2018 is an 11 year which means it’s less about our own ego needs and more about what is the best for the collective. It is also a year of Justice so we can, and should, focus on balance. We need to balance our own needs with those of others. Balance between work and play will be a theme. And, perhaps Justice… in the cosmic sense… will help restore the balance that has been tipped way out of range this last year.
As the Moon increases in light, let your feelings surface, unjudged, to simply flow from you to the Youniverse.
Remember, little acts of self care & nurturance become giants as our numbers grow. We Are healing the Divine Feminine through our be-ingness and She is in deep gratitude.
“If you’re in need of a session, I am still taking appointments for Fridays through Sundays. Give me a call to book a time.
Be well. Stay safe. Be love!”
“It was a curious thing. Robert had filled the bathtub and put the fish in the tub so he could clean their tank. After he’d scrubbed the film from the small walls of their make-believe deep, he went to retrieve them.
He was astonished to find that, though they had the entire tub to swim in, they were huddled in a small area the size of their tank. There was nothing to contain them, nothing holding them back. Why wouldn’t they dart about freely? What had life in the talk done to their natural ability to swim?
It makes me wonder now, in middle age, if being spontaneous and kind and curious are all parts of our natural ability to swim. Each time I hesitate to do the unplanned or unexpected, or hesitate to reach and help another, or hesitate to inquire into something I know nothing about; each time I ignore the impulse to run in the rain or to call you up just to say I love you–I wonder, am I turning on myself, swimming safely in the middle of the tub?”
If you want a new paradigm, first you must become it.
“Is it the innate desire of people trying to simply reconnect, driven perhaps by hostile environments? Is it simply missing the ease with which we used to greet one another? Is it the reconvening of safe, casual boundaries that were blasted away through manufactured fear and hatred? Whatever it is, count me in. I am making the effort to engage in the ‘kindness movement’. Something we can all do. We can all be more present to what goes on around us. One of the most wonderful ways to do this is when we serve, when we can help satisfy another’s needs, when we bring the natural healing element of love to a wounded situation. We can do this.’
-Science of Mind
The world, with all of its challenges, can feel overwhelming sometimes, as it may be feeling for many of us right now. And we may wonder if we are ready to meet these challenges and if we can meet the doubt and fear that naturally arise within us. Perhaps our own freedom and the freedom of others is wrapped up in simply realizing that we were born for such a time as this.
-Rev. Masando Hiraoka, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Depersonalize the issue and act from understanding, not agreement. Speak up, not from anger but from compassion. Take action, not from vengeance but from love.
I yearn for the day when I can watch the news and be immune to the negative energy I feel around the perceived absurdity of the actions of the unskillful in our society. I want to instead simply recognize the lack of skill and take all action necessary to ensure no further harm with only one movivation: love. This our practice, and it is our call.
-Dr. Kenn Gordon, Kelowna, British Columbia
We must shock this nation with the power of love.
We must shock this nation with power of mercy.
We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all.
We can’t give up on the heart of our democracy.
Not now, not ever.
–Rev. Dr. William J. Barber
We must in our own nature see the necessary reason for every fact…see how it could most be.
What we reach for many be different, but what makes us reach is the same.
Imagine that each of us is a spoke in an Infinite Wheel, and, though each spoke is essential in keeping the Wheel whole, no two spokes are the same. The rim of that Wheel is our living sense of community, family, and relationship, but the common hub where all the spokes join is the one center where all souls meet.
So, as I move out into the world, I live out my uniqueness, but when I dare to look into my core I come upon the one common center where all lives begin. In that center, we are one and the same. In this way, we live out the paradox of being both inique and the same.
For mysteriously and powerfully, when I look deep enough into you, I find me, and when you dare to hear my fear in the recess of your heart, you recognize it as your secret that you thought no one else knew. And that unexpected wholeness that is more than each of us, but common to all–that moment of unity is the atom of Gaia.
True love is…to accept those who are in need of our time, our friendship, our help.
‘Hope for me is deeply tied to the fact that we don’t know what will happen. This gives us grounds to act.’
“On January 18th, 1915, six months into the first world war, as all Europe was convulsed by killing and dying, Virginia Woolf wrote in her journal, ‘The future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be, I think.’ Dark, she seems to say, as in inscrutable, not as in terrible. We often mistake the one for the other. Or we transform the future’s unknowability into something certain, the fulfillment of all our dread, the place beyond which there is no way forward. But again and again, far stranger things happen than the end of the world.
