Click here for an audio version of this article read by Marie T. Russell
It is most regrettable that most politicians, even at the highest level, ignore the very basics of demography! For instance, the average number of births per women needed to keep a stationary population is just above two in our countries. However, the birth rate in the USA and Great Britain is 1.8 (down from 2.12 in 2007 for the USA) and in my home country Switzerland it is a very modest 1.5. Without the welcome arrival of immigrants, our countries would slowly empty themselves of their population. In Germany, thanks to the massive and very recent increased influx of immigrants and refugees, the birth rate shot up from a low of 1.39 in 2010 (at the time one of the lowest if not the lowest in the world) to 1.5 in 2016.
But that is the purely material side of the picture. There is of course for the readers of this blog a spiritual dimension which is as important, if not much more so. In the non-dual vision of spirituality presented so well in the West by e.g. the great American mystic and healer, Joel Goldsmith, both my neighbour and I are not separate entities, but the same divine entity, the Godhead, expressing itself in its infinite multiplicity which nevertheless remains one, as the waves in the ocean. Joel (author of a teaching called The Infinite Way) says that we need to replace the old dualist expression “God and man” by the non-dual term, “God AS man”. Do you not find it infinitely comforting to think of yourself as God expressing Herself AS you? I suggest you make it a theme of a coming meditation. And of course, the secret is to FEEL yourself as the divine expressing Herself, not think about it. And if it is true of yourself, it is equally true of the Afghan or Central American refugee.
This prompts any alert spiritual thinker to re-translate the 2nd Commandment (“Love your neighbour as yourself) into its non-dual version, “Love your neighbour who IS yourself” – just as every wave is of the very same chemical composition, origin and cause as the ocean.
That is why, from a spiritual point of view, it is extremely narrow and an expression of one’s own fear to point to a Honduran immigrant or Syrian refugee as if she or he were some alien body against which one needs to build protective walls, be the walls legal, physical, cultural or whatever. Let us start looking at them as God smiling at us.
A Blessing for Immigrants, Refugees and Others Arriving in a Foreign Country
In recent years, millions have had to flee their own country for a variety of political, economic, social and other reasons, such as civil war. The challenge of adapting to a new country, culture, language, climate, customs… is daunting, as anyone who has worked with or befriended such people knows. Just to survive you sometimes need to be a hero, especially if you are a mother with small children. Let us open our hearts wide to these brothers and sisters and really put ourselves in their shoes: how would we respond to such a situation?
We bless all those who have had to flee their homes and are attempting to adapt to a completely new setting.
We bless them in their unwavering courage, sheer grit, perseverance and stamina in face of the huge obstacles facing them daily.
We bless them in their innate intelligence and adaptability when facing complex rules and regulations, customs that seem to them really strange if not utterly bizarre.
We bless them in their equanimity and strength when facing outright hostility from nationals resenting their presence out of fear or ignorance.
We bless the host nations in their spirit of compassion and sharing so that their citizens may be awakened to the immense human, intellectual and cultural wealth these newcomers represent for them.
And finally, we bless all concerned in their consciousness that my sister or brother is myself and that the challenge of integrating these immigrants is truly an amazing gift of the universe in helping all work toward a world built on collaboration and cooperation in all areas that will alone guarantee the survival of the human race.