The Day A Muslim Triggered My Prejudice

by May 26, 2021Theme: Awakening To Love

For more than two decades, I had the opportunity to be the main speaker at large city festivals internationally. During the early part of this millennium, I was invited to speak in an area where about half the population was Christian and other half was Muslim, including the provincial Premier. Since our events attract tens of thousands of people, it is not uncommon for politicians to attend the opening of the festival, and this time was no different.

As I arrived to speak on opening night, I was told that I had to wait until the Premier came. Twenty minutes ticked by. I checked my watch again, and a half hour had passed. I became increasingly annoyed at what I assumed to be political grandstanding. Finally, the Premier arrived. He seemed to relish the reception he received from the large crowd, taking his time to address the people.

When the time finally came for me to speak, I was agitated. There was barely any time left, so I made some backhanded comments that I knew the crowd would not pick up on, but that would let the Premier know that I was not pleased with his political speechmaking made at my expense. The tension between us was palpable. Although nothing was said in front of the people, I knew that my introduction to this man had not been a positive encounter.

The following day, I realized that the barrier between us had no chance of dissolving if I maintained my judgmental attitude, which I realized much later was a throwback to my old egoic mindset of seeing through the lens of duality, or the knowledge of good and evil.

So I asked Elias Shija, my national festival director, if he could arrange a meeting with the Premier. Elias tried his best, but we had a long wait without any response. We needed another approach: visiting the Premier’s office buildings. However, official after official told us that the Premier was unable to speak with us. It was then that I remembered that the nation’s Vice President had died that same week, and the country was in official mourning. Many citizens of the nation were stopping by the government building signing their names and making a donation as a symbol of respect. So I decided that I would also make a size-able donation in honor of the Vice President at the office of the Premier.

A few moments later, I was told the Premier would see us for a brief moment. As we entered the office, his staff was courteous, but the tension from the night before was still there. Looking at the Premier, I knew from his stern face that he had not appreciated our earlier meeting. Before he had a chance to speak, I reached out my hand and looked into his eyes. I expressed my condolences for the passing of the Vice President, and then took the next few minutes to speak words of honor toward him.

As I continued to speak positive, affirming words, I noticed that his countenance changed. When I finished speaking, the Premier thanked me for coming to help people in his province. Soon we parted ways again, this time in peace. He told me that I was more than welcome to his region at any time.

When we awaken to divine love within us, we shift from an egoic consciousness that seeks to protect and defend its own reality about what is good and evil, right or wrong. Trying to win an argument with the Premier about who was right was meaningless. Instead, being conscious of divine love somehow compelled me to act contrary to the impulses of the ego, and display an attitude of graciousness, generosity, and kindness.
Judgmental attitudes and hypocritical actions tear us apart, but the attitude and words that reveal selfless divine love bring healing, restoration, and wholeness between people, families, and nations. This is what happens when you awaken to your true self. A new person emerges. You are being transformed by love to be love.

Adapted from David Youngren, Awakening To I Am Love: How Finding Your True Self Transforms Your Wellbeing, Relationships, and Whart You Do. (page 171)

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