I’m fortunate to live in the shadow of the continental divide, where the mountains rise six thousand feet above the valley floor, reaching a total elevation of over fourteen thousand feet above sea level. I can clearly see the summits of four of these magnificent mountains, and many others that are not as tall. When I am on the sitting top of the nearest peak, I can see if a delivery truck is in the driveway. The perspective of the valley below is much different than how I perceive the valley in my everyday life.
From this elevated spot high up on a pile of rocks there is no them, national borders, red or blue, only one community living among the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Our differences seem petty and unimportant. Similar to the view of Earth from space, all one can see is the outline of continents forming one world.
Yet why is living in harmony as one people so challenging? If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we are much more connected to each other than we may be willing to accept. Is it because we are afraid of the unknown that we choose to build physical and emotional barriers to isolate people with whom we do not understand?
What is the point in that?
When we travel to other countries, we are in a different location and we are different to the native people, but we are still the same person we have always been. We want to be treated with dignity and respect. Why is it any different with those who see the world differently than us or those who don’t look, or speak like us? Just because we are different than those around us doesn’t mean we don’t have similar desires in common.
The view from the top of the mountain is a view of unity, one community. But when in the valley our focus can often turn to our differences. If we were to boil it down to its simplest form we all want the same thing, even if we know it in a different language.
One of the challenges we have faced over the past year is to recognize that everyone sees the world through their point of view. Just like being on the top of the mountain and seeing the valley below, the people in the valley can see the mountains, but the valley looks different than it does from 14,000 feet.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
When we see ourselves as one community working for a common good, we will begin to understand that there is more to life than just our unhealthy, selfish desires, and our need to place people into the category of “them.” This point of view would require us to elevate our consciousness so we can see a broader picture of the world. A picture of inclusion and acceptance. But how do we raise our awareness when we are faced with so many challenges? It begins with the person we see in the mirror each day.
If we want to experience a world filled with kindness, love and compassion, then we must be willing to live by the guidance of these powerful emotions. To experience kindness we must be kind to all people, not just those who agree with us. Love and compassion go hand in hand when building a more tolerant community.
Each person will see the world through a point of view created by the experiences they have faced in their life. Just like the people in the valley looking up at the mountain top, they may not understand what the people on top of the mountain see, or are experiencing, but they understand the challenges ahead of those willing to make the climb.
This opens the door to a new level of acceptance and understanding.
Is it possible to accept that each person is living a life founded on their life experiences, and no two people will see the world the same way? If this is the case can we release our need to judge others? Nothing separates us from each other as quickly as the powerful act of judgement. But in an elevated state of consciousness and awareness, we recognize how damaging judgement can be. It can be so easy to judge others. Why? Because there is little effort taken in trying to find our root commonalities. Sure we have differences, but as long as we focus on these differences, no forward movement or elevated levels of consciousness will occur.
When I sit on top of the mountain and other climbers arrive, no one talks of our differences, but about the spectacular view, the thin air, and how difficult the climb may have been. Yet for a brief moment we are one unified group of people with one thing in common. We had all chosen to do the hard work of putting one foot in front of the other to reach an elevated view of the world we share with each other.