"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." ~ Robert F. Kennedy
Personal photo taken @ the Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara, CA
"We're moving into a period of time when the choices we make will produce an extraordinary effect on the lives we are collectively creating. So it is really important we come together in groups to share our reality and understanding. And when we find differences find ways to celebrate those differences."
~ Neale Donald Walsch
Personal photo taken @ San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego, CA
“Or we’ll look out at a social problem and think, this is not right, someone ought to do something. In that moment, we’ll realize what we wanted to happen, what our World Vision makes clear. In all such cases, the person to do something, to intervene, is you.” (218) - James Redfield, Celestine Vision
Personal photo taken @ Bridlewood Winery, Santa Ynez, CA
“Hello. It is a nice to meet you. Tell me about yourself.” What is your response to this pleasantry? As you contemplate your entire existence and how to briefly describe yourself, you find your auto-pilot already responding. “I am an attorney (a banker, an artist, etc.). I am married (single, divorced, etc.). I am from LA (Boston, Dallas, etc.). As a rule, we tend to avoid the subjects of religion and politics in initial meetings because we were taught to avoid heated topics, at least at first. But our ideologies are THE most significant indications of our mindset, how we view the world and how we interact with others. And these are THE ultimate points of contention among humans, both past and present. Must these subjects be such points of contention - a great divide between humans? Or is there a middle ground, a meeting point – a bond connecting humanity?
As much as our ideologies summarize our beliefs, we are NOT our ideologies. We are beings with ideas - concepts based on individual perceptions and experiences that culminate in our beliefs. These perceptions and experiences, however, may or may not be based on reality. “Humans create particular lifestyle beliefs and behaviors (scripts) that they inflexibly hold on to as their way of pushing anxiety out of consciousness. These range from uncontrollable fetishes and neurotic habits to be more normal, fixed religious and philosophical beliefs. What these scripts have in common is their intractable nature and their resistance to rational debate or discussion.”  We stand strong exclaiming, “THIS IS MY BELIEF! I will not entertain another belief, I will not even listen to another belief, and, certainly, I will not re-evaluate my beliefs. It is my identity, dammit, and I will stand here on my island, alone, if need be!” We identify with our ideology so much so that our souls become captured by them, literally, imprisoned and confined by them. The ideology then creeps in to redefine our souls as finite and fixed - perceptions within ourselves, rather than allowing our souls access to its infinite possibilities - perceptions outside of ourselves. As a result, we become polarized: separated, divided, and frozen in opposition.
Democrat or Republican, Christian or Muslim, and, more recently, Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street…whatever our ideological dissimilarities, do we need to walk through fire to meet with those of the opposing ideology? Is there no middle ground on which to walk unscathed? We have different ideas, maybe, and even a vast expanse of different ideas. But, clearly, there is sufficient blame to share for the current condition of the free world and, more specifically, America. The political and religious history is long, sordid, complicated and, virtually, buried among the rhetoric. With this in mind, it is inconceivable, under any circumstance, that any one “side” be labeled guilty while the other is labeled innocent. Any use of either label should send up a huge red flag emblazoned with the word “untruth.”
Despite the vast differences, there are basic similarities in all ideologies. All religious organizations are based upon the love of God or the accepted Infinite concept. All political organizations are based upon the love of one’s country. All contrary ideologies are based on one fundamental and recognizably MUTUAL idea. And there lies the harmony - “…to resolve polarization, we must begin to integrate the best ideas of both sides.”  A mutual idea is a common ground, a universal principle is a foundation, and, most importantly, a receptive and unbiased dialogue is an understanding. It is imperative that we find these mutual ideas and connections with each other as we move into our uncertain future. Find connections in your principles. Find connections in your dialogues. Create bonds that will generate harmony and advance humanity.
As we step into the ominous year of 2012 and we contemplate the future of humanity, it has been suggested that the vocal right and left will cause the polarization of America. “More and more, it looks like the centre will be an orphan in 2012.”  Frighteningly, this scenario brings the citizens of the United States directly to an impasse - a stalemate, a bottleneck - a dead end. A DEAD END! Can all ideological factions bear to agree that the dead end of America is simply unacceptable? The polarization of America must be interrupted…then reversed.
1. James Redfield, The Celestine Vision, (New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc., 1997).