Posted on March 20, 2022
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
Arundhati Roy, Indian writer and activist
Is she? Is she on her way? There are no quiet days right now to hear her breathe. The airwaves are filled with war reports from Ukraine, roaring pain, fighting and destruction, and underneath it all hammers my own restlessness and confusion. How can one hear anything else over this din, let alone the gentle breathing of another world, a newborn culture?
If you listen to the noise with an open heart and don't back away from the fear and pain and anger, then the radio receiver can be adjusted. The noise remains, but other sounds crystallize in between. I hear my own open, vulnerable beating heart joining with the rhythm of all those who are just standing up for humanity, freedom, diversity and life inside and outside Ukraine. I hear a loud, clear NJET! from courageous Russian demonstrators, journalists and scientists who are taking a stand against the war despite all the dangers. I hear the slamming of doors of vans packed with aid and the swinging open of doors of countless people who generously invite refugees to their homes without asking for long. I hear the crackle of suits of EU politicians closing ranks for joint decisive action. I hear corona bickering being dropped with a plop, rifts closing and giving way to a united determination to lend a hand wherever possible. I hear the rising hum of the accelerating trend to renewable energies and the descending sound of the plummeting poll numbers of right-wingers like Marine Le Pen. I hear the silence of reflection, of listening, of prudent action. I hear, above the deafening noise of Putin's encrusted conquest mindset, how in many minds national borders are crumbling, how territories matter less and less, how living connections, friendships, work and love relationships are intertwining across borders, creating new levels of understanding and humaneness.
There are also things I do NOT hear. I don't hear cheering, hat-waving crowds welcoming the war. I don't hear fearful grumbling that waves of refugees are threatening to swamp us. I hear little know-it-all and blaming.
All this encourages me that something is growing that cannot be stopped by war and violence. Rather, it seems to me that this makes it even clearer how absurd, how outdated, how untenable this old world of separation and domination over one another is, and how important it is now not to look away and think that all this has nothing to do with me. How important it is now to push aside the comfort of my own safe life, to tune into the delicate melody and to contribute to it swelling one day into an unmistakable, powerful and sonorous music.
Which sounds do I want to strenghten through my thoughts, speeches and actions and which ones do I want to withdraw my attention from in the future? How do I find my voice at all? How do I bring it into harmony with what is happening around me and with the voices of the other beings on this planet? How do I manage not to let myself be paralyzed by helplessness, shock, confusion and fear or to judge and become hard with anger or to close myself off from being overwhelmed? How do I manage instead to stay wide and open and capable of acting - or to become so now more than ever - in order to stand up for what is important to me and to get involved where I can make a difference, help shape the sound of the music of the future?
If you are also asking yourself these or similar questions right now, perhaps this quote from "Everyday Enlightenment" by Dan Millman will help you move into powerful action:
"In every difficult situation, ask yourself, 'What would the strongest, bravest, most loving part of my personality do right now?' And then do it. Do it with all your heart. And do it now."
You can make a difference. Bring your voice so that we can hear the new world sing even on stormy days!