Neutral is the wrong word....

1/30/17

OK, so "neutral" is the wrong word....it has connotations of not caring, and not acting, when it is perhaps obvious that caring is required, and acting is requisite.

What I'm really after is how are we to be, with the very disturbing events coming about through the Trump administration?  We now have the opportunity to really come of age, to stand up to protect the values of our country, to stand forth for justice, mercy, equality, and wholeness.  But after spending a week feverishly signing petitions, posting on social media, and calling senators, I see that I can't sustain those actions, given where I was coming from.

What's running this whole thing is fear....Trump's fear (of never being enough), and all of our fears, which he and his cohorts have been playing on like a symphony orchestra.  There's plenty to be afraid of, no question.  But at some point, I started to wonder about it all.

First, it was obvious that if I'm afraid, and acting out of fear, I'm contributing to Trump's power, regardless of the actions I take.  Not what I want to do.  I may not be clear about how to be part of the solution, but I WILL NOT be part of the problem.  It's most likely that from my own perspective, I can find a way to truly calm myself; not by ignoring what's happening, but by witnessing what's happening, from a centered, grounded space.

The centered, grounded space is what I was calling "neutral."  It is neutral, in that it is a peaceful space, with no push-pull.  In this atmosphere, my vision widens out, so that I can see past my own hysteria.  I can see that there are some checks and balances in the structure of our government that are still operational.  Do we still need to stand forth to make our positions clear to our elected officials?  Yes!   But I am not alone in this country, not the only one who sees the danger, not the only one who has to act with not the faintest idea of how to go about it.  There are lots of us, even in the government, and I see that we can stand together.

I can also see how crucial it is to be aware of what is happening, perhaps with some sense of the historical past.  Over the weekend, I saw "Hidden Figures," a glorious movie that celebrates the contribution of a group of African-American women whose work for NASA was instrumental in getting our astronauts into space and (not incidentally) back home.  I also saw Ava Du Vernay's "13th," which opened my eyes to the prison-industrial complex and its sordid history....or perhaps I should say, our sordid history of racism and continuing slavery.

This centered space I'm talking about, it has no blame in it.  Therefore, no defending against blame.  Which leaves space for actually seeing, and getting, the impact of what has happened, and what is happening now.  This is the space of infinite possibility, and so it contains the potential for every thought, feeling, emotion, story, etc.  Rage and grief may arise here...and can be felt, at one's choosing.  If I include myself in this space, then my feelings are also a part of it.  Then what?  If I close them away, refuse to experience them, I am continuing the pattern that has brought us to a divided country and Donald Trump.  I am ignoring a voice that is vital to wholeness.

If, from this spaciousness, I can bring myself to be aware of what I feel, and breathe into it, and from it, then there is no power over, only the power of.   Let me be clear:  the minute I hide my rage/grief/fear from myself, then always there is a hidden enemy, and always a need for a wall, to keep me safe from the unwanted.

(There's a difference between being in the rage/grief/fear, and being with it.  The difference is that in the first, you are drowning.  In the second, you are centered and breathing.)

Here's how I get to the centered space I'm talking about:

Close your eyes, and allow yourself to drop into your body.  Take a few full breaths, relaxing more on each exhale, dropping your attention downwards from your head into your chest.  When you can feel your weight coming into your butt if you're sitting, and your feet if you're standing, then take this journey.  Imagine that you are dropping a pebble into a very deep pool of water, and that you are going to follow it as it falls through the deepening blue.  Close to the surface, the surrounding color is light blue.  As the pebble descends, the blue becomes darker and darker, until the pebble comes to rest on the bottom in total blackness.  You come to rest with it.  Begin to notice what you notice in this new space.  It is dark, and boundless.  There is no thing in it, yet there is a sense of emptiness and fullness at the same time.  You are safe and at peace, with no sense of needing anything at all.  Rest here, and recognize that this is your True Self, the Space of your Heart (as in the heart of the matter).  This space, this emptiness, is at the core of everything, and is the space that surrounds everything, when we are centered in it.  It has no words, no criticism, no blame.  To stay in it, let go of thinking (if you're in it, you probably already have), feeling, time and space...just notice what you notice, if anything.

When you're ready to try something else, bring in something that has been troublesome, and let there be plenty of space around it.  Don't try to fix it or change it in any way.  It is fine, exactly the way it is.  See it clearly, from all sides.  What is it like, to see this person or situation, from this clear space?  The space itself is transformative, so don't be surprised if what you're regarding starts to change.  The key is, don't DO anything.  Let the space handle it.  Your role is "interested witness."

When you can bring yourself to look at something previously unseen, the need for a wall disappears, and what shows up instead is a bridge....A bridge to peace, to love, to full cognizance, and no fear.

So this is the core of my spiritual activism:  May the fearful be soothed, may the hungry be fed, may the homeless be housed. I may not be the one who performs those actions, but I will definitely be one of those who create the space for it to happen.  And without a different space than the atmosphere of fear and loathing, no real change is possible.