I am another you. You are another me. ~Mayan Greeting
How would we treat each other if we saw ourselves in each and every person we encountered? Would we show compassion to each other if we recognized ourselves behind the eyes of the foreigner? Would the corrupt cop aim the gun if he imagined the criminal to be his own son, would she pull the trigger if she imagined her brother to be the one running in fear at the end of the barrel?
I bet we could stop the violence if we had the compassion to feel ourselves in the beating heart of the person we view as the enemy.
When we cultivate an us versus them mentality, we create walls – barriers to understanding – barriers to connection – barriers to experiences that have the potential to turn enemies into friends, the potential to enrich both our lives.
In an us verses them world, an eye for an eye is perfectly logical. But, as Gandhiji so eloquently stated, it’s a logic that leaves the whole world blind – blind physically as well as blind emotionally.
If physically blind we can still connect with the other me across the table, we can experience connectedness with humanity.
Emotional blindness blackens our hearts, views the foreigner as frightening, as an enemy, as an object to be hated, as an evil to be destroyed. Emotional blindness destroys the possibility for human connection. In emotional blindness we do not experience ourselves in the other, we lose our ability to empathize. In a state of emotional blindness, we cannot see a person as another me. By choosing to exist in a state of emotional blindness we have chosen to forfeit the essence of what it means to be human.