BOB GARFIELD: I want to read you a note from a father to his three daughters on election night, after the kids had pledged a compact to invest their next four years in looking inwards towards the family and relationships and the things that mattered to them the most. The note went as follows:
“Yes, we must look inwards and cherish one another, holding onto our precious love where our own values seem so under attack. But please, we must not retreat from the world, we must never stop believing in and fighting for what is just and sane. Loathe as I am to be a backseat driver in your lives, I do implore you, be courageous. Live your life fighting the fight.”
I’m intimately familiar with those sentiments because I wrote them, but notwithstanding my encouragement to my daughters, no matter what the scope of history one day will provide, in the foreseeable future we are likely as a society to go abruptly and maybe irretrievably backwards on civil rights, human rights, climate, sanity.
REBECCA SOLNIT: You’re talking about two different things, how do we feel and what do we do. And I’m not telling people how to feel, I’m telling people that there is scope for action. One of the great conundrums is that unless we believe there are possibilities we don’t act, but the possibilities only exist if we seize them. And so, a lot of what I’ve been trying to do is encourage people to recognize there is an extraordinary history of popular power in the US but also around the world. I’m not an optimist, as you said in your introduction. Optimism believes that everything will be fine, no matter what we do and, therefore, we don’t have to do a damn thing. Pessimism is the mirror image of that – that believes that everything’s going to hell in a hand basket, and it gets us off the hook. We don’t have to do anything.
Hope for me is deeply tied to the fact that we don’t know what will happen. This gives us grounds to act. And the Trump administration is such an amplifier of uncertainty. Will the guy have some kind of breakdown? Will he get impeached? Will he start World War IV? Will the Republican Party split? Will the Democratic Party find its backbone? So I think that there’s grounds to stay engaged, while being clear that terrible things are happening and we should mourn them.
You keep wanting to talk about despair and I’m just not very interested in it. The situation on climate, which I spent a lot of time looking at and trying to do something about as an activist, is really bleak but there’s wiggle room in there. You know, a lot of extraordinary stuff is happening and it’s happening in very complex ways. One thing that not very many people have noticed, because it’s a change so incremental, is that the technology of renewable non-carbon energy has evolved so dramatically over the last dozen years that we’re in a completely different place than we were at the beginning of the millennium. Bloomberg News ran a story yesterday that within the decade solar power is likely to be cheaper than coal, which is the cheapest fossil fuel. We actually have the energy solutions and they are being adapted pretty rapidly in a lot of places.
You know, we also are looking at the Antarctic ice shelf cracking. We’re looking at sea level rise. We’re looking at chaotic weather. We’re in a very deep crisis. You know, and I want people to be able to hold both of those things. We’re not talking about a future that’s already written.
What we get from the mainstream media over and over and over is a story that what we do doesn’t matter. We have had huge impacts. We have changed what constitutes what’s acceptable and ordinary in innumerable ways. You can tell the story of same-sex marriages, oh, the Supreme Court in its beneficence handed this nice thing down to us, but the Supreme Court decided that this was normal because millions of people had transformed our society in powerful ways over decades about what was normal, and so they did what seemed reasonable, but we defined what reasonable is.
The future is not yet written. What the story is depends on what we make it, and that’s really what I’m here to say.”
Rebecca Solnit is a writer, historian and activist. She’s the author of Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities.
[Full Interview on WNYC/On The Media: https://www.wnyc.org/story/otm-rebecca-solnit-hope-lies-and-making-change/]
[Photo: Prayer Wheel in Sun Valley, Idaho]
‘May the frightened cease to be afraid and those bound be freed; may the powerless find power, and may people think of benefitting one another.’ Shantideva
Ubuntu greeting, friends:
‘I am what I am because of who we all are’.
‘As night and day take turns on this massive Earth spinning nowhere, the song we share within takes turns with the catastrophes of living. When we go silent, the age goes dark.’
“We all have traveled this same pathway of experience – – the journey of the soul to ‘the heights above’ – – and always there has been a deep inquiry in our minds: What is it all about? Does life make sense? What is the meaning of birth, human experience, and the final transition from this plane, which we call death?
With the Koran we must realize that the Divine is closer to us even than our physical being. Nothing can be nearer to us than which is the very essence of our own being.
