Years ago I had a denim jacket with all sorts of badges on it including CND, Greenpeace etc. It was around the time I met my husband and I think it fascinated and horrified him in equal measure. Over the years I have been on many marches protesting at decisions the government of the day had made. It’s been quite a few years since I felt the need to protest. Some might say I have matured or grown up. Let me offer a different perspective.
I look back on that young woman I used to be with a fondness for her passion. She was on a mission to change the world, to stand up to whatever she felt was wrong or unjust. What I realise now was that for all that intensity of feeling, she was coming from her wound. From that place it is extremely difficult to get to peace because beneath the surface there is an anger in response to the situation. It’s much easier to see this when you take the words from a current campaign – the phrase that comes to mind is the war on terror. Words are powerful and waging war on terror is not going to eradicate it. If anything it will exacerbate and intensify the challenges.
The problem with identity
Let me put it another way: by taking a stand we are creating an identity for ourselves. And then before we know it, we associate so completely with that identity that we forget who we are at our essence. We become lost. I see this over and over again. The world is a playground that our beingness has jumped into because it wants to experience it. And when we do so there’s a danger that we will see our experiences as the sum total of our existence.
The historical perspective
In the West from the twentieth century onwards there has been a focus on the individual; this has led to individuation. In response to that in certain spiritual circles there is a view that to live in fifth dimensional reality you have to banish your ego. As Matt Kahn said in a recent video the ego and the soul are one. That does not mean that they are the same but that they are connected. Notice how much more spacious it feels when we say the ego and the soul are one. In colour we would say love it right, don’t fight it right because in the fight there is resistance and whatever you resist persists! This idea is arising in part due to the recognition that we need to move the dial from me to we.
Why a collective response is challenging
Another element of Matt Kahn’s video I loved was when he said that non-duality and duality are one. This felt very healing to me because what I have observed from many who identify as non-dualists is that they have tendency to promote only the work of others like them and to recommend solely books on non-duality. In this way it feels like they are falling into a form of ‘identity’ trap. In my understanding whatever the modality of a spiritual person, the purpose is to reveal consciousness. There are many paths that can enable that intention. For me non-dualism is a truth not the truth.
Let me illuminate this further through the use of a reference from popular culture. Have you watched The Mauritanian? It is a legal drama based on the true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi. He was detained for 14 years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp without charge. Under duress, after days of torture, he confessed to having worked for Osama Bin Laden.
Although the second example is more extreme, what lies at the root of both these examples is a fear of otherness and when we apply that to consciousness, identity held so tightly can lead to the exclusion of those who hold a different aspect of the truth. Or you could say that such actions come from leading with the wounded self rather than turning to the wound and exploring what is there.
A way through
Meditation or stillness offers us a way to heal the wound. These kind of approaches require time and deep self-compassion. And it is contrary to so much of the dominant narrative which is about getting out there and achieving.
Consider this perspective as it may give you the incentive to give it a go. In taking time to drop into your wound and explore it, shifts are possible for you. AND there is also a ripple effect in the collective too, a sigh, a knowingness as more awareness comes in. Will you give it a go?