The title of this blog is taken from a chapter in Mark Nepo’s book, More Together Than Alone, a second of his that has recently become part of my daily dose of spiritual readings. In the chapter titled The Two Tribes he writes of how the first human beings evolved into two tribes. Those that were more fearful, when encountering those outside of their tribe, held the belief: “You’re different. Go away,” whereas the others said, “You’re different. Come, teach me what I don’t know.”
When I read this, the politically-driven polarization which seems to be growing in our nation and in our world came to mind, and I immediately found myself drifting into tribal thinking that wasn’t of the “You’re different. Come. teach me what I don’t know” variety. Thankfully, I was fully aware of this, allowing me the opportunity to explore it in a consciousness of compassionate inquiry and to perhaps shift by owning the spiritual reality: that both forms of tribal thinking are within me, that you and I are, in truth, part of the One Source of ALL, God. What separates us is how I choose to view myself and you–through my ego mind or through the inner eye which is guided by my divine nature, that still, small voice about which I speak so often.
I have a penchant for believing that my social and political perspectives are based in principles of love, equality and the rights of us all to enjoy a fulfilling, healthy, and secure life, with very few conditions, I also can overlook how “my” tribe regularly fails to “walk the talk” by saying one thing and acting in ways that are quite the opposite and that includes me. How about you?
Here are some questions that spring to mind and may be helpful in exploring my own inner world of human consciousness. I invite you to ask them of yourselves, once you’ve taken a couple of deep breaths, relaxed and let go while you become open to whatever surfaces for you:
When I find myself in the presence of self-labeled members of the other tribe speaking in the generic tongue of their tribe (be it ultra-left wing, Liberal/Democratic, Conservative/Republican, or Far-Right Extremist) am I able to remain unaffected and neutral? Unconditional in my love/acceptance of them? Or does some variation of “You’re different. Go away[Be careful! There’s an enemy amongst us!]!” flit through my mind?
When I observe others around me without any masks on in grocery stores and other enclosed locations, do I merely observe them and go about my business without further thought or do I lapse into “them and me” thinking? Do I find myself later making comments to my spouse or a friend about these people?
When I’m at church or at my spiritual community (or safely viewing the service remotely via Zoom) and I hear my minister delivering a message about “being above or below the line,” do I easily recognize my own occasional below-the-line behavior/thinking and smile in easy recognition or do I find myself tensing up in resistance to the possibility they’re talking about me or do I totally ignore this possibility and find myself glancing around the room and noticing others who should be listening!?
I’m sure I could come up with additional questions and examples of how and when I miss the mark and show up in a way that reminds me of the work that remains for me on my spiritual journey. If this serves you in any way, then I am grateful to have been a supporting part of your journey as well.
Love & Light, Steve