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oppressed womanAll oppression creates a state of war.” Simone de Beauvoir

The voice of oppression is the voice of fear.

Human history is littered with static beliefs rooted in fear oppressing those who have different beliefs, color of skin, and sex. Many lives have fought and died for unconventional beliefs such as the world was round, that the earth rotated around the sun, the belief in a different God, the right to be free, to vote, to have equal rights, or gays to marry. Human beings have tried to control those that were perceived different. Voices were raised in hate aimed to alienate and oppress one target for the benefit of another. Status quo beliefs created rationalization that justified oppressing groups of people with slavery, with sexism, and other forms of control.

I wish I could look at this oppression as history, as the past and that human beings have evolved beyond this fear and hate. Yet, I cannot.

I have watched this in my lifetime over confrontations about equality for women, equality in race, mixed marriages, and the treatment of gays. Just this past week, I stood proud as I watched fellow Seattleites Macklemore and Ryan Lewis sing about same love at the Grammys as some same-sex couples were married. Then I read some of the responses:

“Total mockery of God on the Grammy’s tonight! The world has gone gay-mad! And it is sickening!” Buster Wilson

“I’ve never seen such a display of intolerance, bigotry and hatred.” Todd Starnes

At first thought, I got angry and frustrated at the intolerance in the world, at the static, black and white thinking generated by fear. Yet, I looked at this closer and realized that anger is not the weapon to fight oppression, it is LOVE. Love is the greatest power in the universe.

Mahatma Gandhi said:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Trying to fight oppression with oppression is a no gain proposal. Fear walks hand in hand with human evolution, trying to kill off this black plague takes calm persistence, an unshakable persistence in standing for what you believe rooted with LOVE and with understanding. If we seek to understand we have no enemies. Love the oppressor, love the hater, love the small-minded.

The poet Rumi stated “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

This is the battle, look within, be the change you want to see. Remove any barriers within yourself that keep you from love. It is through gratitude and compassion and love that we will forge ahead in our emotional evolution as human beings. It is here that we will guide those in the darkness.

It takes courage to take this stand to be this example. It takes pioneers in forging light in this darkness of preconceived thought. It takes courage to stand in the face of no agreement around you.

Mia st johnI was fortunate enough to spend time with one of these pioneers last week with World Champion boxer Mia St. John. Mia has been talked at her entire career with comments such as “women do not belong in the ring, it’s a man’s sport.” She has been called a prop for her beauty, like many women have in business and sports. Yet, she still forged ahead, driven by her passion, driven by her will to be the best. She stands and fights for her beliefs and her passion in the face of no agreement around her.

This is courage. This is passion. This is living with purpose. This is a Zen Warrior and I applaud you Mia St. John. Stand proud in who you are, stand in your passion and in your commitment.

Out of each darkness, the world was led by a pioneer, one willing to die for their beliefs, one willing to stand against unconventional thought. To do this with a smile, with love and compassion like that of Mahatma Gandhi, one can change the course of an entire nation, even an entire world.

As Mahatma Gandhi so eloquently stated “where there is love, there is life.”

Call to Action:

  • What are the barriers to love in your life? Find and remove all of these barriers for all that we are is love.
  • Where are you compromising your stand for living beings on this planet? Where are you NOT a stand for compassion, and love?

Thomas D. Craig

Author A Cup of Buddha and soon to be released Is that so?

writer. seeker. Zen Warrior