I submitted this article to The BeZine digital US magazine and this was accepted and published in their Autumn 2022 issue.
Social Justice, in my view, requires a certain acceptance and understanding of what life is all about and, at its heart, why we are here. My experience within The Erasmus Foundation has given me an understanding of how individual we all are and that within each one of us is a spirit that has had many lives before this one, and may have many more in the future. In other words, everything of greatest value is within us, and eternal, and lives on at the end of a life. Imagine a pearl necklace with each life a pearl that is added to the strand when we depart this world; separate and unique and yet a part of our own individual experience, giving us a memory to draw upon forever more. An older spirit that has had many more lives than a younger spirit will have more resources to draw upon to deal with life's challenges; but, then again, I believe that each life, whatever our spiritual age, must have certain tests and challenges in order to learn and make progress as a spirit.
So, what I am saying here is that reincarnation of our spirit over centuries and civilisations on the Earth and into different physical bodies that will experience many different things, gives meaning and purpose to all life and helps us to perhaps be a little more tolerant of others. So, if we have any negative, stressful, destructive reactions to what happens to us or to those around us, or to our world in general this understanding of the meaning of life can temper these emotions. This does not mean we stand by, we don't speak, we don't act; on the contrary, I believe it is important to stand up for the truth, as we see and believe it, but any engagement should be gracious, with tolerance and acceptance, and an understanding that might come with good, open communication with others in a dignified and quiet way. And it is the quiet word that is often heard.
But we have to make judgements in life, sometimes for security, sometimes for very practical reasons, sometimes to judge whether this is a person we would like to know better, and first impressions are good to hold onto whilst reserving more thought for when we perhaps know someone a little more; judgement should not come with condemnation, however, but rather with understanding and acceptance that each life has a purpose, and with everything there is a reason. Perhaps we don't ask the simple question 'why?' enough. So this, too, I believe would help people consider social justice and how we might react to people and situations.
So, how do we find that peace and quiet? How do we get to that stage where we can be dignified and gracious in the face of something or someone who is quite aggressive or intolerant, or where we are responding to something that has happened? It's easy to say these things and hard to do, you might say; and I would agree with you, especially in a world that is out of balance and where people's lives, as a consequence, are more desperate and extreme and where the noise of the physical and material world can often drown out the truth, logic and reason that I believe is there within our minds, which I would say is our spirit (the brain being a part of the physical body).
By the essential exercise of coming to know ourselves, through self-inspection and then self-analysis we gain the ability to know ourselves very well and by this means find our weaknesses and our strengths which we can then identify with other people. This process enables us to gain self-confidence and peace of mind, having come to a fuller appreciation of our entirety. We gain quietude, we fear less and as we come to round off those sharp corners in our personality, we become more comfortable to be with and more pleasantly appreciated by others. It also allows us the space to think more about others rather than ourselves; and being true to who we are brings with it a greater sensitivity that enables us to identify more with other people and to help those who may be struggling or going through difficulties.
Meditation is one of the best tools that I have learnt at The Erasmus Foundation to help get to know ourselves because the aim is to quieten the brain and allow the mind to surface. From the mind we find clarity, we may find answers to questions that are troubling us, we may learn a little more about ourselves but we will always come out of a meditation a little more peaceful than when we went into it, which can only help us in our endeavours to find peace of mind.
And peace is really what I believe we are all searching for, so if we could accept that it is within us and there are ways to discover and feel it through the exercise of finding true self knowledge, then perhaps the world would not be so out of balance. Inequalities are more common and extreme because we have lost touch with our spiritual self and raised up to great heights and importance the physical part of life. Greed has taken hold and falsehood is commonplace, and we see the consequences of such priorities and actions in the response from nature and our natural world.
In a world that is healthy and in balance there would not be the need to discuss social justice because everyone would be seen as equal and given equal value. To get to this point it would seem that there is much to be learnt and understood, and perhaps the greatest way to learn is through experience that might be difficult and testing. If times are going to get even tougher than they already are, what better way to face these changes than with the belief in ourselves through true self-knowledge and understanding, with an acceptance that with everything and everyone there is a reason and a purpose.