Fixing the Racial (and Human) Problem Begins with Me
Racial bigotry, which I grew up with in the American South, was many centuries in the making. It surrounded me, from the “Whites Only” signs to the Klan fever that would bubble up from time to time. It’s important to understand, moreover, that racism is a symptom of a bigger issue that also manifests as religious bigotry, gender bigotry, political bigotry, national bigotry, and species bigotry. It stems from the human tendency to see others as not part of ourselves but as separate and apart and therefore, somehow, inferior, and not worth of our love and respect.
My wake-up call came in the Spring of 1968. A buzz began in my high school, which had only 2 years earlier been fully integrated. As I stood on the bank above the library at lunch time, a surge of black students, some fellow athletes, headed downtown to protest the assassination of Martin Luther King. The large plate glass window of the library shattered, and a cheer went up.
“What the heck is going on?” I remember thinking. I found out soon enough when the news began to spread. Several days later, at a meeting I had helped organize as the president of the student council, the grievances were clearly and forcefully expressed. I was shocked. My mind was, to use a term from the time, “blown”. I grew up that day.
The dictionary definition of the word bigotry is “intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself”, and even more penetratingly, “obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices: the state of mind of bigotry”.
Where Does the Problem Lie?
If we can see our state of mind, our ego addiction, our unconscious (in many cases) prejudices as the problem, then we have an opening for change. For transformation. The “problem” is huge because the “problem” is, individually and collectively, us.
This problem stems from a lack of understanding of who and what we really are. We are not merely suffering beings driving an amazingly complicated biomechanical vehicle around on a perfectly habitable planet. We are also Souls who don’t recognize ourselves and each other. However, nobody teaches us otherwise. Because nobody knows. Except for a few wise ones. A few of our Master Teachers knew and tried to teach us. To no avail.
The Problem Begins With Me. Us.
Homo sapiens have hit a wall. And we have to evolve. All of us. Some faster, some slower, but “homo spiritus” we have to become. We have to wake up. There is nowhere else that ego and personality can take us except over a cliff. Let us not be lemmings of the two-legged kind. Let us not go the way of the dinosaurs, and at our own hands.
The solution is a change in state of mind. And it begins with me. With you. With us. The realization that “me” is also “we”. That we are all in this mess together. Recent events have made this so clear. The George Foster incident has shown that “we” all have a racial problem. Some are the perpetrators (white privilege) and some are the victims (police brutality against African Americans). All are affected.
How Best to Deal with It?
“How?” The how begins with personal inquiry and doing the healing work that is needed. The willingness to recognize what our Master Teachers were trying to tell us–“the Kingdom of God (the All) lies within”. Within each of us. Waiting patiently for the human mind to awaken.
There are tools available for such personal healing: for lifestyle improvement, for thought form restructuring, for emotional relief—of which we should take advantage. My favorite tool, however, is meditation; sit-down meditation and mindfulness meditation can address healing in all areas, simultaneously.
Fundamentally, meditation helps us to get quiet down enough to allow our innate physical, mental, and emotional healing mechanisms to kick in. Bringing healing and illumination to our whole system. Meditation is a great tool to deal with “corona jitters”.
Some Things We Can Do?
Here are a few other things that we can do to begin to right the wrongs that plague us:
- See our Oneness rather than our separateness. A quiet mind can see the Spirit that resides in another. Can see the suffering of others and want to do something to help.
- Greet each other with “Peace be with you”, “Namaste” (the Spirit within me salutes the Spirit within you), or “Gooday mate”.
- Offer heartfelt blessings and prayers for the elevation of consciousness within our ourselves, our neighbors, our fellow citizen brothers and sisters, our leadership, our “enemies” and those who vex us, as well as our planet.
- Recognize our World Citizenship, and the need to care for our precious Gaia and all of her children.
- Stop making war on each other, for goodness sake.
- Join and participate in each other’s righteous organizational efforts. Visit each other’s places of worship. Support and financially contribute to causes that promote health and healing.
- Vote for candidates of whatever party who promote unity and decry division.
- Support a child in need. Volunteer in a school. Coach a sports team. Become a surrogate parent or grandparent.
- Insist on a proper education, food, and proper medical care for all citizens. Shift our resource allocation to the well-being of people, not the well-being of the system and those who control the levers of power.
Our survival and sanity and growth depend on it. One Being at a time.
Racism is a symptom for a deeper problem. That problem being that our ego/minds routinely and insidiously look for differences between others and myself. And diminish the others, building myself up. Bigotry.
It takes close examination of motives and the contents of our subconscious mind. Tasks that are well suited to meditation. Meditation can take us to a place where we begin to say “Namaste” to each other spontaneously–“The Spirit in me sees the Spirit in you”.
What do you think? Can you sense your multi-dimensionality? Haven’t you always known this somehow, even if you haven’t expressed it in exactly this way? Leave your comments below.
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