Our external search after Reality culminates in the greatest of all possible discoveries – – Reality is at the center of our own being. Life is from within out.
We must no longer judge according to appearances, but rather, base our judgments on the assumption that the Gaia-Mind dwells within us proclaimed or reflects Itself through us into every act.
I shall speak this Reality into every experience I have.”
[Science of Mind]
Mind is Brahma; for from mind even are verily born these beings–by mind, when born, they live.
The Mind, then, is not separated off from God’s essentiality, but is united to it, as light to sun.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.
Grace filled transitions to you, to us all. Ubuntu.
- Spirit of Life
- Giver of Life
- Breath of LIfe
- Wakan Tanka
- Tara & Lakshmi
Shirley goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives…
Full Moon is Monday, January 1st
Spend some good intentional time and using your emotions, intuition and imagination, set your dreams and desires for the coming year if you have not already done so. If you have, then spend a bit of time either expanding your imagination of what is possible or trying those dreams on energetically.
This is also a very good time to set specific intentions of how you wish and need to serve yourself in the coming weeks and months. This is a year of service and service needs to start with you personally. If you can’t serve yourself, you cannot be of support and service to others. This is a nurturing moon that will inspire you to clean your nest, do your laundry, and focus on how to make your home environment more supportive to you this year. Remember it does not all have to get done today, but you can still set concrete intentions of what you wish to see happen in the coming year.
God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.
-Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Each time I tried to close up what had been opened. It was a reflex, natural enough. But the lesson was, of course, the other way The lesson was in never closing again.”
The blade of grass may wither and petals fall from the flower, but the idea, “the word of the Lord…Gaia…endureth forever.
I know that all things are good when rightly used. I enter the game of living, then, with joyful anticipation, with spontaneous enthusiasm, and with the determination to play the game well and to enjoy it.”
Epictetus’ promise: if you truly understand the difference between what is and what is not under your control, and act accordingly, you will become psychologically invincible, impervious to the ups and downs of fortune.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
-Reinhold Niebuhr, circa 1934
The sentiment behind the prayer is very old, found in 8th-century Buddhist manuscripts, as well as in 11th-century Jewish philosophy. The oldest version I can think of, however, goes back to the Stoic philosopher Epictetus. Active in the 2nd century in Rome and then Nicopolis, in western Greece, Epictetus argued that:
We are responsible for some things, while there are others for which we cannot be held responsible. The former include our judgment, our impulse, our desire, aversion and our mental faculties in general; the latter include the body, material possessions, our reputation, status – in a word, anything not in our power to control. … [I]f you have the right idea about what really belongs to you and what does not, you will never be subject to force or hindrance, you will never blame or criticise anyone, and everything you do will be done willingly. You won’t have a single rival, no one to hurt you, because you will be proof against harm of any kind.
‘To Be Happier, Focus On What’s in Your Control’
by Massimo Pigliucci and edited by Nigel Warburton, AEON
“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.”
The Solstice is Thursday, December 21.
‘A solstice is always a powerful time to release the past and to welcome and anchor in a new cycle complete with a new set of intentions, resolutions and goals. This solstice in particular is potent for stretching your dreams, thinking outside the box and putting yourself out there just a little bit more. The most important thing is to make sure you honor this transition and make time to work with the energies.
Do a ritual of some sort, burning a writing of what you are releasing and leaving behind as well as concretely anchoring and welcoming a new cycle, a new dream and what you wish to manifest and upgrade for yourself from now on. You can do this visually by writing or drawing or creating something of an offering to put on your altar or give to the fire. Whether in the northern or southern hemisphere, think of the solstice as a time of reset, a powerful transition from the past into the future. Think of it as the beginning of a new cycle with new influences and new opportunities. The more aware and present you are with the idea of a reset and transition, the more powerful the solstice will be for you.
In this time frame we are in, we have an opportunity to really move from one vibrational frequency to another, upgrading everything in the process. The price is your willingness to let go for good of what holds you back. Only you know what that is.’
What to Remember When Waking
In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.
What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?
— David Whyte
In sum, we are not called to love God or the world. Rather, we are called to love God in the world. We love God by loving the world. We love God through and with the world. But this turns out to be a kenotic, a sacrificial love. —Sallie McFague 
‘A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. She gives most who gives with joy.’
