The art of tolerance

global flagThe media had a heyday with this year’s anniversary of 9-11. Somehow the pastor of a small church in Florida became their primary agenda and the news spread far and wide, igniting old fears that burned brighter than the possibility of a holy book in flames. As with any of these stories that gain too much attention, I have to question why the media performed their attention-manipulation game in the past few weeks. It seems politically transparent; the reminder of an old wound and the fears revisited right before an election. But it also reveals a shift occurring; the shift to a more united global community. How is this time capsule of “terrorism” significant to change? Let me share something.

The threat of powerlessness provokes fear. When up against the border of change – the crossing point to the new – the fearful will rant, rave, manipulate and destroy in order to protect themselves. Why? Because they feel threatened. Violence is the last-ditch effort of a fearful mind. The manipulation of a nation’s collective mind and its perception of the world is a product of fear. When change is detected, when the possibility of a new way of thinking starts to gain some ground, the fearful will do everything in their power to maintain their way of life. This has been going on for years in the United States, and 9-11 was the ultimate power-grab by the folks who believe they are untouchable. Reminding us of it nine years later in this manipulative and petty way through the media is disgraceful.

Many people expressed their frustration with the media’s handling of the Gainesville Pastor.  Luckily I don’t own a fear generator (TV), but my online pals love to talk about the news.  My tweets and posts “Send the pastor and his followers love, light, and tolerance. May they well up with compassion and douse the flames of their misunderstanding” were met with some resistance. I don’t condone deliberate cruelty of any kind. Burning something that others feel is sacred for the sake of vengeance is a showy act of righteousness. There is a lot of judgment connected to these organized religions, on both sides of this conflict. Compassion is the only solution here, all else is propaganda for fear.

I received emails reminding me to fly the US flag this weekend “in memory of.” Hear me properly:  I have no problem with people honoring fallen firefighters or victims of a tragedy. But the added implications of “never forget” and blind nationalism slow our progress toward peace. And peace should always be our goal. Our endgame should not be to annihilate our enemies, but to gain understanding and listen before we react.  Again, the media is one-sided on these issues. The US has done so much damage around the globe that they never discuss. I realize it would be difficult for the media to stir up fears if they gave equal time to our own greed and violence. Since it is unlikely that they’ll be changing their plan, it is up to us to question their agenda, story by story, commercial by commercial, political scandal by political scandal. We must be able to see what is reality and what is manipulation. Especially as artists, we need perspective and vision if we are to create authentically and not be maneuvered into false agendas.

Love is the only route to lasting peace. Only compassion can dissolve anxieties and assist change. The respect you desire for your own values and beliefs can only be received when you respect the values and beliefs of others. True faith is centered and safe in the heart; it cannot be threatened by the actions of another. True faith in God is faith in love itself. Righteousness and judgment only attract anger from others who entertain righteousness and judgment. When will the population understand this?

Fear cannot live without a mirror of itself in its victim. It needs your attention to survive. When you are centered in love; in global, universal love; tolerance becomes a quest for understanding each other. Compassion counteracts the efforts of fear, removes the mirror, and makes you impenetrable to negativity. Without negativity, without the implant of fear in the collective mind, enemies become allies and communication overpowers conflict. When we live this truth, the threat of fear dissolves in the light of love.