By Paul Feinberg
While walking near Central Park the other day, watching the construction of a massive skyscraper, a thought came to mind. On one hand, we as humans posses the brilliance to make this happen, and on the other hand, we have difficulty getting along in a humanistic manner. Amazing, I say. Sad, I say. Unfortunate, upsetting and disturbing, I say.
In the words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changin’.” But for the better? Or for the worse?
As I see it, the concept of abuse is out of control. Whether the form taken is physical, mental, sexual, drug, alcohol, eating, et al., it appears out of control.
How difficult it is for humans to fully embrace the concept of “things are the way they are, because we, together, allow it; because we choose to be disconnected.” We seem to struggle to think clearly and to stay united and connected. It takes a conscious level of awareness or mindfulness, or whichever terminology fits, to be developed and focused.
Again we are currently witnessing a high level of abuse in our society, in various forms: violence, terrorism, drug abuse, mental abuse, suffering, among others. We all play a part in allowing it to continue. We can all benefit by training our minds to be caring, respectful, gentle, kind, loving, understanding, tolerant, patient and sensitive with each other and also with ourselves.
We have collectively allowed ourselves to tolerate behaviors which have become the norm in today’s society; behaviors which are abusive, hurtful and disrespectful. Consider allowing ourselves to focus on the effect our behavior has on ourselves and on others — to create a healthier society.
Focus on the effect our behavior is having on the receiver, with regard to sincerity, honesty, caring, understanding, sensitivity, love, compassion and truthfulness — so that this new approach may become infectious and result in an epidemic — like a plague, or a disease which spreads rapidly through society.
Each of us has within us the potential to develop this new consciousness, with the proper training, guidance and support. Let us focus not solely on ourselves, but on others — and collectively work towards creating a healthy society for ourselves and future generations.
Let us allow ourselves to empower ourselves, to feel a greater energy in being part of building a consistently better place to live. Let us be constructors of the creation, rather than recipients of unhealthy circumstances created by individuals with, perhaps, unhealthy motivations.
We do not have to accept these changing times, if we learn how to empower ourselves. Let us collectively do this — in great numbers. Let us not just talk about it. Let us live it as part of our lifestyle on a daily basis.
In the words of Eli Wiesel, “We must always take sides, neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. We must interfere.”
Paul Feinberg lives in S. Setauket. He is a retired Three Village junior high school guidance counselor and acting administrator.