“The key to kenosis is knowing that your life is not about you. Everything—each breath, heartbeat, morsel of food, seeming success—is gift. We are entirely dependent upon God’s loving us into being, and keeping us in being, interdependent with all other beings. Your life does not really belong to you, as countercultural and difficult as that is to understand in our individualistic, competitive, consumer culture. As the Trinity reveals, life and love are poured into us that we may pour into others.”
Sallie McFague, Blessed Are the Consumers: Climate Change and the Practice of Restraint (Fortress Press: 2013), 9, 22.
“If we are to remain true to our heritage and who we claim to be, we must stand with DREAMERS. It’s long past time for Congress to pass the #DreamAct Act now!”
-Eric Holder, former US Attorney General
Meditation readings today:
‘I destroy the ignorance-born darkness by the shining lamp of wisdom.’
‘I am resolved today to see the good in everyone and in every event.’
Wait. Even Mitch McConnell? And Ajit Pai? The universe really knows how to lay out a challenge.
Pai is the FCC chair appointed to the commission by President Obama in May 2012, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell. He was appointed to chair by DT. He’s the one trying to eliminate Net Nuetrality. The five-member commission votes on Thursday, Dec. 14th.
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Science of Mind:
Faith in the justice of the universe is my altar. Up this altar I lay my offering of peace [and kindness].
‘If nothing goes forth from me that can hurt, then nothing can return to me that can harm.’
The humility of the manger is the common place in every person’s life. It is here, in the common place, that we must find the good and, finding it here, we shall also discover that the larger issues of our experience are overshadowed by this same good that we have discovered in the common place.
‘You and I should form the habit of taking definite time each day to pray for peace with justice, for there is not peace possible without justice. […] We should not only pray, we should act, each contributing the best they have to the common purpose, each willing to make any sacrifice necessary…for there can be no individual self-preservation without the preservation of all.’
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
In this current cultural climate and in my new position as a social justice minister, I’ve found myself continually pondering what it is that motivates us to take a stand for the rights of others. How do we do this ethically and not paternalistically? I’m discovering that my spiritual path deepens greatly when I’m connecting my own identity to the identity of the whole, realizing that who I am extends far beyond the cones of this ego self. I am the Oneness that Holmes spoke of above: Self-preservation does not exist without the preservation of all. The wellness and dignity of the whole is an inextricable truth of Oneness.
Taking action on this belief can be difficult because to be a presence for healing and equity, we must become aware of what needs to heal in us and the unconscious ways we may be perpetuating inequity without meaning to.
There are many ways in which I have been sheltered from the inequities of the world because I have grow up in a society that unconsciously perpetuates systems that benefit some to the detriment of others. In other ways, as a person of color, I have experienced what race – and ethnicity – based inequity feels like.
To be in a place where I am genuinely present to creating a world of peace and prosperity for all means that I also am invited to be in a place where I get to explore my own privileges and inequities. I get to be in conversation with people who also want to heal and be agents of helping. These conversations can be uncomfortable and painful, but they are also medicine.
I think as we strive to create a world that works for all, we are being offered an invitation to heal and to be medicine in this world through vulnerable communication with folks who have different experiences than we do.
-Re. Masando Hiraoka
Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living in New Mexico
[The] perennial philosophy . . . is the gold within the sectarian dross of every great religion. —Alan Watts 
The “perennial philosophy” or “perennial tradition” is a term that has come in and out of popularity in Western and religious history, but has never been dismissed by the Catholic Church. In many ways, it was actually affirmed at the Second Vatican Council in their forward-looking documents on ecumenism (Unitas Redintegratio) and non-Christian religions (Nostra Aetate). The Church, like the perennial tradition, recognizes that there are some constant themes, truths, and recurrences in all of the world religions.
In Nostra Aetate, for example, the Council Fathers begin by saying that “All peoples comprise a single community and have a single origin [created by one and the same Creator God]. . . . And one also is their final goal: God. . . . The Catholic Church rejects nothing which is true and holy in these religions.”  The document goes on to praise Native religions, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam as “reflecting a ray of that truth which enlightens all people.”  This must have taken great courage and brilliance to write this in 1965 when very few people thought that way.
