Taking a stand...on a bridge
I honestly don't feel ready to write this. I feel vulnerable and naked in my words and not even sure if I should write it at all. But we are being called to take a stand, we are being called to be honest as we share our truth. And we are being asked to look at our own fears as well as others as we do so.
In trying to find these words I have confronted my fears and have felt my legs shake, my hands shake, I feel sick, and an extremely strong desire to run away or not put this out there at all. And yet, at the same time, I feel that what I have to say isn't being said by others yet. Perhaps a little in carefully worded, coded, slightly vague ways that are open to interpretation. But I was never good at that. I've always said what I mean and been clear about that, even if it annoyed or upset people. I honestly don't know how to express myself any other way, despite trying. And in the process realised that my voice was a voice that needed to be heard, as it is, without the sugar coating, even if it wasn't always easy to hear. That in trying to be softer, vaguer, less direct - I was hiding myself, dimming my light.
My light is bright. I know that. I was born in late May in a year when it was an exceptionally hot May in the UK, a heatwave. I was born under a bright, unrelenting, hot sun. I've been told often that I'm too much, too direct, too confident, too bright. That my light, my energy confuses people. It magnetises them but also pushes them away because it can burn. It attracts a lot - including moths and flies. And so I tried to be less. To hide myself, to be more manageable, more relateable, more acceptable, more likeable. But all that happened was I lost myself. I lost my fire. I lost my light. I lost my truth. And instead I spoke other's truths. Until I came to a point (and it was kundalini yoga that got me there) when I couldn't do this anymore. And so I am in a process of uncovering, layer by layer, my light, my truth, my inner teacher and Goddess and letting her shine. And so this is one such moment, and to do so, I have had to face all these fears of being too much, too bright, too direct, too intense.
In even attempting to share such thoughts I've been shut down for being 'dangerous'. I am very aware of the power of words and so I choose these carefully, if clearly and simply. I believe that the only danger in these words is the danger of seeing truth when we'd rather hide behind familiar illusions and fears.
We are seeing in the world increasing polarisation around beliefs, behaviours, and attitudes. We are seeing friends and family members fall out and move away from each other due to holding beliefs believed to be in opposition and unable to find a way to reconcile. All of these perspectives, positions, beliefs are held with conviction, with a feeling of it's truth, of the need to hold such a position and to stand up and be counted as such. There's a feeling of needing to convince others of the position and that to not hold the position and state that you do, is spiritual bypassing, social bypassing and a dereliction of your societal, cultural duty. It's a little hard for me to clearly express these different views because there's a lot nuance and a spectrum of beliefs and so I am talking about a range of different concepts and views, which is necessary because we're not lemmings and don't all believe the same thing. But there's also a feeling that beliefs in opposition to ones own are dangerous, could injure or kill people and break apart society. So these beliefs are very strong, very emotive, extremely powerful.
They include, for the sake of clarity here, but aren't limited to, positions around vaccines, positions around health, positions around COVID, positions around freedoms and responsibilities. I am not a health professional and so do not have an informed opinion on any of these issues and so I'm not going to speak to them. This blog is not a blog about the pros and cons of such positions, opinions or beliefs. I am instead recognising that they are strongly held, extremely emotive, and highly charged, regardless of the beliefs held.
These are views held with strength, the fact they connect to health, to life and death, and to how we construct society, how we value ourselves and others - the views are often held with elements of love in them - love for self and love for others - to care for ourselves and others in the best way we know. But precisely because of this convergence of elements in the beliefs, they are also held with quite a degree of fear. I have yet to see any expression of these beliefs which does not also clearly express itself as fears, worries, concerns etc.
This was something which really sucked me in at different points last year. The need to connect to a belief, a position, and the fears which surrounded such a position. But always in this process, it didn't sit right with me. And it wasn't because the position was necessarily unaligned to what I believed, but because in it was always an element of fear, an element of shame and guilt, and a strong desire to be connected with a position/a tribe/a camp. It wasn't so much a desire to be connected to belief, but to be connected with others who also held that position (this wasn't only on health related issues for me, but also around civil rights, racism, and spirituality).
It was only in December that I really started questioning this approach. That I really started to consider all of this and to see these common threads around fear, shame, guilt and desire to be seen to hold a particular position. Which led me to wondering about it all.
