How To Respond With Love

Francisco "Pancho" Ramos Stierle meditates as police arrest him Monday. He had declined orders to leave. Photo: Noah Berger

THE MISTAKE WE MAKE is thinking the corporations are separate from us. The mistake we make is thinking that corruption is only a political issue. The mistake we make is thinking that by eliminating the system we eliminate the problem. It’s true we live in a world dominated and exploited by the few, and it’s true that the systems we live by no longer support us; but it’s also true that there is a deeper cause at play…

The very consciousness which objectifies life as a means to an end – as an exploitable commodity – is the very same mindset which seeks to hate, condemn, and fight these structures of power. But we cannot fight violence with violence or create peace through war. Even those we oppose are our brothers and sisters, and only a consciousness which sees this can create another way.

Without a deep realization of our unity with all of life, including those behind the systems which exploit us, then we will simply create more of the same. For it is fear and separateness which create systems that dominate and destroy.

So in our willingness to stand up for what we believe in, there must be a deeper understanding of our role. Our path is one of great responsibility and reverence for all of life. We must hold our outrage and self righteousness within the truth that knows the way. We must surrender our confusion to love and our minds to our hearts. We must be clear that the role we play through occupation is a tool and never an identity.

If we fail to do this we may lose ourselves in conflict. We may burnout from anger and deplete ourselves through hate. We may fight with those that can help us and repel those we seek to inspire. So let us realize that real change occurs within the hearts of each of us. Can we face the darkness within our own minds, or will we project it onto those we oppose?

I have watched people react with judgment and divisiveness, and I have watched people respond with love and unity. I have watched people defend a system which destroys for profit, and I have watched people envision a way of living that works in harmony with all of life. I have watched people react with anger and outrage, and I have watched people respond with compassion and understanding. I have watched people react with violence and oppression, and I have watched people respond with peace and empowerment.

We need to live our dream now and create our future now. It’s not enough to say we want peace, whilst responding to injustice with violence; and it’s not enough to fight against something without creating what we’re for. Every movement, cause, and occupation is a living example of what’s possible globally. Every community which faces its problems with love and awareness demonstrates this potential. And every individual who chooses to embrace their pain, rather than deny it, provides hope and possibility for the collective.

Peaceful action arises from peace itself, justice from justice, and love from love. Do not become that which you protest against. Discover that change is now and within you, and not as some future promise. Be that which you desire, that which you’re for, and that which we need. Discover it’s here already and not withheld or lost. Discover you are that and share it – there’s no need to demand it with tears. Let your movements express this change, not fight against its lack. Let your actions arise from this change, not lead you further from it.

So let us approach those who write the rules of oppression with astounding compassion and enlightened respect. Let us set aside our beliefs for open and honest communication. And let us occupy the spaces that bind us with light in our eyes and love in our hearts. We don’t have to agree with someone to hear them, and we don’t have to like them to respect them. But we must always be the change we wish to see. Let us begin here and now – with the seeds of war we perpetuate. Let us begin with ourselves – the only thing we control. Are you in peace when you shout for peace? Do you embody what you demand?

If we respond with judgment they will oppress us. If we respond with opposition they will fight us. If we respond with violence they will destroy us. But if we respond with love, compassion, and understanding; there will be no power for them to infiltrate, no hate for them to corrupt, no violence for them to imprison.

In the face of love they will be powerless, in the face of compassion they will be confused, in the face of understanding they will be dumbstruck. In the power of love their love of power will seem obsolete and futile. This is the only thing they don’t know how to fight, and this is the only thing that can create a future worth fighting for.

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Georgia Simone Servant of love, artist of words, sacred activist. Hopelessly devoted to sharing movements of love, and supporting you on your journey into the heart: www.lovemovements.com

What will it take? [Poem]

Photo: Akbar Sim

What it will take
Is a resistance to the system that we’ve come to embrace
For no other reason than just because it is
For resistance is to question what we’ve been led to believe
Not necessarily lies, but stories
Stories that have become truths in the synapses of our minds
Bonds so tight that even though we recognize them we still
Can’t break free.

But recognition is where it all begins
When questions and childlike innocence form the stem that grows up and out
Piercing through convention and unimagination
Like the roots of a tree busting through concrete sidewalks and building foundations
The story has an end, like all stories do
But this story ain’t a fairytale
The princess doesn’t get the prince
The frog stays a frog
The witch eats the kids
And this is OK because coming right behind it is something new
Truth, love, honesty, connection, vulnerability
Words that have lost meaning amidst
The six o’clock news, Facebook, and pornography.

These words are on the lips of a new generation
As well as an old generation
Because wisdom has no age limitations
The awakened spirit is not exclusive to an esoteric crowd jockeying for position
They’re on the lips of teachers, doctors, and bus drivers
Construction workers, soldiers, and the unemployed
Those who get scowled at to, “Get a job, hippie!”
And, even if they don’t know it yet, they’re on the lips of
Those who do the scowling.

Because there is no “us” and “them”
Imagine:
Lakes vs. clouds
Flowers vs. mountains
The moon vs. the earth
The separation is causing annihilation
We must reconvene on the scene
Where community is the top priority
And where we stare in each others’ eyes
With understanding and compassion
And fashion for ourselves
A new reality.

Carlo Alcos