Be An Upstander, Not A Bystander

Alison JamesArticles

When I was seated at the dinner table of my English grandmother as a five-year old child, if I started to speak she would rap her index finger on the table to silence me; I was to be seen, but not heard. Times have changed and I certainly have made up for it since! Of course, it is a healthy practice to eat in silence savoring every mouthful of food and chewing slowly, although that was not the reason for my grandmother’s intervention in those days! I believe it was a respect for elders that she wanted to instill. In our days of fast living, focusing in silence is the basis for meditation and requires discipline. Similarly, developing confidence to speak up for oneself and others is a form of expression to be learned.

I suspect few of us survived our school years unscathed by taunts, discrimination or verbal harassment of some kind, perhaps even physical bullying.  Fortunately, the new Anti-bullying Act, or The Dignity for All Students Act, amends state education law to instill codes of conduct amongst students built on respect of others and to establish sensitivity and tolerance training for staff. If a young person is filled with fear or dread, it will interfere with the learning process.

However, I believe opposition in the “School of Hard Knocks” gives us a sense of self, self-pride and perhaps a dose of courage. In our School of Life on Earth, polarities give us something to pitch ourselves against, metaphysically speaking.  Adversity builds character. If life were perfect and blissful, why would we incarnate?

Respect for others provides a fundamental motivation to foster a safe and protective environment for life. What affects one, affects us all.  Thus our school system does and will, hopefully, encourage students to stand up for their rights and not to ignore or be victimized by injustice, whatever form it might take. This new law will teach students to be Upstanders, not Bystanders.

As I have stated in Merlin and The New Camelot, it is the spirit of cooperation, “We Consciousness” that is the basis for the New Golden Age that we are birthing. Being an Upstander means having a sense of responsibility for others and their wellbeing, not being selfish and competitive in a “me versus you” environment. As the Avatars and Enlightened Beings have taught us, we incarnate to learn to be of service to others. That is the outward expression of our inner respect of self.

In the movie “The Descendants”, we see the outspoken children of the main character Matt King (played by George Clooney) coming through adversity and replacing dysfunction with acceptance, caring and cooperation. His character, like others in the story, does “the right thing” for his comatose wife, the trust of land he controls and the others with whom he has interaction. It is when one steps up and goes beyond thinking solely about oneself to think about the effect of one’s actions in a broader sense, that “We Consciousness” becomes a reality. How refreshing this story is – although for me the outré behavior of the youngsters in the beginning becomes overplayed.

I do not suggest that we take the weight of the world on our shoulders, rather that we act according to our convictions and that we each play our part utilizing our individual gifts and talents. Uniqueness is to be celebrated, not denigrated.