"And if a stranger is a resident alien in your land, you shall not wrong him. But the stranger who dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Eternal One your God" (Leviticus 19:34). And a verse that sums it up, "You shall love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 10:19). We must open our heart to those considered to be the strangers among us.

It's not simply a matter of ethical imperative, although that imperative is certainly present. It's a matter of identification. We are to be concerned about the stranger because we know what it's like to be a stranger. It is crucial that we remember. The stranger is not "other" to us: The stranger reminds us of our own experience and of our own identity.

Before equality can be fully achieved in any culture, we must learn what it is like to be the other. This is often the missing element in social action projects. We identify those in need and work against those we see creating and perpetuating that need. It is so easy to find an enemy, and to work against that enemy. But even if we "win," our winning is temporary because we have not changed the fundamental way we view the other.

We can easily pinpoint forces in society that contribute to inequality and suffering. It is also easy to identify those who are themselves suffering. In both cases, if we wish to implement true change, we must explore what it is like to be that other. We need to find ways to honor the essential humanity of all those we identify as the stranger and as the other in our world.

But first we need to honor the sacred Presence within ourselves. In some ways, each and every one of us is the other, each and every one of us is the stranger. At the same time, each and every one of us is holy. The Torah tell us, "You are holy, for I, the Eternal One your God, am holy" (Leviticus 19:2). This reminder of holiness was to be inscribed on a golden disk hanging from the high priest Aaron's headdress. The disk was to be engraved with the Hebrew words Kodesh L'Adonai, "Holy to the Eternal One." It is time for the high priest to awaken within each of us.

In your own meditative space, welcome the priestly archetype. This is the part of you that carries the awareness of the Sacred, the part that is awake to the holiness of your being.

Imagine that there is a golden disk between and just a little above your eyes. The disk reads, "Holy to the Eternal One."

But the writing on this disk is not turned outward toward those looking at you. Rather, the words are turned inward toward yourself. The words gently penetrate you consciousness to reach the place where they always reside. At the heart of your being, you know that the Life awakening through you is holy. Release yourself to the gentle embrace of this Presence. Allow yourself to be nurtured, nourished, rejuvenated, and renewed. Breathe that Presence into every cell and every level of your being.

Remain in this sacred knowing as long as you wish, and then gently, with intention and with love, walk that holiness into your world.

Walking This Practice into the World

Imagine that there is a golden disk on the forehead of each person you meet. Imagine that inscribed on each disk are the words "Holy to the Eternal One." Each and every person is holy. Holiness is our nature. Behind the mask of individuality, behind our particular history, behind all our past conditioning, we are holy.

As you confront another, notice that there is often a slight brightness between and just a little above his eyes. This is the place of that disk. In the presence of a stranger, an outsider, even an enemy, focus on that area between the eyes. When you focus your attention there, you tend to avoid the call of the separate self. The other person will not be able to tell that you are not looking him in the eye, but you may find it more conducive to meeting him as your neighbor.

Ted Falcon in Finding Peace through Spiritual Practice: The Interfaith Amigos' Guide to Personal, Social and Environmental Healing by Don Mackenzie, Ted Falcon, Jamal Rahman