Why can’t we all get along?

I was recently reminded of Rodney King’s words: “Why can’t we all get along?”  Rodney King, a black man, was beaten by white policemen, during the riots in Watts, CA., in the 90’s.

We are still asking that question, and truth be known, have been asking that question in one way or another forever.  

Why can’t we all get along?

Dear god, why can’t we all get along?

The hero gives a wooden sword to 
his son
Until he learns to use a
real battle sword

Human life is a wooden
Until he learns to battle
hurt with mercy


Battle hurt with mercy?  To really love, no matter what?  What happens to “all getting along” when our hearts harden?  What happens when it gets to the “it’s you or me” showdown? What happens when someone you do not know or do not like or do not relate to or is not in your tribe or has brought you harm is hurting, is in danger, or simply needs to be heard?  

We tend to experience conditional love – love in bed with fear and with need -  until we know better.  We are open and comfortable when we feel safe, bonded and not afraid.  Introduce the “other” and something else happens.  When we do not feel safe, connected or understood something else happens - love freezes, entangles, and shrinks into fear and into need. 

From a very young age it can be crucial to join our protectors, our people, our caretakers, crucial for our very survival.  You know that feeling you get when you are with someone who agrees with you, thinks like you do, looks enough like you, has similar experiences as you do, sees the world as you do?  The feeling you get when you find your peeps, your tribe.  It has the feeling of all being well in the world.

How easy it is to feel relaxed, open minded and open hearted, when we are with our tribe, our culture, our country or even our sport team. How easy it is to feel comfortable when we are not fighting with our loved ones or friends or when we are feeling healthy. 

But you can be sure that won’t last.  We will certainly come face to face with the other. The other out there; a different tribe, people who look and speak strangely, folks who hold opposing values, our very own family member who refuses to do what we want him or her to do.  

And the other within our very own mind and body.  Who hasn’t come up against big and small conflicts inside their head?  The warring sides/criticism/judgments that go on inside your tired beings. Or the insult you might feel when your body becomes ill or breaks down.  

Then wham bang, some part of you turns away and to some degree you close your heart.  You assume or sense or believe the other is posing a threat to your well being.

Given that we begin life completely dependent on someone taking care of our needs and that we are physically incapable of taking care of ourselves it is easy to see how, as conditioned adults, we believe we might actually die if we are not joined or are at odds.   If not die, then certainly we are in some serious danger. 

Don’t automatically buy this belief.  If you really look you will discover that the belief is insubstantial and is in bed with fear.  

Take a deeper look.  Don’t take it for granted that you are in danger or under threat. Ask yourself what really might happen if you drop your pride, surrender your fear and listen, really listen to the other with an open mind and an open heart?  What really happens when you truly and compassionately listen to yourself – to your internal conflicts and your bodies’ break downs?  

When you really look you can see the belief simply doesn’t hold water. 

And here is the important thing – the real thing:  In our heart of hearts we are unconditional love.  Pulsing through our beings is natural and effortless mercy no matter what.  Indiscriminate love – free flowing love that knows no other – 

Do not buy into the knotted and gnarled defenses and beliefs that keep this unbounded love bent and distorted – defenses and beliefs that actually keep you at a distance from love and life itself.

We are all in this together.  That is how it really is. And nothing short of knowing that in the marrow of our being is going to help us get along.  Really get along, genuinely, kindly and abidingly. 

From moment to moment look deeply into your heart.  Be brave enough to allow your heart to completely open – let it melt, let it break from the weight of sorrow and loss you feel for being at odds with yourself and each other and the earth and the universe itself.  Let your heart expand and embrace every single moment of your daily life, no matter what shows up.

Be still and deeply listen to the truth of this. 

Sit still in presence – wherever and however you find it.  Maybe the practice of meditation opens the door for you, perhaps it is sitting in solitude that allows the quiet voice of your inner knowing to be heard.  Or for some or at certain times it might be being in the presence of someone who is unconditionally accepting. Someone who enables your interior to quicken and come to life.  Court presence, moment to moment, as if your life and love depends on it. 

Want nothing less than falling into full-on-mercy to every hurt, every time, for everyone and everything. Want nothing less than really caring for yourself and every other being.