I used to raise consciousness at a navy subase about the violence inherent in possessing and using nuclear weapons. Weekly, a worker drove through into the base as I passed out leaflets. His truck carried a rifle rack and he looked straight ahead, never acknowledging my presence. I was convinced that he was an irreconcilable “redneck” who surely hated this “bleeding heart liberal.” One day he seemed different. His despondence was palatable. I responded to it by blurting out, “How are you?” He shouted back, “How am I? I’m terrible. How else would I be having to go in there every day and do what I have to do?” I had reduced him to my erroneous perception of him. In the spirit of today’s Eckhart quote, I would say I had divided him from his true self by dwelling on what I thought to be his flaws. Not exactly following the call to love God with my whole heart, and my neighbor as myself.
As human beings we seem destined to make judgments about one another. Nothing alarming about it- it’s the human condition; however, when we choose to dwell on the flaws of others until that’s all we see- it divides us from our own best self, from the other, and from God. We are all more than our flaws.
My meditation birthed this prayer. If it speaks to you too, I thank the Spirit: