Saturday, July 3, 2010

Finding the Good

I recall hearing the following conversation after the events of 9/11 in New York City. A grandfather was talking to his grandson, telling him, "I have two wolves barking inside of me. The first wolf is filled with anger, hatred, bitterness, and mostly revenge. The second wolf inside of me is filled with love, kindness, compassion, and mostly forgiveness." "Which wolf do you think will win?" the young boy inquired. The grandfather responded, "Whichever one I feed." 
There are always two ways to look at the conditions of our world. We can see hate, prejudice, mistreatment, starvation, poverty, and crime and conclude that this is a horrible world. We can feed this barking wolf and see more and more of what we despise. But this will only fill us with the same things that we find so malignant. Or we can look at the world from a position of self-love and self-respect, and see the improvements that have been made in race relations in our lifetime; the fall of so many dictatorships, lower crime rates, the dismantling of the atrocious apartheid systems, the elevated consciousness of the environmental movement, and the desire on the part of so many to rid the world of nuclear weapons and instruments of mass destruction. We can remind ourselves that for every act of evil in the world, there are a million acts of kindness, and we can feed the second wolf that barks from a position of hope for humanity.
-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer The Power of Intention
Since we moved to Mineral de Pozos 11 months ago, my family has come up against some strange and even cruel occurrences. We have discovered the disturbing class and race dichotomy between American and European residents and native Mexicans. Because of our decision to steer away from the gossipy constituents of town, we have been subject of private and public slander. We have also experienced racism directed toward our multicultural group from many in town, some efforts going so far as to threaten our safety here. There have been a couple attempts at vandalism and several accounts of profiling aimed at my two youngest siblings. Also, days after moving here, a wanted criminal found his way into our home to escape police fire. And that is just the violence intended for our family. There have also been tragic events of kidnapping and unwarranted police violence toward youth in surrounding areas. Through all of these happenings, it is easy to lose faith in humanity, mark people as untrustworthy and avoid everyone. But in seeing the grace in which my family has dealt with the opposition, I have a renewed confidence in the goodness of all life.

My mom, an ever trusting being, has been pounded with deceit and disrespect time and time again. I have always maintained that she not be so vulnerable to the brutish nature of people, but in watching her in the last few months, I am no longer so sure. With every clobbering she sustains, she grows stronger, not through anger or efforts of revenge, but through her ability to remain kind and respectful to the people who have wronged her. I know her strength stems from her interminable belief that through her actions she can, in at least a small way, change the reality of others. 
Though the childrens' blood runs a bit hot in these situations, it is completely understandable of people constantly being wrongly accused by women 60 years their elder. But even they remain true, defending friends, themselves, and our family with conviction and honesty. 

My mom always says "Wherever you go, there you are," meaning whatever you are trying to escape will follow you, no matter what geographic location. My mom came to Mexico to get away from the negative conversation inherent in so much of American life, but whether it be our hair dresser or our next door neighbors she continues to be confronted by the same cynics. I came to Mexico, spurred by the incredibly prejudice and unjustified arrest of Keikai, to avoid  the extreme racism and corrupt system, only to be constantly confronted by bigotry toward every member of my family. I believe the lesson here is that evil exists anywhere you go, but so does benevolence, and to find the good in everything is one of the greatest feats, and a necessary one in pursuing a enlightened and happy existence.

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