The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Who Will Weave The Fabric Together Again?

When we look around the world with open eyes, ears, and hearts, we witness many instances of social injustice, environmental destruction, or acts of oppression. Witnessing these can give rise to anger on one hand or despair (and withdrawal) on the other.

If we experience the hand of anger, then, without a mindful approach, this can be expressed through sarcasm, rage, or (at the extreme end) hatred towards the person(s) we perceive as inflicting the injustice or destruction.

When this happens, it becomes easy to take the next step into the story of Evil, or at least, Bad.

Reciting the story of Evil and labelling some as Good, some as Bad, is a rabbit hole that gets deeper and deeper, with no way back to the surface. Yet, sadly, many social justice, or environmental activists, end up falling into this rabbit hole.

Confronting injustice or degradation with rage or hatred, however, is a dead-end. It gets us nowhere. Furthermore, it only serves to reinforce the very story from which the injustice or degradation arose initially – the story of Separation.

The story of Separation is a very old one. It tells us that we (humans) are separate from nature and separate from each other. According to this story we exist in an Us and Them world. Naturally, as the story goes, Us are made up of Goodies and it is Us that must bring the perpetrators of injustice – Them Baddies – to account. In doing so, the words of the story tell us we are justified in voicing our anger in vitriol, words of shame, and the pointing of fingers.

Yet, it is this very separation from which the injustices and environmental damages arise.

We cannot repair this separation by further separating ourselves. Sarcasm, boo-ing, vitriol, rage, and hatred will not weave the torn fabric back together again.

So, whose role is it to weave the fabric back together?

Surely, if those of us seeking a better society or world are unwilling to do so, we cannot expect those who do not recognise the fabric as torn to do so. As Dr Seuss so eloquently put it, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not!’

If we want a better world, then we have to recognise that we must do something different. The old story of Us and Them, Good and Evil, must be thrown away and replaced with a new story.

Anger Still Arises

Of course, anger will still arise within us. Anger is, after all, a human emotion just like those of joy, happiness, sadness, awe, sorrow, or delight. Just like these emotions, anger arises within us as a response to our perception of what is happening in and around us.

Attempting to suppress anger is pointless, and most likely ineffectual, possibly even detrimental to our mental health.

The Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, recommends us to ‘take good care of (anger).’ He further advises: ‘When you get angry … please don’t pretend you are not angry. Don’t pretend that you don’t suffer.’1

This is key – our suffering. We suffer when we see children abused. We suffer when we watch a forest being bulldozed and the birds and animals of the forest made homeless. We suffer when we watch on the news of one country invading another.

If we take care of our anger, and we approach our suffering with mindfulness, then we are reminded of our common humanity and our connection with all life on this planet.

Recognising and working with our anger and suffering is a long, arduous journey. Yet it is one we must take if we are to weave the fabric back together again. We cannot expect to heal our suffering by inflicting suffering upon someone else.

When we undertake this journey we can invite others, even those perpetrating injustice and environmental destruction, to join us. There is no guarantee that they will accept the invitation, However, they just might.

If a different story than the one of Separation is to be told, and enacted, then if it is not those of us seeking a better world to tell it, then who will it be?


1. Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, Riverhead Books, New York, 2002.

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