A twist on The Golden Rule?
“See the light in others and treat them like that is all you see.”
That is a quote from the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, an American philosopher, author, and motivational speaker. I saw this quote on a note shoved into a second-hand book I purchased recently.
I have to say, those words are still sitting with me, days later, and marinading with my spirit as it holds a deeper message.
It nudges us to see people as individuals who have something unique to offer our world, whether that world is a book club, a church, a city block of neighbors, a group of associates at work, etc.
To do that, we have to be willing to not only look at one another as equals, but realize that we are all fallible (or capable of making mistakes). In a world that strives for perfection, for timely accuracy, and can be broadcast to a social platform in a matter of minutes for the entire world to see, we forget that we are human.
All of us. That includes you.
This quote asks us to see the light in someone regardless of their mistakes. Or our own.
Maybe someone was curt to you in a store, maybe you got cut off in traffic, maybe your son or daughter doesn’t agree with you on some level and it’s become a hindrance to your relationship. Whatever the drawback, try to see others in their own beautiful light. I ask you to let those inner obstacles go, if only for a moment.
In a time where, for some, things seem a little darker each and every day, it is so easy to join in that darkness.
For example: social media has played a profound impact on negating seeing and finding that light in other people. When we can hide behind egregious remarks without having to face that person or group of people, it’s easy to not only dampen the light in others, but our own light as well.
It is far too easy to passively-aggressively type something into your status bar on Facebook and hit enter and walk away. And by all means, if you have something to say, you have every right to do so. As I recently posted myself, “take no crap, but do no harm.”
I know I’ve added to the darkness of social media many times. And perhaps, that’s why I’ve chosen this quote as my topic for my Musings this week.
I know from my own experience, at the helm of outraged Twitter battles and the quiet aggression often found at tached to Facebook posts, that I never felt any better after saying something hurtful, or adding to an aggressive conversation.
Matter of fact, I would say more often than not, my refusal to see the light in others only obscured my own inner light.
Often, when I am faced with those types of situations, I find that I am acting through fear. Fear of being unaccepted, fear of offending someone while I’m simply trying to be myself, fear of a difference in beliefs, etc. All of these fears build in my heart and my mind and make me angry, make me scared.
I’ve removed Twitter and Facebook from my phone, only allowing myself time on social media when I am at a computer, and still use it sparingly. I cannot tell you how much brighter my world has become. Not only for myself, but in seeing the light in others as well.
In my opinion, the speed at which we are capable of reacting to someone on a social platform does not allow us time or the ability to truly think before we react, or read another person’s facial cues or body language to truly see how what we are saying affects someone else. On social media, there is only time to react.
As humans, we need time to think, time to feel, time to weigh pros and cons. We need time to connect to one another.
In Japan, students don’t take any exams until they are 10 years old. The goal for the first three years of school is teaching students good manners and character development (respecting people, being kind to animals, learning generosity, empathy, compassion, etc.), maybe that’s something we can learn from our foreign allies.
I feel we’re losing the art of processing our emotions and feelings and give way to fear and anger through assumptions of all kinds. It’s what is creating these walking zombies with their faces stuck in their phone, in my opinion. Hi, I am, admittedly, one of those zombies.
When we take the time to converse with someone in person, we have the proper time to think and react with valuable feedback, with curiosity, with laughter and pleasures we do not see through others while we are on the Internet.
But, let’s go beyond the Web for a moment.
Last Tuesday, I was able to hear and see Marlene Hanson talk about the light she saw in her friend Darlene Hilpipre at the Mitchell Chautauqua Woman of Achievement luncheon. We also paid witness to the light Mike Ellingsen and John Engesser shared with us as they shared their beautiful musical talents. And all the while, the photographer quietly paid witness to light being shared everywhere at that luncheon; through new connections with others, through sharing books, through enjoying great conversations. Holy buckets, that whole experience was so bright! (Emotionally and spiritually, not literally.)
I was able to witness, first hand, people seeing the light in others and seeing people being treated like their light was all anyone else could see. And that light is out there, and in you, dear reader.
That light is also in others; including the spouse you divorced, including the IRS representative that informed you of an audit, including the board chairperson whose decision you disagreed with, including the neighbor that questions your property line, etc., etc., etc.
We, as fallible humans, are given choices every single day. Sometimes, we respectfully choose what is best for us, whether it is harmful to ourselves, or others. But, sometimes, we also choose to see the light in others and in ourselves.
It’s truly up to us; the decision to bask in the light or seek retribution in the dark.
I’ll end my Musings with another quote from one of my favorite book characters of all times, Albus Dumbledore:
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”