When something goes wrong on the inside, sooner or later it manifests as symptoms on the outside.
I’ve spent the past week in the hospital with my wife Kathleen, who started vomiting blood last Sunday afternoon. That’s a particularly scary symptom, but we knew more or less what was going wrong. Back in 2014 the same thing had happened. It turned out she had cirrhosis, which caused an increase in blood pressure in the portal vein system, which led to the development of varices (basically swollen blood vessels) in her stomach. Some of these burst and she began bleeding. The fix was what’s called a TIPS procedure (transjugular interhepatic portal shunt), a shunt that redirects some of the blood flow around the liver, reducing pressure in the portal system.
But the varices remain, and probably due to some medication she was on for another problem, one or more of them began to bleed again. Because we recognized the symptoms and got her to the hospital immediately, it didn’t turn out too bad. She’s having a procedure now that should make it less likely for another episode to occur.
While sitting here waiting for her to return from the procedure, I’ve been on my computer and spent more time than usual scrolling through Facebook. There, too, I see the external symptoms of something deeply wrong “on the inside.” Distrust. Division. Dislike. Even hatred. I’m looking principally at posts from people in the U.S., since most of my connections are there, but I imagine it’s not much different in many other countries. Someone need only do, or in some cases merely say, something with which others disagree to trigger the most vile reactions.
Granted that in one degree or another this has often been the case in human society, it seems that people have become so polarized that they can’t bear the thought that someone of a different viewpoint even exists. Maybe that explains why some controversial actions result in a barrage of death threats.
This sickness goes beyond political alignments or social agendas. It afflicts everyone, be they right or left or anywhere in the middle.
The foregoing is simply an observation based on looking around with open eyes and setting aside all personal opinion on any particular subject. I’m not looking at people’s positions on things, but on their behavior, on how they react to each other. But at this point I have to risk expressing an opinion.
The only way out of this morass lies in spiritual regeneration. The human spirit is not one of division and hatred, but of unity and love. It is not a spirit of opposition and condemnation, but one of cooperation and support. It is neither liberal nor conservative agendas and movements that destroy our societies, but this negation of the human spirit itself. This is the deep illness, the “something wrong on the inside” that manifests itself in the symptoms so evident around us. The issues of which everyone complains are the blood being vomited up, not the cause of the bleeding.
As a Baha’i, I believe in the human spirit. I believe we have the capacity to develop our spiritual nature, both individually and collectively. Moreover, the human spirit is not the property of any one religion. Baha’is are engaged in a community building process based on spiritual principles and invite people of all faiths, or of no faith, to join with them in this endeavor. I invite you to investigate this process and, if you find it worthy, join us.