At Wisdom 2.0 there was an interesting juxtaposition.
The first time I saw it was during Byron Katie’s presentation.
She teaches that by questioning your thoughts, you can learn to love reality.
During her presentation a woman asked, “What about rape? Could you ever love that reality?”
It was clear that many people in the audience were not okay with her, “Yes, even rape” answer.
That evening I saw, on the Wisdom 2.0 community message board, a number of people were decrying Katie’s lack of compassion.
The second instance of the polarity was the frustration that the Black Lives Matter representatives had with another presenter, Prince EA.
Prince EA’s latest viral video is called “I am not Black. You are not White.” It is an exploration of our common humanity and a plea for people to see beyond color.
(My admittedly limited understanding of) The Black Lives Matter perspective is that using a spiritual bypass to excuse the inequality of the world is a weak copout. They argue that being angry is important — and no less spiritual.
This is a difficult dichotomy to resolve, because the two perspectives are operating on such different levels. And both levels are important.
Just as stopping the bleeding of a cut — and learning how to stop falling down — are both important.
In high school I was influenced by KRS-ONE and Chuck D and got super into black rights. (I wore a Malcolm X t-shirt, rocked out at an NWA concert and went to see Farrakhan speak.)
I eventually learned that by taking up a fight that was not mine, I was not empowering anyone. I struggled (and still struggle) with how best to be supportive.
As I started to wake up spiritually, I realized that I needed to get right personally before I could be an activist in the world. Otherwise, I would be too easily swayed by guilt, anger or manipulation.
So I focussed on self-love. I worked on learning to love myself and loving others more.
I let my light shine brightly (and publicly) on my site, “CockyBastard.com.”
I would often get online criticism from strangers, “If you really wanted to to help the world, you’d stop hugging everyone and go work at a soup kitchen.”
I understood their point, but I had faith that if I worked through my own issues, I would more effectively be of service to the world.
And without really meaning to, 10 year later, I find running a homeless charity.
It has been an undertaking done out of love. Not as a way of fighting against anything. Not to alleviate guilt. Not to fix a broken world. But as a way of acting in alignment with my true self.
This is where the polarity I saw at Wisdom 2.0 meets.
Byron Katie wouldn’t say that you should sit on your couch — loving reality and doing nothing to improve your life or the world. She would say we need to love reality so that we can act freely, from deep love, in the present moment. If we act from that place, we *will* do what is right & just.
Prince EA shared that he believes that it is only through deep spiritual shifts that meaningful change can happen. His efforts are in trying to facilitate profound change in people’s hearts. A changed person has no choice but to change the world.
The BLM concern is that if we pursue spiritual liberation, we rise above (and neglect) all the ills of the world.
But I believe that what Byron Katie, Prince EA and many spiritual leaders are saying is that it is only our spirits that rise above…our bodies and actions still work towards righteousness in the physical world. They simply do so free from the suffering of painful beliefs.
Anger is a powerful motivator, but it easily misdirected and is not a long-term sustainable fuel. Guilt and fear are also powerful — and dangerous — motivators.
So while I agree that oppression and injustice should be fought by any means necessary, Love is the only force that will not leave us personally & culturally depleted.