For as long as there have been humans on Earth, it seems we have struggled with the problem of unity and diversity. The dualistic mind, which most of us were taught to emphasize, is incapable of creating unity. It “smartly” divides reality into binaries. It cannot help but choose sides. Can you think of an era, nation, religion, or culture in which the majority has not opposed otherness? When there was no obvious “other” around (for example, sinners, Jews, or Muslims), Christianity divided itself into warring groups calling each other heretics. Yet underneath the very real differences between religions and peoples lies a unifying foundation. I see that unifying foundation as the continual bubbling up of certain constants in all of the world religions, or if you will, the perennial tradition.
Just what is this perennial tradition? I like British philosopher Aldous Huxley’s (1894-1963) description as the combination of a spiritual metaphysics, a recurring psychology of the human person, and an ethic or morality that flows from these two:
- A metaphysic which recognizes a divine Reality substantial to the world of things and lives and minds;
- A psychology that finds in the soul something similar to, or even identical with, divine Reality;
- An ethic that places man’s [sic] final end in the knowledge of the immanent and transcendent Ground of all being.
[This] is immemorial and universal. Rudiments of the Perennial Philosophy may be found among the traditionary lore of primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms it has a place in every one of the higher religions. 
You might not agree with every word of Huxley’s definition or even fully understand it, but it is hard to deny that he is pointing toward truth. In fact, it sounds very similar to the first questions and answers in the old Baltimore Catholic Catechism that I studied in the 1950s.
Now that we have turned the soil and processed, recapitulated and come to terms with certain areas of our lives, it is time to think of where and what we need to change in order to prepare for what is next.
I chose the theme of UPGRADE because that is where we want to end up. Not with business as usual, but with goals, intentions, plans and determination to improve our lives so that our experience is upgraded from what is was before.
Navigating this month will take focus and discipline. You cannot be lazy about your practices and if you say you are going to do something or start a project, program or discipline, you better be prepared to follow through. There is a fine line of balance between focus and imagination, between your will and your intuition. You need all of them to work together and in harmony.
There is an expansive quality to the month that should lean towards excitement and inspiration about the possibilities. We can struggle a bit with fear of the unknown but remember that fear and worry are usually about things that have not yet happened so part of the discipline of the month is to stay present. In the present you have just your current experience to deal with. This is an active month and one of transition, movement, preparation and improvement. Burst of energy channeled into action will be balanced with down times of assimilation and integration. Stay out of judgment about what is happening, not happening and how. It all leads to an upgrade.
Think of yourself as a computer. If your computer is beginning to show signs of not being able to keep up with new programs and needs more memory and a higher processing speed, it is time for an upgrade. While the upgrade is in process, the computer is down. When it comes back up, there are often glitches that need to be fixed or refinements made to the way things are organized. When it is rebooted, you are able to do and process more.
It is the same with our physical, mental, emotional and energy bodies. At times, as we are in the process of upgrading, the body is down and offline. We are checked out. Sometimes this takes the form of an illness or simply a total lack of energy and focus. It could even be defined as depression, apathy, lethargy and confusion. Let it be. And then when we come back on line, we are improved and better capable of handling more than before. So be careful what you ask for this month. Don’t hold yourself back, but know that the bigger the upgrade you seek, the bigger the “growth period” of being offline may be.
This is rather an exciting month as long as you can keep your eye on the ultimate goal and not get mired in the discomfort of the process. It will be important to pay close attention to your daily details and to stay really present with what is working and what isn’t. The only way to successfully upgrade is to tell the truth about what needs it and then to be disciplined about taking the necessary steps. Because you are most likely going to be changing patterns as you upgrade, you will need to be conscious of being persistent. If you get distracted and go to sleep during this process, you risk sliding back into the very habits you are trying to change. So, stay awake, stay present, tell the truth, and get serious about dreaming what you always wanted and putting your discipline behind it.
We need to be aware of impatience this month and to work with time in a new way. Once you decide something, the discipline is not to hurry it along but rather to stay focused and not distracted by doubt and worry. Be inspired by the intelligence of right timing instead of frustrated by the lack of mental information. This may be a tough time for those that have a strong need “to know”. We have no mental idea of where we are headed with this upgrade but we do have an intuitive one that requires trust and patience. Always look to inspires you when you feel yourself in need of a reminder.
