By Lizzie Kramer
I sat in the bedroom of a new friend.
We met at a gathering, an intention setting gathering loft in the city. I had been invited over after talking to her about changing the world and bringing awareness to the masses of the un-aware. We’re both young, under 21, and concerned about the reality that faces our generation in regards to our food supply, our medical system, our environment, and our souls.
I got to her apartment and a few other creative hippie-types were there. After doing some acro-yoga—a type of yoga where one flower child balances on another in order to create flowershapes while listening to funky flowery flow music before discussing the details of making flower daisy chains—we sat around the perimeter of the room.
Soft lighting came from hanging Christmas lights and the glow of a crystal lamp ebbed in and out as smoked wafted through the air around the room in conversation. Discussion rolled on and somewhere in between the agreements about counter-culture and the laughter over body suspension the tone started to drop down and turn into the angry drone of politics and political activism. It was alleged that a war between “us” and “them” is being waged, and in angry hushes the early suspicions of conspiracy started to form.
I spoke up.
I have lamented about having an eating disorder, the un-due pressure that society puts on us to be something we’re not, and how industrialization is causing the slow disintegration of the human spirit (all true) for several years. Yet though I disagree with the current state of affairs, I don’t believe that any person should be treated differently for being inside or outside of a system.
As someone who had once defined myself as a “victim of the system” and waved my change the world flag angrily in anyone’s face who would listen, I have lived in the mentality of separating myself from other human beings before; it’s a mentality that isn’t worth living in. Blame and hatred have made my ears burn with fire and my stomach churn with sickness.
Extinguished by hopelessness, the eyes of my heart have seen ghosts that don’t exist in people that are human, too.
Anger started to roll off of me when I realized that perpetrators of suffering are oftentimes simply suffering themselves. I am not a perfect person and it is only by being shown compassion and love on a regular basis that I have become strong enough to forgive.
The way back to our hearts is to live by example, person by person, through compassion and forgiveness as the great leaders of the world have done.
We are all human and we are here to heal, and we can’t heal unless we forgive people who have done wrong by showing them compassion. Forgiveness does not make us weak or inactive, it’s a sign of strength. As the Dalai Lama says:
A person who practices compassion and forgiveness has great inner strength, whereas anger is usually a sign of weakness.
Hate breeds hate and hate breeds fear and fear breeds insecurity and insecurity breeds quietness and quietness breeds silent decay. I personally can’t stand to be silent or in decay any longer.
Tonight is the night I step forward in love. I have my voice, I have my mind, I have my writing. I have ideas that are worthy to be put forth in this world and they are filled with beauty. I am strong.
The power of forgiveness gives way to the power of existence.
Change can happen without anger, hate, and blame. We can create a better world for ourselves and our generation: by being the change we wish to see in the world. Looking at the man in the mirror. The golden rule. We get what we give.
It’s in all the song lyrics. It’s written in the holy books. It’s in the way the wind blows through the trees and whispers to us in her knowing way. It’s simple. Love. And now is the time where we can liberate ourselves from our own shackles and our own pain if we choose. We can have meaningful experiences with every single person that we encounter.
I voiced this opinion to the other hippie types around the room.
They looked at me like I had taken one too many acid trips. Taj, a guy with long, wavy, blond hair in a faded blue recycled shirt who makes raps about bringing awareness to an unjust system asked me, “But don’t you think anger is necessary to fuel change?”
If those of us with some inkling of an idea of freedom spend our time being angry and hating the people we consider different from us because we fear they might take us over, then is that not the same as hating and being afraid of an in-mate in a prison cell? What’s the use? They’re locked up, trapped, and already suffering. Must we heckle them? Yes, yes, throw tomatoes at the in-mates. That’s what’s going to make us sleep better at night and help get to the root of the pain and feeling of lack in the world.
Anger isn’t necessary for change, awareness is. If expend our energy in hating others, then we are causing further suffering and separation. There is no us, there is no them. There is only human next to human and heart next to heart. Forgiveness is kind, forgiveness is wise.
Lizzie Kramer believes we are here to heal, become whole, and learn how to love ourselves and accept our wild spirits. She is a student of yoga and explorer of life earning a degree in the nature of humankind. Being in constant motion with the universe, accepting the questions that it brings with open hands and an open heart, spending time moving with her breathe, and occasionally throwing caution to the wind keep her inspired. So do long conversations with friends, walks through the trees in sunlight, and the taste of morning coffee while lying under the covers.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak