‘You and I should form the habit of taking definite time each day to pray for peace with justice, for there is not peace possible without justice. […] We should not only pray, we should act, each contributing the best they have to the common purpose, each willing to make any sacrifice necessary…for there can be no individual self-preservation without the preservation of all.’
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In this current cultural climate and in my new position as a social justice minister, I’ve found myself continually pondering what it is that motivates us to take a stand for the rights of others. How do we do this ethically and not paternalistically? I’m discovering that my spiritual path deepens greatly when I’m connecting my own identity to the identity of the whole, realizing that who I am extends far beyond the cones of this ego self. I am the Oneness that Holmes spoke of above: Self-preservation does not exist without the preservation of all. The wellness and dignity of the whole is an inextricable truth of Oneness.
Taking action on this belief can be difficult because to be a presence for healing and equity, we must become aware of what needs to heal in us and the unconscious ways we may be perpetuating inequity without meaning to.
There are many ways in which I have been sheltered from the inequities of the world because I have grow up in a society that unconsciously perpetuates systems that benefit some to the detriment of others. In other ways, as a person of color, I have experienced what race – and ethnicity – based inequity feels like.
To be in a place where I am genuinely present to creating a world of peace and prosperity for all means that I also am invited to be in a place where I get to explore my own privileges and inequities. I get to be in conversation with people who also want to heal and be agents of helping. These conversations can be uncomfortable and painful, but they are also medicine.
I think as we strive to create a world that works for all, we are being offered an invitation to heal and to be medicine in this world through vulnerable communication with folks who have different experiences than we do.
-Re. Masando Hiraoka
Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living in New Mexico