It is best to try and enjoy the process this month, whatever it is, and to see all aspects as important on your journey. If you are “offline” it may be difficult for you to trust that there are gifts at the end. Especially if you are upgrading through a health crisis, it may be a challenge to stay positive. The best interpretation of these times is that we are being rewired energetically in preparation for something new: new ideas, new insights, new belief systems, new experiences, new attitudes, and a new relationship with life. This is always hardest on the physical body so have patience with however your upgrade is choosing to show up. And remind yourself daily that you are indeed moving towards an UPGRADE.
I have just three things to teach:
These are your greatest treasures.
compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
…when we tend our deepest center, we care for all souls. Another powerful way to realize our interconnectedness is to imagine the human family as a stand of Aspens growing by a river. Though each tree appears to be growing independently, not attached to the others, beneath the soil, out of view, the roots of all the trees exist as one enormous root. And so, like these trees, our soul’s growth, while appearing to be independent, is intimately connected to the health of those around us. For our spirits are entwined at center, out of view.
I know these things to be true: in cutting off strangers, we cut off ourselves; in choking roots, we choke our own growth; in loving strangers, we love ourselves.
︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶
‘Dad missed the wilderness. He need to be in roaming free in open country and living among untamed animals. He felt i was good for your should to have buzzards and coyotes and snakes around. That was the way man was meant to live, he’d say, in harmony with the wild, like t he Indians, not this lords-of-the-earth crap, trying to rule the entire goddamn planet, cutting down all the forest and killing every creature you couldn’t bring to heel.’
Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
So God created man in his own image…and God blessed them and God said unto them…replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have domino over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
The Bible’s literal interpretation continues to damage and destroy life.
I rise above the sense of separation into a consciousness of my union with [all living spirits.]
Science of Mind
‘Older now, you find holiness in anything that continues.’
-Naomi Shihab Nye
‘The longer I wake on this Earth, the louder the quiet things speak to me. The more I experience and survive, the more I find truth in the commonalities we all share. The more pain softens me, the deeper my joy and the greater the lessons of those things that live in great stillness.’
‘As outraged as we might be at the sight of injustice, we must remain equally excited by the possibilities for a better world that lie on the other side of it. The enlightened activist is committed because we know that the other world exists and all of us are here to bring it forth.’
BuzzFeed: ‘One-third of black men will go to prison at least once in their lifetime.
The Invisible Character of White Privilege
by Richard Rohr
Because we have never been on the other side, we largely do not recognize the structural access we enjoy, the trust we think we deserve, the assumption that we always belong and do not have to earn our belonging. All this we take for granted as normal. Only the outsider can spot these attitudes in us.
Of course, we all belong. There is no issue of more or less in the eyes of an Infinite God. Yet the ego believes the lie that there isn’t enough to go around and that for me to succeed or win, someone else must lose. And so we’ve greedily supported systems and governments that work to our own advantage at the expense of others, most often people of color or any highly visible difference. The white man’s easy advancement was too often at the cost of others not advancing at all. A minor history course should make that rather clear.
I would have never seen my own white privilege if I had not been forced outside of my dominant white culture by travel, by working in the jail, by hearing stories from counselees, and frankly, by making a complete fool of myself in so many social settings—most of which I had the freedom to avoid! Recognition was slow in coming. I am not only white, but I am male, overeducated, clergy (from cleros, “the separated ones”), a Catholic celibate, mostly healthy, and part of the American empire.
Power never surrenders without a fight. If your entire life has been to live unquestioned in your position of power—a power that was culturally given to you, but you think you earned—there is almost no way you will give it up without major failure, suffering, humiliation, or defeat. As long as we really want to be on top and would take advantage of any privilege or short cut to get us there (what exactly is it that is up there?), we will never experience true “liberty, equality, fraternity” (revolutionary ideals that endure as mottos for France and Haiti).
To repeat, if God operates as me, God operates as thee too, and the playing field is utterly leveled forever. Like Jesus, Francis, Clare, and many other humble mystics, we then rush down instead of up. In the act of letting go and choosing to become servants, community can at last be possible. The illusory state of privilege just gets in the way of neighboring and basic human friendship.
Richard Rohr, an American Franciscan friar ordained to the priesthood in 1970. He is a known inspirational speaker and a author.
The Center for Action and Contemplation began as a dream of Fr. Richard Rohr’s in 1986 during his first year in Albuquerque. By October of 1987, the first edition of Radical Grace was published. The name was chosen because it expressed the paradoxical nature of the Center’s purpose: standing in a middle place, at the center of the cross, where opposites are held together. [wikipedia]