WHERE I AM WITH CONFRONTING HATE
Freedom does not include the freedom to behave violently. Hate is embedded in our society. I can’t pretend to understand what people of colour experience but I know from what I see and hear that hate and violence are pervasive. We need to take responsibility for our own hate. Each of us. And we need to stand up for what is right. Which is freedom, safety, and respect for every human being. It is frightening to write this. And it is my privilege that I do not have to address this issue. Consciously I am frightened of “getting it wrong.” Of saying something that reveals my ignorance and prejudice. I believe that to hold back from speaking after the terrifying events in Charlottesville is to unconsciously perpetuate hate. Prejudice underlies my reluctance. We must confront our reluctance.
A meditation for difficult times. I provide context in the post below.
I am driving home and hear, “they will be met with fire, fury, and frankly power… the likes of which this world has never seen before.”
I am jostled. Afraid. Upset.
I catch myself in a reverie, “We meditate round the clock at the U.S. embassy. Five to ten of us sitting at all times sending love. No words, no shouting, no signs. Just sitting. Radiating love.”
My mind joins the party, “sending love - what new age BS.”
The introjected words of my psychoanalytic teachers criticize me for apparently rejecting the shadow and focussing too much on an ethereal notion of love. For skipping over the hard and messy stuff and running too quickly to ‘light'.
There are a whole world of practices that are not strictly psychotherapy which I am exploring these past few years. Ways to heal. Different ways of looking at illness and trauma and conflict.
Have you ever walked into a place and had a physical reaction such as difficulty breathing or sneezing?
Have you ever walked into a place and felt a strong energy - spooky or peaceful?
There are one thousand different ways of looking at these experiences. Different words we could use: frequency, vibration, vibe, energy, feeling, pollution.
If these “vibes” exist - something created them. What? In some cases we know, in others we don’t. I believe that if they were created they can also be responded to. That our living is a response to the living that created the feeling we are having. That how we live is an active response to life.
And so my fantasy.
Based in particular on one practice that may be really out there for some readers. That’s fine. I don’t need anyone to agree with me. I offer this to you as a practice. As something to be able to do to impact our world.
The words that come to mind are, “to dissolve conflict with love.”
I mean this literally.
I will try to take you on the journey I’ve been on as the practice of therapy has expanded to include the practice of transfiguration.
We talk. And our therapists are interested. This in itself is life changing for some.
I remember the day on the subway I had my Velveteen Rabbit moment - I am real!
Our realness is real.
Power is constructed from our realness. For good and for bad.
Vitality cannot be controlled.
You go to therapy.
You create your art.
You care for your family.
You work hard.
You are vital.
When you feel a feeling you can express it. Right there in the moment, you can let it out.
You feel a feeling, you can send it. You can send love or fury in any direction you want.
When you feel a feeling you can radiate it. Allow it. Feel it move through you. No judgement. No attachment. No desire. Watching your judgement. Watching your attachment. Watching your desire.
This is the power that we each have. To be who we are. And what we are is life. Lots of different feelings. Lots of opinions and thoughts from and to us. But we’re here. Each of us living until we are not. The life inside of us - the continuation of our being - could be called light.
There are all the thoughts and the worries and the pain. And if we can breathe and feel how we feel and just be us - who we are without all the thoughts - the person who continues to be moment by moment - that’s a different part of the person than the anxiety. There’s someone else - not just the anxious person.
Here’s the next leap I’m going to take you on: so while you are breathing and feeling and watching the thoughts pass through you and not holding onto them but feeling what it is like to let them go… when you do this you are a breathing being amongst millions of other breathing beings.
So you are life. You are breathing life. Your life. Which is the same phenomenon that created my life. And all of the lives and the trees and every living thing….
So breathing and being is life and light.
One more leap.
This life you can experience - it is love. Love is the existing. It is the being there. It is the breathing alongside. Love is aliveness.
We make love into all kind of other things. Legitimately and illegitimately. But for now, just make the connection from life to love. What else is love in practice but being there? Being here?
I know this is difficult. I am writing things I would have run away from just a few years ago. I am writing the product of a lot of practice. Practice on the meditation cushion, practice in the client's chair, practice in the therapist's chair. Practice in reading and learning new spiritual practices and perspectives.
You are entitled to your reaction. All of it. And breathe and be with yourself and let yourself have it. Radiate it. Radiate yourself.
Practice radiating without expressing or sending. Not that expressing or sending are bad - not at all. The practice here is to find yourself and let it radiate.
You will find eventually that inside there is light. I am not saying that there is only light but that there is indeed light. The practice is to take a journey inside - to find the sun inside and let it shine. This takes no effort, only practice.
This changes you and it changes me.
We all need to practice this type of being right now.
For me, this practice is a natural step in my growth - built upon a foundation of years of relational work and self-reflection. I am in no way suggesting that we jump over all of the difficulties into light. I am, however, suggesting that our work in therapy provides a ground for our action.
And this practice is difficult. Do not mistake my suggestion for repression or dissociation. In fact, this practice often results in a backlash of sorts. Finding the place in you that is alive, living, loving - finding this more deeply and allowing it - may stir all kinds of difficult feelings - anxiety, negative thinking, sadness, rage - during or after you practice. This is good! This is the work. It’s a different way of working and it’s fascinating and there is so much to be learned from it. Great material for therapy. Great material for your creative endeavours. Note how you respond to the practice.
Another thing this practice is not. It is not a substitute for action. And it is its own action. Both/and. Both/and. Both/and.
We’re experiencing some difficult days.
The world needs us right now.
What does that mean?
It means the world needs us to radiate who we are.
We need to physically, emotionally, and spiritually change. We need to change the constitution of what is.
I created the attached meditation to help you in this practice.
My fantasy is that each of us does this every day. My fantasy is that we sit outside the embassies and parliaments and do this.
We have walked into a difficult place. How can we respond with our selves?
I learned this practice from Sandra Ingerman. The fairy bells you hear on the track are from her album Soul Journeys which contains a full 17 minute Transfiguration meditation which I highly recommend.