Last night I was lucky to be one of the many people at Wembley enjoying the magic that is Coldplay. What a truly awesome experience it was and as they played out with 'Up&Up' and we all danced and waved our glowing wristbands in the air it would have been hard to imagine that human beings were capable of expressing anything other than love and joy.
Back in the car and still buzzing with the wonder of it all I did what I seem to have become compelled to do. I started scrolling my Facebook news feed and saw the news about the murder of Jo Cox. Terrible terrible news. Unbearably sad and awful and hopeless. Coldplay had in fact dedicated a song to Jo Cox but I had not known who she was at that time so not realised the significance.
And then this morning when I awoke feeling tired and a bit fragile I succumbed to the Facebook scrolling activity again and saw something that made my heart break. Some footage of British football fans drunkenly taunting refugee children in Lille. I could not bear it. I still cannot bear it. How can human beings behave this way to each other? What hope is there for us when such cruelty and ignorance exists. When we have so little sens of our shared humanity. When we hurt each other and hurt ourselves and the world in the process.
How are we to respond to such things? What are we to do? At 11.00 o'clock this morning I had no answers to that so I did what I generally do in the face of pain. I put on my trainers and I ran. And, as always happens things got clearer to me as I ran and I knew again what I already know in my heart. That we are all capable of love and joy and also of cruelty and violence. That we might not like to see those things expressed by other people, and we might like to think that those terrible acts are done by people who are not like us. To separate them in our minds and believe that we would be incapable of such things. But in truth we are all connected and we all have the potential for good and bad. And as we are all connected there is no 'them' and 'us' there is only 'us'.
And so if parts of 'us' are doing things that are hurting 'us' then it is down to 'us' to do something to help. To make things better somehow.
The Buddhists have a wonderful meditation practice called the 'Metta Bhahavana' or 'Loving Kindness Meditation' and trust me when I say these Buddhists know a thing or two about what the world needs. It needs love and kindness and that needs to start with 'us'. Being kind and loving ourselves, being kind and loving those people around us and then sending that love and kindness further out into the world and even deeper into ourselves so it reaches the parts of us we don't want to see, the ignorance and the fear and the cruelty and violence.
There is no 'them' there is only 'us'
"We're going to get it together right now, we're going to get it together somehow, going to get it together and flow, going to get it together and go up and up." Coldplay - UP&UP from A Head Full of Dreams.
Jo Christa Taylor is a Mindfulness Teacher offering 'Introduction to Mindfulness' Workshops and 8-week Mindfulness Courses in the East Midlands. Get in touch via this website if this interests you.