Reflections on Charlottesville

Audio Version

Here are some reflections from me that I shared with my ministerial colleagues in Centers for Spiritual Living. These are not meant to make anyone else wrong, nor are they meant to jump on the bandwagon of a particular viewpoint. Just letting you in on my current thought process. Thanks for reading.

As I reflect on recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and other examples of division, separation, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, win-lose paradigms, projections, blame, shame, guilt and so many other forms of separation, I find myself wanting to expand my sense of compassion for all humans.

So many ways throughout history and in current times that we divide ourselves or see through the lens of the ‘other.’

I find myself curious about what it’s like to be in each person’s shoes. As I look through the lens of compassion and deep curiosity, I see so many living in fear of a perceived other.

I wonder where it all ends, and what is mine to do. While I certainly am appalled by racism, bigotry, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, and all other forms of hatred, I wonder if my sense of indignation begins to take me into another form of separation. I wonder if I no longer can even see those who are espousing such acts of hatred. And I wonder if my not seeing them is helping the situation.

As I ponder the vision of a world that works for everyone, I feel called to really understand what the concerns are of all humans. I find myself less concerned with who is to blame, or who has it easier or harder, and more concerned with understanding how we all get our needs met.

The concept of privilege, and understanding it, can be a vehicle to that understanding, so long as in the process we remember our ultimate objective, which, for me, is understanding, compassion, unity, peace, and an abundantly fulfilling life for all.

Various forms of hatred and bigotry have profoundly impacted me in my lifetime, and today I wonder, is there any end to the ways we separate ourselves as humans? Is the answer to segment those who themselves are espousing division and separation, or is it to stand more firmly in our knowing of oneness and unity?

The answer for me is that I cannot have animosity toward any other being. And I must make the effort to understand and empathize with those who are in pain of all forms — those suffering from systemic injustices as well as those in such fear of others that they act in harmful ways. Yes, I speak out against injustices and at the same time, even more of my energy is invested in offering more love, compassion, and understanding to all beings.

It seems what the world needs is more love and compassion, not more ways to separate ourselves.

Enjoy the journey.


  1. Bette Jean Bishop says:

    I am in total agreement with what Rev Toole said. I believe as long as we are in this physical form – we will experience separation. The only action we can take as human beings is to express more compassion, more love, and be focused/grounded in understanding of all. Let us use discernment rather than judgement. The light will absorb the darkness – it is the LAW. Let this action begin with ME.
    thank you – Namaste, bjbishop

    • Christine DiBerardino says:

      I am appalled at the bigotry and racism. And yes, I do agree with you Rev Gregory. I know I am being called to show more love and compassion. I see the fear and hatred and I don’t like it. I want to be conscious and I want to love. So I’ve decided to consciously love, especially when it’s challenging to do so. Thank you, Gregory for being both light and love on this planet.

  2. Beth says:

    Thank you Gregory! One thing I would like to add is that love sometimes looks like intervention, justice, and imprisonment for dangerous and violent persons and organizations. Compassion is sometimes sweet and kind. Compassion is sometimes fierce and unequivocal. How I would love it if spiritual teachers would also say that clearly.

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