Imagine Empathy: A New Year's Invocationby Raymond Rigoglioso on 01/04/16
I delivered this invocation as part of the New Year's ritual at Easton Mountain. Because so much of it applies broadly to gay men, I wanted to share this here as my wish for 2016.
May you live each day as an inspiration.
Imagine a world in which we extend understanding instead of judgment, an open heart instead of scorn, an open hand instead of punishment.
We are living in a time when powerful cross-currents are sweeping and pulling human consciousness in different directions. In the United States, the political season we have entered has brought to the surface the ugliness and shadow that have long existed beneath our thin veneer of civility. We see otherwise good people—even people we know—fearing the mythical “other,” and hardening their hearts.
These are dangerous times. And yet, these are hopeful times.
Because while our media cover the political circus and fan its flames, we understand this manufactured reality for what it is. We know that other currents are pulling humanity toward greater connectedness and higher consciousness. Voices from all walks of life, all colors and creeds, across the socioeconomic spectrum, are rising in the call for greater equity and justice. Communities of all kinds are coming together to reject the default human behavior that has ensnared us in timeless conflict.
Ours is one such community. At Easton Mountain, gay men, bi men, queer people, come together in love, even if it may be imperfect at times. We open our hearts to each other. We strip ourselves of the ruse that society foists upon us. We revel in our brotherhood. We delight in each other’s companionship, in each other’s bodies. We dare to be men-who-love men.
We possess the vibration that interrupts the insanity that has swept this country. We are humanity’s default observers, the outsiders who bring perspective, wisdom, and open heartedness to a world that can so easily descend into fear.
We mirror what we see non-judgmentally. We give the gift of empathy, of compassion, of unity to a world that insists upon fracturing itself. The love we express here, the care we show one another—this is a laboratory. A place for us to grow this love, so that we may share it in abundance with the people we know and love, whose hearts are at risk, whose minds threaten to close.
In 2016, let us be the empathy. Let us extend love and understanding. Let us set the example for welcoming in the outsider. Imagine empathy. For that is what we bring to the world.