From time immemorial, all gods have been seen as punishing. Only the Buddhists managed to open the path to inner freedom from this egregious control. A teacher called Yeshua introduced an enlightened note, two THOUSAND years ago – a vast sea-change of viewpoint: LOVE, forgiveness and a merciful God, then promptly got strung up for it. His words were quickly co-opted by controlling forces and we were made to feel “bad” all over again. I don’t know what Allah did – but the present interpretation is just as punishing as the Christian fanatical view. We have eons of this in our DNA! Punishment, “badness”, “unworthiness” – each generation hammers it home.
A few lights show up every now and then to urge us to the right road. Some of us are fortunate enough to have lived in the time of Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Theresa, Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King (how many of those people were white??? hmmm…)
We have a chance now to let all the “wrong thinking” go! To see our actions as nothing more than having made mistakes, making wrong choices, being deluded, what would that be like? We have a chance to be KIND, to be LOVING, to be ACCEPTING of ourselves and others. Some of us brought up our children this way so we know it works. At my daughter’s high school graduation, one teacher said that class was the kindest, most compassionate group she had yet seen. We witnessed it as we listened to a student with Cerebral Palsy give the valedictory address and heard the standing ovation. A sea-change had taken place.
Let’s emulate that class. Most of us are good. If you find yourself next to a “bad apple”, roll yourself away! You don’t need to stay there (unless you secretly think you need punishment). Let’s get over any need for this.
How are you punishing yourself? Take a minute to write down all the ways. Then STOP and be kind instead. It can be that easy. (Granted, many situations are much more complex – but the fundamental decision is the same.) Ask yourself every time: “is this kind?”, “how is this helping him or her or me?”
If we give up punishment, we also give up judging, intolerance, meanness, bullying and on and on. We have to help each other now to survive. IT’S THAT CRITICAL.