Saving Life on Earth
Daily watching the news, I ask: what can I do? Anything effective? Heather Heyer, the young peace warrior murdered by a brutish White Supremacist during the recent demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia had posted: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
Yet words are limited. How often can you exclaim about being “outraged,” and “appalled” by the “incredible, unbelievable” Donald and his militarist gangster cronies? How many petitions can you sign? How often tweet or post? How often shake your head in disbelief? How many peaceful marches can you go on, and feel furious and helpless as your heart goes out to Heather Heyer and millions of other people tortured and killed in the US and abroad?
I’ve heard friends ask, “What can I do to help turn the tide? When I try to effect change in the world, I feel like I’m preaching to the choir or hitting a brick wall. Can I do anything by myself?”
Let’s consider that question in reverse, examine someone who has never worked on himself, someone frozen and sliding downhill psychologically — the Donald immured in his arrogant fortress of power, mendacity and ignorance. He grows daily more blind and isolated, dangerously confusing rhetoric and reality. In a mythological sense, the Donald has become a contemporary personification of the Demon of Pure Ego — shallow and deluded.
Proudly we might imagine ourselves to be quite the opposite of the Donald. When we say, “He’s appalling,” we might subconsciously assume, “but I’m certainly not, and neither are my friends.” Surely there’s truth in that. Yet isn’t any polarized thinking similar to the Donald’s? Doesn’t he think and act in a “with us or against us” fundamentalist polarized way?
You can’t help yourself or any situation by freezing in an attitude of hate or contempt. Whoever does it to whatever extent — Christian, Muslim, Jew, me, you — fundamentalist thinking is the greatest obstacle to positive personal and collective change.
Unlike in Game of Thrones I don’t believe you can win anything meaningful by fighting fire with fire. To thoroughly defeat fundamentalist thinking and reverse its results, we have to start with ourselves. We need to encourage our own awareness to come from a deeper more fluid, feminine place in our bodies, rather than from our macho-thinking heads alone.
Using simple body/mind techniques, over time we can cultivate intuitive gut awareness, contemplate crucial questions profoundly, imaginatively — and ultimately find ourselves routinely performing needed and appropriate creative and social actions.
If enough of us clear this path in ourselves, such a sane way of thinking and acting may become infectious. Yes, it does take turning frustration into daily discipline, and committing to long-term meditative practices. But to be aware and to act from a deeper place in ourselves is revolutionary. I don’t see any other way, really, to evolve and save life on earth.