On a rare sunny, winter day in Seattle, I was walking in my neighborhood, practicing a core belief of the Healing Touch Program. The core belief is that we are all one—individually unique, but made of the same divine energy of the universe that connects all living beings. My neighborhood is a great place to practice this belief because of its diversity. Our mixed-income community shelters public housing renters alongside home owners in an effort to diminish the ravages of urban poverty. At first glance, the differences seem vast. Income, education, language, race, religion, cultural norms, clothing, family structures and gender roles all differ tremendously. Community signs are posted in nine languages. We are a true melting pot. But as we Americans know, while there is exquisite beauty in melting pots, they are also full of tension as competing values, histories and perceptions collide in our everyday lives. As I walk, I practice recognizing our shared divine energy. I look at each person I encounter and remind myself that our core selves are one.
Make no mistake. This is not about holding hands, singing Kumbaya and having a Hallmark greeting card moment. Sometimes while I’m walking, fear of “the other” rises up in me, fueled by a lifetime exposure to the prejudices and stereotypes our society perpetuates. This is tough work, the dismantling of untruths. I must first recognize the source of that fear: the thoughts that hide in my subconscious. Then I must look “the other” in the eye, let go of the fear and remind myself of the truth: we are one. Smiles and greetings flow naturally and authentically in that moment of shared humanity. The differences don’t disappear. They will still clash at times. But with awareness and practice, we can move beyond the false perceptions to something greater, something that inspires us to care for one another. Something that allows us to truly be a healing presence in our messy and beautiful melting pot.