“Hearing the Voice Within”
August 7, 2011 — Most of us are aware of our conscience. Sometimes described as the “little person on our shoulder”, it activates when we consider doing something we learned or know is wrong. This part of our consciousness guides our decisions, inflicts guilt when violated, and, in general, acts as our parental guide after we are grown.
Our conscience reflects our cultural and family values and biases. As we mature, we may need to examine these early learnings in order to be able to act as positive, healthy adults. In other words, our conscience, the totality of our early learnings, needs to be reexamined if we are not to simply replicate the past. Overcoming prejudice and abuse are two learnings we may need to confront.
As we consider the human conscience, some questions may begin to surface. What is behind the aberrations of conscience that allow for crime, torture, and annihilation of another’s body, mind, or spirit? What about the replacement of conscience by greed? What about those who learned that the end justifies the means in achieving one’s goals? Have some lost that moral compass that helps distinguish right from wrong? Are more failing to receive that teaching? Are some working to de-value human life by attaching a price tag? Can we ever put a dollar value on human life? I hope not!
Being a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or significant other requires one to examine one’s conscience. Consider: “What values did I learn that I want to teach my children?” “What did I learn that no longer fits my belief system?””How can I help my children to be healthy, productive and caring members of society?””Why should I care?”
The Meditation for July 2011 described the precipice upon which our planet stands poised. Decisions we make now will have immediate and long-term consequences. Political and financial instability threatens us globally as perhaps never before due to our interdependence upon these systems. At this moment, the political unrest in multiple countries appears to be spreading. Economic recessions, deflation of currency and inflation of prices, lack of job opportunities, bankruptcies, and unscrupulous means taken to obtain information, are rocking our world! Voices of reason may also be deniers of reality. It is difficult to step back and “get a handle” on the big picture.
As individuals we often feel out of control as decisions are being made by both representative (elected) and non-representative leadership. In all cases one must ask if one believes that decisions being made are for the greater good, or for narrow, deceptive agendas. It is difficult to discern truth from fiction. It is even more difficult to ascertain right from wrong without all of the facts. The “little person on our shoulder” may have never been so important as it is today. Making decisions on facts rather than fiction, is a challenge that must be followed by a will to make decisions for the greater good. If a person in leadership position has an under-developed conscience, coupled with powerful decision-making authority, he or she is dangerous.
We must rely upon our abilities to: (1) discern facts from lies; (2) discern right from wrong; and (3) discern who has the skills, integrity and character to be put into leadership position. After we have achieved the freedom to elect our leadership, the responsibility for following our conscience is critical. Freedom is fragile and must be protected.
We long for peace, but there is no true peace without human freedom.
This Meditation is dedicated to maintaining freedom even after the personal cost of attaining it.
Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D.
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