We are living in extraordinary times in these United States. And, as we put aside the COVID-19 pandemic and witness unprecedented unity from people of all races, faiths, creeds, and nationalities, we collectively mourn the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd.
As a man of deep faith that holds tight to a personal ethos, I recognize that we must seek peace for all people. Without peace, no one in these United States can hope to find and keep “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Peace engenders this kind prosperity and prosperity re-enforces freedom. We must seek peace for all people – blessed are the peacemakers.
Many of you know that I often write about what it means to be a warrior (in my opinion). Ironically, warriors seek peace first and foremost. Warriors are by nature in the service of something greater than themselves, and the highest form of service and protection is lasting peace.
Also central to the warrior archetype is a willingness to change, to discover the truth about yourself and the world around you. Change is incredibly rare and powerful – rare because the truth about all of us (and each of us) is painful. We are imperfect people, living flawed lives – often based upon a kind of personal operating system that has been corrupted by a lifetime of error ridden inputs and influences. It is the difficult process of change that makes real, lasting change so rare and powerful. To change or make a “shift” to a deeper and broader perspective should be a primary goal of every warrior.
To change (or shift), we must confront our prejudices, biases, cultural/family norms and the assumptions that become part of our personal, limited, and flawed operating system. These assumptions become inputs and eventually create and/or refine our personal worldview and perspective. And, in many ways, our perspective limits our ability to understand and hold others’ perspectives. This is destructive. If we cannot hold others’ perspectives, we cannot hope to understand each other. Without understanding, compassion and empathy fade along with the ability and willingness to work together to create equitable solutions for all people that lead to pervasive peace and prosperity.
The Power of One
The road to this kind of peace, where the dignity of every human life is respected, starts with each individual that acknowledges the moral and ethical need to act as an advocate for all people. This is the power of one – one for all.
Each of us that would seek out peace for others must first root out the flaws and corruption in our own perspective – driven by the assumptions born of influences that have shaped us since birth. The modern day warrior seeks to choose what he/she will serve, and this cannot be possible without first securing the ability to choose outside of our flawed assumptions (about ourselves and those around us). This is real freedom – to choose with personal clarity what is worth our service and sacrifice as warriors.
I invite each of you to join me on this path. In this process, the knowledge that you are reclaiming your true heart and mind – not the one formed by outside influence – is sufficient to create the kind of emotional space necessary to objectively assess your assumptions, beliefs, behaviors, words, and thoughts. Instead of being afraid of what you will find, seek to uncover those things that should no longer hold sway over you. Be confident as you remake yourself that the process is worth the effort. Here you will find and know real freedom – freedom to choose and to serve only those things worthy of your time and talent. I call this your “sacred things.”
As you work through the process of self-discovery, seeking the power of one, the space you provide yourself to objectively discern who and what you have become will also inform your perspective and create space for others. In this way, warriors see themselves in all people, and this too creates a broader perspective – understanding and compassion for others will follow.
As warriors, what we all long for is…to belong. We long to be claimed by others that hold us up as worthy of belonging, worthy of protection, worthy in our uniqueness – worthy of brotherhood and sisterhood. And in our belonging, we are compelled to serve in response to the grace and acceptance we receive. In this, we serve as warriors – as men and women that will fight for our sacred things and for those that have claimed us as their own.
But what we might miss in all this is even more important…we must see that many others long for belonging also. We must expand our tribe without fear of losing it, offer belonging to others, and provide for them what was given to us.
As warriors, we must advocate powerfully for our growing tribe – until we replicate this cycle enough to arrive at the understanding that our tribe is the entire human race.
In this understanding, we know that we have lost one of our brothers in the person of George Floyd. And in this loss, we sense we must all do more to create the power of one, because we know that this is the path to peace for all.
Truly, blessed are the peacemakers.