Today we live in a very different and difficult time. On one level that is part of our constant process of change and evolution, and in that process deep and often hidden issues come to the surface. When these issues are viewed from an unaware perspective they can appear alarming, as we are hearing from several directions this month.
An issue showing up right now is anger and even violence against people who we blame for not caring for us. This dynamic may be hidden from us personally, but certainly shows up in our society as attacks against women as well as governments and society in general. It is reported that cases of domestic violence have increased considerably during lockdown, along with levels of anti-establishment sentiments in strong and destabilising conspiracy theories. Nowhere is this more obvious than in America today. Trump’s base seems incredibly loyal, and perhaps that is because he created the mirage of caring for them. That desire for someone to care for us, make everything right for us, seems such a core driver in today’s world.
In personal relationships this feeling of not being cared for creates much dysfunction and aggression, often erupting into rage and threatened if not actual violence. ‘You don’t care for me’, is certainly a common accusation in its many forms during relationship conflicts. Yet the core of it seems to go back to grievances against our mothers, that they did not take care of us correctly or sufficiently or even at all. Many of us then transfer that old feeling into our present and see our partners as doing the same thing, which then justifies our responses.
The pandemic appears to have exaggerated this dynamic and maybe in the future we will see it as a pandemic not of a virus but a pandemic of not caring. And perhaps it is not only on a personal level but reflects all the way up through our attitude to society and to the planet itself. Maybe the lesson of this time is for us to learn to care: to care for ourselves, to care for others and to care for the planet.
To achieve this we must firstly recognised how we have projected out onto others our guilt of lack of caring. We then move towards forgiving others for their perceived lack of caring, and recognise it is we who have come to do the caring. It is up to us to bring the care and the love for others and for the world we inhabit. Taking others and life for granted will no longer suffice and the situation is such that at this time we are all being called to stand up for ourselves and for others. When we learn to care we will be the ones walking into situations when others may be choosing to walk out. Then we begin the path to devotion, and it is that ability to devote ourselves to others that becomes the bedrock of our happiness and fulfilment.
What is being asked of us is devotion and attentiveness, plus our willingness to express our love and care to others as we love and care for ourselves. There are leaders today who are devoted to humanity; it is the time for more of us to join them and recognise that we are all called to care. It does take courage to care because in caring we are called to show ourselves, to give ourselves. When we care our hearts open and when we open our hearts then anything could happen!
But consider the alternative!!!