In an insecure state of fear and anxiety, this is how people behave:
- They expect the worst.
- They do not trust others, especially others who are “different” from them.
- They feel on edge and unsafe.
- They act impulsively out of that fear.
- They are certain they are justified in any action to protect themselves.
In a secure state of peace of mind and wisdom, this is how people behave:
- They are present in the moment without expectations.
- They respect others, even those who are “different” from them.
- They feel calm and at ease in life.
- They act from insight out of common sense.
- Their actions tend to elevate situations, and need no justification.
The same holds true for organizations, for communities, for nations…
State of mind matters. Peace of mind matters. As a matter of fact, it is the primary quality in life that matters if we hope to live without constant strife among our neighbors, within our organizations, at home in our communities, or in the world.
The Trayvon Martin case brought this into sharp focus, but there are examples all around us at every level of human interaction.
What if both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin had come, early in life, to understand the nature of thought, and the spiritual bonds that unite us all: We are all thinking, seeing our thinking as real, capable of allowing negative, distressing thinking to pass, and thinking again.
George Zimmerman would have seen a stranger in his neighborhood, a young black man in a hoodie, and had the thought that he could be one of those punks that get away with crimes, and called 911. He would have realized he was getting worked up and taking that thinking seriously with no real evidence. He might have calmed down, pulled up alongside Trayvon, rolled down his window, and said, “Son, I’m George. I’m a neighborhood watchman, and I’m armed. I feel responsible for keeping this neighborhood safe. I have called the police. I am no threat to you, but I do need to know who you are and where you’re going.”
Trayvon Martin would have seen a stranger in a black van trailing him, and his first thought might have been he was a “creepy” guy who might be a pervert. But he would stop to think what would make sense to stay safe in this case. Maybe he would have gotten off the phone with his friend and called his father and asked him to come out of the house and meet him because he was frightened by someone who seemed to be following him. Maybe, if he were confronted by George Zimmerman, and George Zimmerman identified himself respectfully as a neighborhood watchman, he would have said, “Oh, man, you really scared me. I had no idea who you were. I thought you were going to hurt me. I live right over there.” And George Zimmerman, to satisfy his duty as a watchman, could have gone home with him, met his father, and made a new friend in the neighborhood.
There is nothing in what we have learned about either party to this case that would suggest this neutral scenario could not have happened. Their friends and family loved them and thought they were good people. They had treated others gently in the past. They were regular human beings, just like us, going through ups and downs, moving in and out of varying levels of insecurity, thinking their way through life.
The tragedy is, not knowing anything at all about how different life looks to us in different states of mind, not knowing that when our thinking is most urgent we can least trust it, not knowing that if I am insecure and taking insecure thought seriously, the “other” might be doing the same thing … they fought and the one without the gun died.
It is heartbreaking that all the commentary, all the news, all the discussion about this case is not about the answer to the underlying reason these tragedies occur: insecure thought taken seriously.
Do we truly want this kind of thing to stop happening?
Then we have to look deeper, to the fundamental cause and the real solution.
This will be part of the conversation at a significant conference of people who are deeply dedicated to bring about a paradigm shift in the world, from prevailing insecurity and anxiety to prevailing security and peace. Come join us to see how thousands of people have realized that possibility, and you can too.
“With wisdom people see beyond the filters and biases of race and culture, to realize the beauty in everyone. Such understanding enables people to stop fearing and distrusting those who are different, to see the commonality of human beings regardless of cultural differences. Wisdom applied to society would do more than anything else to halt the ethnic clashes and wars the world suffers from today.”