The Real Gift of Kaepernick’s Sit Down
Yes, freedom is the conversation. Some say Kaepernick has the freedom to sit. To protest.
Some say that the freedom requires his respect those who fight for that freedom.
The way I see it, the real gift of his sit-down is freedom.
Not the freedom we most often speak of — the freedom we offer people as part of a country but the freedom too few of us every step into a take hold of.
The freedom of our own awareness and the harmonious relationship with reality that mindfulness offers.
Every day we are presented with opportunities to recognize and embrace this freedom. Yet, just as one can’t take an untrained body to an Ironman, neither can we rightly expect the untrained mind to find this freedom in the heat of heavy, emotionally charged lifting.
Where Kap is offering such a gift is that while it’s emotional, for most of us, it’s small enough and far enough away from our personal lives to allow us the chance to frame it. To exercise the ultimate freedom — the one that Victor Frankl speaks of in his seminal work, Man’s Search for Meaning.
Available to All Mastered by Few
What we have here is a real opportunity to practice a freedom this that is available to all but mastered by few. That being to disconnected the emotion from the action: To see “what one did (his sitting)” as separate from the ‘meaning you give it.’
You see, we humans are meaning making machines. It’s what we do. We make meaning out of everything. Usually, as in 99% of the time, we label this meaning WE made as “the truth.” As reality.
Even when it’s not emotional we label things: Hot, cold, red, blue. And we do not even see it when we do this. It’s completely automatic.
Where we lose freedom on our own is when we can’t see the difference between a meaning which is conjured up in my head and projected out on the world and the actions out there that we interpreted in here.
We collapse “what happened” with the “the meaning I give it.” In this case, Kap sat during the national anthem. Everything else is meaning. Not reality. Not truth. Meaning.
When you can see and know you are the one assigning the meaning you gain an ability to see the world a little closer to reality. This it ultimately the nature of mindfulness. To inhabit the gap between what you see and what your programmed auto response to it is.
Mindfulness is seeing a hyperbolic news story about a political issue and before sharing it, asking, “Hummm… wonder who has an agenda here?” Not needing to believe it nor needing anything to be different. Just letting it in without letting it own you.
When the emotions drive the logic — such that our brain is trying to make up stories that support the emotional experience we are having — we are neither free nor able to see the world with much clarity.
In this state, we quickly become human torpedoes charged with emotional energy free to be used by every media outlet and political spinster. And the more we react the more we react. The less you step into the space of mindfulness, of freedom, the less freedom you have.
Kaepernick, for whatever you think about his actions, is offering us a real gift here. The invitation to step into a state of mindfulness. Not just about this but about life, about the world.
Take a stab at it. See what it feels like for you to let go of your “correct response.” Witness his actions as simply the what they are. From there, you can look across the space to your meaning. Do not justify your meaning. Do not need to make it more real. Just see it. Be the witness.
You don’t have to give it up to see it. Just know it’s how you choose to see it.
I’m not suggesting it will be easy — not at first. You will want to crunch it all back up into one ball. To keep blaming him. Yet, when you do see the space between the two step in. Hold that space for a moment and see if you don’t feel a new freedom that could really be a turning point in life.
The simple fact is that there will always be “your story” and “what happened.” When you can see they are not one and the same and hold the space for both you’ll be on a path to a freer, clearer and hell of lot more fun life.
Here’s to your life at full strength.
If you like this… Like it. If you’re tough enough, share it.
Being the change we want to see in the world means we have to actively share change or that invitation with the world.
I appreciate your actions in support.