Something I’ve noticed as I’ve grown older is how increasingly angry and stressed and critical people have become, so ready to accuse and take offence and find fault, needing to judge and urge their own views on others. As if their souls have slowly become poisoned…
I’ve seen this all in myself too, until I learnt that my power lay in what I chose and who I chose to be.
Reading a wonderful article about antioxidants in Dr Mercola’s newsletter this morning, it occurred to me that what is happening to us parallels very closely what happens to the body. When it is stressed, or exposed to toxins the body reacts by producing free radicals.
These are a form of highly reactive and destructive metabolite. Free radical molecules are missing one or more electrons so these incomplete molecules aggressively attack other molecules in an attempt to restore themselves to wholeness. You might say that they are an unconscious by-product of exposure to stress or poison. And this unconscious reaction causes yet deeper harm:
“Free radicals steal electrons from the proteins in your body, which badly damages your DNA and other cell structures. They can create a “snowballing effect” – as molecules steal from one another, each one becomes a new free radical, leaving a trail of biological carnage.”
What then is the remedy for the imbalance and upset caused by a lack of wholeness, that has in turn been caused by exposure to stresses or toxins?
Nature has a wonderful remedy when it comes to the body:
“Antioxidants are electron donors. They can break the free radical chain reaction by sacrificing their own electrons to feed free radicals, but without turning into free radicals themselves.
Antioxidants are nature’s way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS). As long as you have these important micronutrients, your body will be able to resist aging caused by your everyday exposure to pollutants.”
What then are the spiritual antioxidants that will heal a damaged soul? Heal hurt and anger and lack of wholeness, without being infected by them?
For me it has been learning that anger and hurt are choices, and that I always have the power in the moment to choose differently. No matter how justified it might be – and that is always a subjective judgment – I can choose not to be angry, not to take offence.
It isn’t easy. It takes repeated practice.
But if I am unable or unwilling to do this how can I expect it of someone like the new U.S. President? If I can’t neutralise my own anger, how can I expect it of others?
Responding to anger with anger sets off a cascade of reactions. And certainly this is an old and time-honoured way of producing change. But there is always unavoidable destructiveness. Others are inevitably injured in the process. We have become programmed to think that this is the only way to bring about change.
What I am asking myself is: Is there a different way to allow and encourage positive change? Gandhi certainly thought so. Nelson Mandela came around to this view too.
It all begins with the self, I think. There is undoubtedly a role for mass marches. But can we engage in them with love rather than anger? We have come a long way I think, because I have a sense that the marches are not purely about anger. There is much love there too. But there is still a feeling of them and us. The “enlightened” versus the deeply unenlightened. How can this divide be bridged? It seems so difficult, and yet…
What lessons can we draw from Nature?