friendly or hostile?


“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” ― Albert Einstein

What’s happened to you that you wake up every morning believing you live in a hostile world? Who doubted you? Harassed you? Demeaned you? Took their anger out on you? Who didn’t watch your back or offer to help you when you fell down? Who silenced you when you asked questions that hit too close to home? Told you that your curiosity was dangerous and inappropriate? Was threatened by your energy and intellect, your unique way of digesting the world? Who shut you down?

It could have been anyone of us, or all of us. Our fears leak out all over the place. We’re afraid we’re not smart enough, not energetic enough, not beautiful enough, not fill-in-the-blank enough. We separate ourselves from each other, and sort ourselves into divisive binaries; “that side yucky, this side nice”. We compare. And compete. We create top-down power systems where most of us “lose”. And in the anger and frustration of our loss, we start believing that we live in a hostile world, because in our suffering, it feels like one to us. We are islands of unhappiness. Islands of powerlessness. And because we don’t know how to break the cycle of despair, we act out. As if for our survival, we kick, we scream, we push other people down.

But what if we start believing that we actually live in a friendly, benign world? That we are not separate from each other, or from the planet that sustains us. What if we believe that co-operation makes us stronger, connection makes us more resilient, love helps us envision and accomplish anything? What if we are gentle with ourselves, gentle with each other? What if we wake up each morning ready to embrace and support each other?

Could we change the world?

— heidi kalyani, 2016
from the *nothing is black and white* project: illustration created out of meditation with a single unbroken line