“Mariette, have you ever had an insight that felt so simple when you realized it, so simple that you wonder how come it’s taken you so long to realize it?”
I smile as many instances flood my mind. Oh, how many times had I beat myself up for taking “so long” to realize something that was “so simple.”
Nodding, I snap out of my own memories to ask this inquiring prison resident “What insight did you realize?”
“I realized last night, after NVC*, that we’re all one!”
What?!?!? As the prison residents say themselves, when they disconnect from humanity, it becomes easy to lash out at it. This insight was exciting as it demonstrated a shift towards a deeper understanding of and connection to humanity. When it happens, hurting another becomes less likely.
He continues, “I’ve heard this countless times. But I could never figure it out. I always felt so different from everyone around me. How could I be the same as these people that were so different? Then, last night, it clicked. All those people who are so different – the correctional officers, the other residents, my family, people on the streets, etc. – well, I now see the person in each of them. It’s so simple. And it changes e-ver-y-thing!!!!! WHY has it taken me this long to realize this????”
As we part ways for the day, I provide “You’ve landed on what I consider to be a universal truth. And universal truths are always simple. It’s their simplicity that confounds us because we believe that it cannot be this simple. So instead of beating yourself up for taking ‘so long’ to realize something ‘so simple,’ I suggest you celebrate. Many people never come to their own experiential realization of this reality. Congrats for recognizing it.”
Now to you, “free person”:
What universal truth have you uncovered?
How have you celebrated yourself for this insight?
And I close with the same question I asked the prison resident before leaving him at the gate: “The question now is: now that you’ve realized this, what beliefs, thoughts, words and behaviors are you going to change?”
* NVC = Nonviolent communication, a recurring 12-week program Brilliance Inside’s Sunaina brings to Donovan which teaches the theory and practice of nonviolent communication