"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
-- Albert Einstein
We are living in a powerful time, but a dangerous one -- a time when we can no longer turn our backs on the heartbreaking reality of hatred and violence that exists for so many all over the world.
Sunday's event in Paris in response to this reality was incredible and unprecedented: millions of people coming together in the name of unity. Many may see this gathering as a mark of progress for a world shrouded in separation and darkness, but perhaps its most important aspect was to show us that our world leaders can indeed walk hand-in-hand together in common cause.
Moreover, this spontaneous show of unity confirms something that the kabbalists have predicted for centuries: that we are coming closer to the time when we can, as individuals and as a collective, reverse the negativity that is within us and around us; a time when we can turn the tide of hatred once and for all; a time of awakening to the fact that peace will come when we can establish a binding of people based on the spark of the universal life-force that is within each of us and all of us.
But while Sunday's event in Paris is a promising start, none of us are naive enough to think that it means that we have "arrived." Yes, we are in the middle of a profound process- - an evolution of world consciousness where the human spirit is carving a new way forward out of great darkness.
But no. We have not yet arrived.
So much more work remains to be done.
And that work does not rest solely in the hands of leaders and dignitaries, although their efforts are indeed important.
Instead, the work and the power lie in our hands -- in your hands, in my hands -- because each of us is a part of the universal network of consciousness. As Einstein pointed out, it is just delusion that makes us believe we are small and limited, that we have no power over or effect on what is happening.
We are facing a universal problem that requires a universal answer. Yes, that answer is complex and cannot be oversimplified. But we what we do know is that we can't fight the darkness with more darkness. The only thing that can eliminate the darkness is Light.
So what can we do?
Well, a good place for us to start is by creating a global force of kindness... a force composed of all of our individual efforts and actions... a force that can blanket the earth in positivity and Light.
I'm not talking here about "random acts of kindness." I'm talking about deliberate kindness, conscious kindness, kindness that we extend to those who are different than us, kindness that doesn't come easy. I am talking about kindness that we extend with the intention of being a part of the network of positive consciousness because that is where our strength as human beings lies. Of course, we aren't perfect, but as Einstein said, "The striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
Perhaps it was best said by Lassana Bathily, the Muslim kosher-supermarket employee who saved a group of hostages in Friday's attacks by hiding them in the walk-in freezer: "We are brothers. It's not a question of Jews, of Christians, or of Muslims. We're all in the same boat; we have to help each other to get out of this crisis."