In order to understand the idea of inequality, we may be well served by first defining ‘equality’. Simply stated, equality is the state of being equal in status, rights and opportunity. It is often associated with fairness, equity, impartiality and justice. It is apparent that equality and its associated traits and virtues are wonderful, if not essential, for humans, communities and societies to practice and embed in their lifestyle.
And yet, equality is a fleeting thing at best. If we look at nature, inequality seems to be everywhere. The robin lays a lot of eggs, but not each one of them hatches. Among the ones that do hatch, not every fledgeling is equally healthy. Some flowers bloom more beautifully than others, even though they may grow on the same branch, and tree. In fact, flowers on the same branch often compete with each other for sunlight. Nature is full of examples of inequality, both in flora and fauna.
Two instances when nature may come close to exhibiting equity is at the moment of the equinoxes. Every spring and autumn, at a given hour of a given day, the sun crossess the celestial equator. We observe, even celebrate these days as those of equal sunlight and darkness. It is only on n these two days of equinox that nature’s law seems to benedict equality upon her two hemispheres. On every other given day of the year, inequality of light and darkness is the natural law. And we humans, along with the flora and fauna that we live amongst, have learnt to thrive in this inequality of nature!
Similar to the two days of the equinoxes, there are perhaps two other instances in which equality is the natural law. Is it in the two instances of our birth and our death that we are equal in nature’s eyes? Is it not that the beggar and the king are ‘equal’ in birth and, particularly, death? Every living moment between those two moments has the potential to subject our lives too inequality. We might as well adapt, change, learn to live our lives well, swim and thrive in this sea of inequality, yes? Make no mistake. This isn’t a call to surrender and accept unfairness, inequity and injustice. We may have bigger battles at hand.
Our battle is for the abolition of the use and abuse of privilege. Our battle is against those who would use privilege to keep us from the opportunity to strive for natural justice. Equity, ethics, empathy and equality are all part of our core spiritual existence and heritage. Our battle against privilege will return us to our core values and existence, to equality through Oneness.
What can inequality create? Thirty three years ago this month, a young boy left behind everyone that he had known, spent the better part of twenty four hours migrating across the oceans to the unknown. With suns, moons and stars guiding his eyes, he traveled to a land which held out the promise of equal opportunity. A lot of equinoxes have since been celebrated by him in his adopted land. The boy has grown, but the dream has not yet gone.
The dream has in fact been transformed into a practice that his heritage has long known: “to arise, awake, keep aloft the banner of love, and to stop not until the goal is reached!”
P.S. What’s your story of adapting to inequality, of celebrating equinoxes, of battling privilege? I invite you to share with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday September 22 at 9amET on twitter. Namaste – @AjmaniK