

The smart money is on unity.

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“Forgiveness has deeper rewards than excusing someone for how they have hurt us. The deeper healing comes in the exchange of our resentments for inner freedom. At last, the wound, even if never acknowledged by the other person can heal, and our life can continue.” – Mark Nepo