We cannot deny that there is cruelty in this world, but it doesn’t just come from those whom we might label as ‘bad people’. It comes from all of us to varying degrees. Most human beings have the capacity to be cruel to some degree; either with their words, with their unkind judgments and opinions, with their willingness to withhold their warmth, kindness and compassion, or with their physical (and usually self-justified) treatment of beings whom they consider to be inferior to themselves, such as animals and children. Even children themselves can be very cruel and mean to one another, as we all know.
If someone angers us or upsets us, we feel totally justified in being cold and cruel in our attitude. If we hear of someone who has done something that we deem as unforgivable, we have no qualms in wishing upon them suffering and pain. You might say that this is fully justified, but cruelty is cruelty no matter how well you justify it. Causing, enjoying or wishing suffering upon another living creature, to any degree, is an act of cruelty. That might be hard to accept for some people, who believe cruel or unkind deeds absolutely deserve cruel and unkind consequences, but this just perfectly illustrates to you the great problem that the human race faces.
People can only be cruel when they are disconnected from their heart. This is why a ‘good person’ can do unkind things, because very few people are permanently in touch with their heart. And as long as there are people who are disconnected from their heart in this world, there will be cruelty, unkindness, intolerance, anger, suffering and conflict.
This is why punishment alone is not the best solution for people who do cruel things, but healing is. Incarceration (which should be viewed as the punishment) should be paired with healing, to have a truly transformational and lasting impact on the troubled individual in need of addressing their deep malady. And make no mistake about it, the desire, ability or willingness to create suffering in another living creature is a malady. Are you affected by it to any degree?
If you want to reduce the amount of cruelty on this planet – and most people do – then you must address and diminish any tendencies for intolerance, coldness and unkindness that exhibit themselves within you. This may be in the form of unkind words, mean, critical and judgmental thoughts, intolerant or impatient behaviour and so on. If we want society to improve, we have to model the improvement for others. We have to be part of the solution, we have to embody the solution, through the way we feel, act, speak and think about others. Yes indeed, we have a lot of work to do!
We need to learn practically how to become a more loving, patient, accepting and forgiving person, because true healing cannot occur in any other way. It occurs in our heart. And it has to occur in every heart. It absolutely has to. There is no other, better or more effective way that human civilisation can improve. This is what we all must do; we must look at ourselves and our own heart, rather than pointing the finger at all the others who we think are to blame (which is just another clever method of self-avoidance).
As more individuals learn to open their heart, as more human hearts are restored and healed, as more people become more connected to their heart, cruelty will decrease, suffering will decrease, intolerance will decrease, heartlessness will decrease, coldness will decrease and aggression will decrease. Society will begin to look like we want it to, to feel like a nourishing and safe social environment in which we can be open and express ourselves without any fear or anxiety.
I assure you this is possible, but we have to play our part in this. We have to become part of the solution. The only alternative is continued suffering and darkness, guaranteed. We have to restore our temperament to its natural state; to the warmth, positivity, humour and openness that are always found in our heart when we return there. There is no alternative that will solve our deepest problems, because this is our deepest problem.
Each cell of the body must accept healing individually, before the entire corpus becomes healthy once more. For the whole to heal, the individuals must heal, and this is your prime purpose. Anything else is a distraction, a diversion, a way of avoiding that which your life truly depends on – the purity and goodness of your own heart.
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“We are all children, longing to find our way back to
the world of innocence, joy and freedom we once knew”