“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’m not sure this post will make sense to anyone but me. However, I’ve got to write down my thoughts and feelings to make sense of them.
Almost every day, I find new reasons to be disturbed about the way women and minorities are being treated in this country and around the world. In fact my feelings run the gamut between irritation to down right rage when I hear the latest news. I know it’s not good to hold onto those feelings. They’re jarring to my calm, so I’m resolved to understand why we’re experiencing a new surge in human rights problems. I can’t just sit by and watch it happen. I want to figure out what I can do about it. Recently, I had some aha moments that I’d like to share.
This past week my book club group was discussing The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it to both men and women. It’s about the Grimké sisters, two almost forgotten figures in the Abolitionist and Suffrage movements. As always our discussion turned to current events. One woman said, “It feels like we’re going backwards.” I had to admit it does feel like we’re going backwards. However, I know from my study and personal spiritual practice that’s not possible.
As I was contemplating our discussion, three ideas came my way that are helping me articulate what I’ve been struggling to understand for many years.
A few days before our book club discussion I saw an article or poster on Facebook stating that the outside has traditionally been men’s domain, therefore any woman who crosses paths with men in what they consider their domain is fair game for interference of some kind. The men who think this way, assume they can stop the woman, harass her, or do any number of other unpleasant things with her they like. After all, they OWN the out of doors, that gives them permission to do anything they please. I think this applies not only to the way men treat women in THEIR space, but how white men feel toward and treat minorities as well.
This mindset is centuries old, you understand, so it’s ingrained as just the way things are. There are some otherwise perfectly nice men who don’t see why women get upset at cat calls, or a hand around their waist. They don’t understand that what they’ve just said is a racial slur. Many men do understand this, but some are just doing what they’ve been taught. Often If someone pointed out their bad behavior, they’d be appalled to think that they weren’t considerate and understanding. They’d deny it, of course, but who knows what seeds can be planted in their minds when they see the affect their behavior has on someone else.
Another day I saw a post on Facebook that pointed out that men think that they are the ones who make women fully women by having sex with them. Like they were gods and could dictate who was to become a full human being! I guess to these men, sex is like laying claim to the woman, who then belongs to him exclusively. As if a woman couldn’t possibly be a person in her own right without the approval and protection of a man.
Everything on this living organism we call planet Earth has the right to self-determination without interference from another being. Sex is a biological function. It has nothing to do with personhood. Nor is it a reason to make women inferior to men, or to fight over her with another man.
Ever since I was a little girl, I just couldn’t swallow the interpretation of the creation story in the Bible. The story that is used to put women in the inferior position, because supposedly Eve was the one to break God’s law and eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In my mind her curiosity was and is a vital part of being human. Also in the story is the implication that men are superior because Adam was created first with God creating Eve from his rib. It’s obvious to me that a man included that in the story in an effort to blot out the fact that the pre-historic cultures worshipped the Goddess. Societies during that time were organized around a mostly feminine in approach to living and surviving. When the tide began to turn toward male dominated societies, men wanted to prove they were more favored by God, by telling the creation story skewed toward male dominance. (Riane Eisler’s book The Chalice and the Blade is an eye opening account that gives archeological evidence of the change from female to male dominated societies.)
The third idea, though not new, came my way in an interview that Mastin Kipp had with Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, and Sacred Contracts. In the interview she said that we are addicted to Darkness. We long to live in the light, but darkness is so familiar to us, that we cling to it afraid to give it up. Because we choose to live in the dark, we often do things to benefit ourselves, for which others pay the price. When we’re in the dark, we’re motivated by greed, or self-preservation, or fear. I knew exactly what she was talking about, because I suffered from the unethical actions of someone else. The person who maneuvered me out of a beloved job, wanted it for herself. I was in the way of what she wanted. So, thinking only of herself, she made sure I lost my job. We hear it all the time. “I didn’t mean anything personal by it. It was just business.” That kind of thing happens among family and friends as well. And I’ve been just as guilty of doing it as those who’ve done it to me. No wonder there are so many walking wounded.
I know from personal experience that deciding to live in the light is a scary thing. When I made the decision to come out of the dark, I didn’t know what to expect, or what it would feel like to live within the light. When I fully embraced the light, I had to take responsibility for my actions. I couldn’t make excuses for hurting others any longer. I couldn’t claim, “The devil made me do it”. There were times when I wanted to go back into the dark. But once you’ve taken a step forward, it’s nearly impossible to go back.
Even though most of us have been living in the dark for centuries, we’re now coming out into the light. There have been great teachers and enlightened beings who have shown us the way, but because what they’re trying to get us to see is beyond our five senses, it’s been difficult for us to grasp the true meaning of their teachings.
For those of you who are rational, let me reference a book I read several years ago that shows scientifically how humans have been awakening. The book is Power VS. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. Reading it changed my life and my perspective of events that have taken place in the world. I’m not a scientist, but let me explain the book by saying that each person, society, religion, and anything that exists vibrates at certain levels. Hawkins has learned how to measure these vibrations, which he calls calibrations. Most of humanity calibrates at a fairly low level. People like Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, and other enlightened people calibrate at levels as high at 1,000. In the last chapter of the book Hawkins writes that in the mid-1980s, the calibration for humanity took a sudden jump from 190 to 207. It may be even higher now. A person or organization that calibrates below 200 can’t tell the difference between a truth and a lie. They are living in deep darkness. They are so frightened of those of us who calibrate above 200 that they do terrible things thinking their actions will protect them in some way. The people who have committed unthinkable acts in the past, and who are in the news of late, calibrate at very low levels.
So how do we combat the mistreatment of women and minorities? We can point out in loving ways the error in the thinking of the one doing the mistreatment. Here are some examples of what I mean.
Once I needed some repair work on my car. The technician came out and greeted me with, “Hello Sweetie. What can I do for you?” I have to admit I was a little miffed. But I said as calmly as I possibly could, “First of all. Don’t call me Sweetie. I’m someone’s sweetie, but not yours.” He looked startled, but said, “Okay. What can I do for you?” Then I proceeded to tell him what I needed in as businesslike manner as possible. I hope he thought twice before calling the next woman, “Sweetie”.
Another thing we can do is to stand with someone who is being harassed. It doesn’t take much to stop a bully. You can merely say, “Stop harassing this person”, or you can just look at them with a neutral face. It’s a technique I used in the classroom to get students to do what they were supposed to be doing, and it worked beautifully, because I wasn’t fighting with them. I was just helping them choose to do what they already knew they should be doing.
Also, when you stand by the person that’s being harassed, others may find the courage to join you, because one courageous person can help others make up their minds to do the same thing. Standing up to a bully is showing real power in the face of external force that is based on fear. As Hawkins writes, “Ignorance does not yield to attack, but it dissipates in the light and nothing dissolves dishonesty faster than the simple act of revealing the truth. The only way to enhance one’s power in the world is by increasing one’s integrity, understanding, and capacity for compassion.” When we stand up for the rights of others, we’re shining a light on erroneous attitudes and actions.
I have a small circle of influence in my every day life. However, when I’m teaching I try to create a safe environment in which students can flourish. If one student tries to treat another badly, I point out the behavior and try to establish a safe learning environment again. Every little effort toward the light helps create a wider field of awakening for every living thing on this planet.
Thanks for reading. I know my musings are sometimes convoluted and hard to understand. However, writing this blog helps me make sense of the world around me, and what I can do to make it a better place in which to live.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014