I learned a lot about life from watching Star Trek. I’m talking about the original TV series. Forget the cardboard rocks and questionable acting, the story lines were consistently stimulating and even inspirational.
One of my favorite episodes pitted the crew against a race of mind controlling aliens. Kirk and company were languishing in prison when the captain attacked one of their captors, wrestled him to the ground, and began strangling him.
The alien turned into a monstrous gorilla… confirming that what Kirk was seeing was an illusion. He kept up the pressure and, as the creature weakened and his mind powers waned, the entire environment changed. The illusion melted away and here’s what they saw: holes.
During initial contact, the crew had used their phasers to defend themselves but given up when they didn’t work. Now they saw the truth… their phasers had worked and there were holes wherever they had blasted.
I’ve remembered that episode for thirty years. Why? Because it gives us an opportunity to wake up from the illusion of personal ineffectiveness. Our phasers are working! We too have been blasting away, oblivious to the damage our thoughts and words and actions have been having. Who doesn’t express resentment, hate even, certainly self-judgment, without realizing this creates an impact?
The problem is that we don’t see the results right away. Think again. What’s causing the rise of hateful rhetoric in the world right now, the increase in terrorism and acts of insane cruelty? We can point at others, because we’re not the ones pulling triggers, but… aren’t we? We don’t use guns or phasers; we use thoughts and words and actions.
We can choose differently. We can take full responsibility in every moment to express the qualities we wish to see growing in our world. Strangle that beast within yourself that would desecrate this wonderful world we share and wake up to the ever-present opportunity to spread love and joy and gratitude.
Here’s our most powerful weapon for constructive change.