I recently heard and immediately loved the following:
Hurt people hurt people, and create systems that hurt people. Healing people heal people and create systems that heal people.
Such wisdom in that. Do you recognize it as truth?
As much meaning as I find in those wise words, I would actually go even further.
I believe that this human realm is a realm in which we all come to be hurt by others, heal from that harm, and help others heal from the harm that has been done to them as well.
And we all come to hurt others, heal from having harmed others, and help others heal from their having done harm too.
We are all wounded healers
None of us makes it through this life without being hurt when having done absolutely nothing to deserve it. And none of us makes it through this life without having hurt someone who did nothing to deserve it.
We all have to heal from that. The good news is that we are perfectly designed to do exactly that. We are even Divinely supported and guided in doing exactly that.
Why be sugar when you could taste the sugar instead?
(Bhakti yoga saying)
We knew when we came into human realm that we were going to live as something separate from our true selves, having forgotten who we truly are. We are all on a journey back to knowing of our true essence as the sweetness of pure love without bounds or conditions. The journey necessarily starts us in a place that is nothing like that.
If you are living a mixture of cruelty and kindness, whether flowing in or out, good for you. You've been making progress on your path back to awareness of your perfection.
Year by year, day by day, we endeavor to become a little more loving and a little more forgiving, toward ourselves and others.
There is so much freedom and healing simply in recognizing that we are both relative and absolute beings.
In the relative, yes, we are hurt by others and hurt others. This is the human experience.
In the absolute, we are forever untouched by the whims of life. We are whole, perfect, and perfectly loved.
In seeing both in our own story, we may then be able to hold others with the same broad view. Can we look at someone who has hurt us and see both their perfection and their woundedness? Can we hold someone accountable for the harm they have done us, without thinking they should be punished for it?
Raise your hand if you would like to be punished for the last mistake you made.
Hopefully you've achieved enough self-love to know that what you really need is learning, growth, maturity and compassion. What you really need is another chance to get it right, but with more skill, understanding and inner strength at your disposal this time. So isn't that what anyone who has harmed you needs too? Isn't that what you would therefore wish for them to have?
Of course, this goes both ways. We can't really grant others a clemency we haven't yet granted ourselves.
If we're still beating ourselves up for all the mistakes we've made, well there's not much chance in our embracing a world of clemency for others either.
I was raised worshiping a god of justice, but I have long known that I wish to trade for the god of mercy and compassion.
I don't mean that in terms of organized religion. That's really not for me, though I enjoy learning from any and all of them.
It is more a question of the orientation of my heart and mind toward the world. I wish to be freed from the frame of seeking justice. I wish to feel peace in the lack of punished victimizers and avenged victims, while still standing firm in requiring accountability. Understanding that inflicting further pain does not in fact deliver accountability is crucial for ending the cycle of violence and freeing us from the endless suffering of Samsara.
Accountability does not require blame, shame, or punishment.
Accountability is about accepting responsibility for having done harm, sincerely regretting having done so, and making amends to the best of one's ability to try to help whoever we have harmed feel whole again.
Often there is no possibility of this in physical realm. There is no ongoing relationship that would allow this. Thankfully in spirit and energetic realms, we are all connected across space and time. So we can express our apologies there, and make amends there, when we are unable to do so in person. However, if we are able to do so in physical realm, we should. There is no genuine accountability if we forgo that opportunity.
Let There Be Peace on Earth
I truly believe that there can be peace among humans. I believe that over the coming millennia we will in fact learn to treat ourselves and each other with love, compassion and understanding. This will naturally give birth to a culture of mercy and healing. And this will allow for a world of joyful well-being.
We can do better than we're doing, and we will.
Just keep healing, and helping others to heal. You're doing great.
(All text and images (except the AT logo) are by the author, unless otherwise credited. This is original content, created expressly for HIVE.)