Charles Eisenstein, in this interview, challenges me to something more radical than empathy. What if we believe everything we read and hear? Not in the sense of “That’s Absolute Truth,” but in the sense of: This is what’s real for this person.
It’s a difficult assignment, because it requires giving up being right. But practicing it would open up the potential for new learning.
What life circumstances could I imagine that would give rise to the various stories I hear? What enculturation/emotions/experiences underlie people’s opinions? Or the scenarios being played out, which are expressions of the stories people know to be true?
What stories must be firmly in place for so many African-Americans to be brutalized and killed at the hands of authorities, so often with impunity?
As this writer posits, “America has conditioned society to regard us (African-Americans) as beasts, superhuman, faster, and stronger. So when we are killed, it’s easy to rationalize and accept.”
That’s one possible story. A painful one. Giving rise to the need for all of us to say, unequivocally, Black Lives Matter.
This morning in meditation I saw a flower with countless small petals. One bloom, many petals: This is humanity. A flower doesn’t have to be told that it’s insanity to pluck out some petals. It is all one whole, one body.
From my journal after one such shooting:
Is it possible that I carry all the permutations of humanity in my cells, in a more literal way than I ever imagined?
What if: I am the police officer who killed the black teenager. And I am the teenager who died. I am the crowd that formed. I am the mother. I am the judge, the jury, the media, the Facebook storm, the Twittersphere.
All of these are within me and I must must must love them now. The young woman wanting to smash up stores in anger. The older folks grieving. The Fox News people spinning. The truckers in the truck stop, the teens at the mall, the babies in wombs ready to be born into a quaking world. The deflection. The pain. The heartache. The horror.
The fear. Everywhere fear. I am that. And I must love that.
I am the return, too. The opening.
Can we imagine a story that would solidify our shared humanity, and our mutuality, and our need for everyone to feel safe and respected as they walk through the world?