Lurking in the dark
Last morning, at a friend’s place here in North Germany, on the road trip from Sweden to Portugal, we ended up having a vulnerable conversation around breakfast. We were an Israeli Jew, a German and a Slav talking about wounds from the Second World War, individual and collective, that are still speaking through us. Listening to many subtle stories about how our collective fields have been traumatized by the war and by the holocaust, on all sides of the story, how we were culturally conditioned in using various strategies to deal with it, from dark humor to suppression and denial, something was becoming clearer and clearer to me.
That so much pain has been accumulated throughout the human history and that there has been so little capacity and courage to deal with it. How would we continue, for example, if after every single of these devastating events we would have deep mourning processes on the individual and on the collective levels? And deep, transformative mediation and reconciliation processes… And in-depth process of harvesting collective learning for the future…
Collectively, as human race, we seem to be in a denial and in an overwhelming depression. Not wanting to know how much pain of the children slave labor and their families is in every fancy smart phone we buy, or the blue jeans we just bought, or coffee we are drinking… All this pain is here, present in our collective field, as a cancer tissue that will not just miraculously disappear, but is silently growing and producing more cells, more shapes.
From this perspective it seems to be quite clear to me that this is not going to end unless some profound, transformative healing takes place. And here I very much resonate with Rollo May, one of the beginners of humanistic psychology, who said that “every healing starts with empathy and every growth starts with honesty.”
The first step seems to me to stop playing the game of “whose pain is bigger”, trying to prove that we have suffered more than somebody else over there, and that we start acknowledging and compassionately embracing all the pain. The pain of Jews in the holocaust, and the pain that Nazi officers and soldiers were harboring in their hearts and that led them to their actions. The pain of Germans – mothers, fathers, children, families… that were bombed by Allied Forces, as well as the pain of Slavs, for example, that were bombed by German forces. The pain of native people that were wiped off the Earth through numerous genocides, and the pain that all these prosecutors were carrying in their souls. The pain of Palestinians, Israelis, Africans, Americans, Isis fighters, NATO soldiers and their families, the pain in the heart of every single human being, yes, also Donald Trump… And the list continues: the pain of 56 billion(!) animals (not counting fish) tortured and killed each year for food for humans, the forests, the planet…
Until all the pain is acknowledged and embraced compassionately, the healing cannot happen. And when the healing will have happened, perhaps we can start respecting life again, in us and in others. And then hopefully we can find ways to live so that all the life is honored as something incredibly precious.