Slowly, bit by bit, I have been coming to the conclusion that my position is not in any strongly held belief, but in being the bridge. Because in holding the beliefs we are polarising ourselves from others. We are "otherising" those that hold different beliefs - seeing them as 'dangerous', 'stupid', 'ignorant', 'evil' and perhaps even the cause of poor health or death. In doing this, we see them as less than ourselves. This creates separation, which creates polarisation. And so the views are seen as a dichotomy. An either/or, this/that. You cannot believe one and believe the other. And you certainly can't believe neither. This breeds distrust, especially of those that believe neither - as you don't have a box to put them in!
And this whole conconction of beliefs coupled with fears, which are strongly held, relate to life and death and are mixed in with our love for ourselves and others; alongside the "othering" of those that hold beliefs which don't align to ours creates the perfect situation for manipulation, illusion, deception, and the pushing of political agendas. Those that seek to use these positions for their own gains - be that power, respect, money, resources, followings, their own importance...or anything else - manipulate the fears that people hold, through emotion, through manipulating information. This isn't new. We've seen this time and again through history. We know that people aren't swayed by facts but by emotion, and yet we seek to convince people through facts! We also think that to do anything other than hold stead fast to our opinions, our perspectives, is a sign of weakness. We're told this by those manipulating us. Because its in their interests to keep discord and polarisation and to create and maintain imaginary polarised and binary views. To reduce everything to yes/no, good/bad, right/wrong. And they do this through triggering people's fears, people's emotions, people's love, not through fact.
And so, in looking at all this, spending a lot of time contemplating, wondering, worrying, confronting my fears, considering all the angles and then turning it all upside down (and having to remove myself from social media and the news in the process!) and shaking it out - I have come to realise that I am taking my stand firmly on the bridge. I am taking a stand in the land between yes and no, between right and wrong, between good and bad. I'm saying, none of these things really exist. They're constructs created for the purposes of binary, polarised positions. I am not saying for one minute that your beliefs, others beliefs don't exist, aren't real and aren't founded in love and a desire for a better future. I can see that they absolutely are. What I'm saying is, examine them, really, honestly - and see if you find some fears in there. Do you find some shame, some guilt in there? Do you find some "othering" of those that hold different beliefs? And the biggest, most important question to ask is "who is benefitting from you holding these beliefs?" and if so "how are they manipulating your emotions?"
You may find that you can honestly answer all of these questions clearly from a space of love and find nothing else there. And in which case, you might want to check if you're really a human. Because as humans we're a bag of emotions, of triggers, of reactions, of experiences. We're not here to remove them, but to recognise them, heal them and transmute them. If we are honest about all our emotions, all our triggers, then it is much harder to be manipulated because we're aware of what's going on.
So I'm holding my hands to all and saying, whatever you believe, lets come together, listen deeply to each other. Lets listen to our fears, to our hopes, our dreams, our loves, our shame, our guilt, our desire to fit in and be seen, our desires to be heard. Lets listen deeply to each other. No judgement, no predetermined position. Just with our ears and our hearts. Because there is always a way through. There is always a way beyond the dualities. This is not in some kind of greige, neither/nor space either. It's often about both/and, but sometimes is a bit of weaving in of something else - some magic, something not quite definable. But the way to overcome those that seek to manipulate us, is to know ourselves so deeply, love ourselves deeply and to extend that to others. When we truly see ourselves as connected, we are unstoppable. But it is these beliefs of individualism, uniqueness, that we know best, which creates separation.
So maybe this feels like no-mans land because all of a sudden it's not a 'camp', a 'position', a belief. And I can tell you for certain, it feels pretty lonely and vulnerable out here on this bridge on my own. Anyone who's ever been a bridge will say the same thing. Because its probably the most distrusted position of all. The most "othered" position. But I'm here, because, it seems this is where I make my stand. This is where I feel aligned to my truth. And I make it for unity, for peace, for love, for compassion and because I believe that, together we can create the future we all seek. I also believe we need each other and that we will ultimately fail, as many others have before us, if we are divided. Because divide and rule is a time-tested, traditional, approach of those in power, seeking power, seeking control, and seeking to gain resources for themselves. History also tells us the strongest resistance is always in unity.
Light to all, peace to all, truth to all, love to all. Satnam.