Nejoud Al Yagout

There always seems to be a new genocide, another invasion, a war, a terrorist attack. Those of us without power watch, with broken hearts, and donate money to sites without a guarantee that the money will reach the intended parties.

We pray, we hold vigils, we send messages on social media, because our helplessness has become a burden, a crucible too painful to carry around in our minds. And today, we watch with horror as Syria is the new target of our collective insanity.

The killing will not stop until we stop believing that we are different to anyone else. What is happening in Aleppo can happen to any of us at any moment at any given place. Life is cyclical and our anger cannot remain confined to one space. And on the glorious day that Aleppo is finally freed, yet another genocide in yet another part of the world will shatter us to our core.

Only when we realize we have been duped – or have duped ourselves – into believing we are different, can we awaken and realize that we are the ones perpetuating divisiveness. Patriotism is the enemy, any belief system that says you are above your fellow brothers and sisters is the enemy, any matrix that places the powerful above the rest is the enemy. Though our systems are appalling, we are all to blame, because we have accepted these systems blindly. At school, we learn about polarities before we can count: males and females, bullies and victims, rich and poor, popular and ostracized, jocks and nerds, ugly and beautiful. Immediately, we are catapulted into a world where we feel superior or inferior, depending on where we live, how we look and, in many cases, our heritage. We are taught – unconsciously – that we are different. Then, at work, in our families, our social lives, we swim in oceans of hierarchies, desperately trying to reach the shore of non-duality, when the oneness silently speaks to us from our hearts. Still, we ignore our inner voice and waltz away from the stillness of our soul, embracing a paradigm that prepares us to either reign or be defeated. And being on auto-pilot, we blame others for all the aggression around us, when the key to freedom is a mere lack-of-thought away.

And so, the killing will not stop until our system dissolves and we rise again like phoenixes from the ashes. In the meantime, I will never stop praying, but my prayers have changed. They are now intimate, personal, sporadic and my prayer is: Help me ascend from fear into love. Help us all ascend.

I can no longer pray just for Muslims as I have been taught, nor can I pledge allegiance just to my country, as I have been taught. My love is too expansive. My soul knows that I was born a Kuwaiti and into Islam, but love is beyond all labels. I am beyond all these labels. I am here on this planet, navigating unknown terrain, and until we all find a way to dissolve this madness, I will try my best to love with a force that surpasses you and me.

And so, I ask us: If any part of us is involved in a clique-like ideology that claims the Divine loves us more, or a system where wealth defines our status, I ask, nay I beg us all, myself included. to free ourselves from these chains of polarization for the sake of all sentient beings.

One by one, we must let go and awaken from this nightmare we have all created. It may be the scariest thing we ever do, but it begins in our thoughts. I beg you. I beg myself. I beg us to no longer walk around on auto-pilot. The belief that we are separate from each other  is what has kept divisiveness alive and what makes us feel entitled to rape, to kill, to subjugate the wayward. The belief we are separate has made us gender-biased and has given birth to words such as minorities, homosexuals, immigrants, refugees. How dare we call others minorities! How dare we define another person by who they are attracted to or who they love! And the only reason we have immigrants and refugees is because we have created borders, while Earth has so generously given us land to roam freely, sharing her fruits and resources will all, regardless. Can we learn from Earth? There were no borders. There were no price tags on fruits and vegetables. There were no signs of trespassing. There were no bodies of water that were named after countries, and no countries named after individuals. Can a line really divide us? Are we so insane, so naïve, that we have forgotten that borders and labels have nothing to do with who we are, in essence?

I invite us all to remember that beneath it all, there is a life-force that has no religion, no race, no gender and it does not discriminate between humans and animals, the tangible and the immaterial, nature and the vast expanse. Until then, we can keep donating, keep holding vigils and sending care packages, in the hope that these noble inclinations will propel us toward transcendence. But we must prepare ourselves to face more anxiety, feel more pain and suffer on the sidelines helplessly as we watch our world experience one trauma after another. Viva l’awakening!

By Nejoud Al-Yagout