I reached out to Bianca and Michael because I was turning into an asshole.
Specifically, I was full of rage and outrage and judgment at all the racists out there.
And the fact that I was right, and on the side of right, and standing shoulder to shoulder with people of color, and fighting against systemic oppression that has been going on far too long – just made me more of an asshole, to be honest.
There were two costs to my assholery that I became concerned about.
First, the cost to my own mental and physical health. I was angry, and reactive, and negative – all of which can trigger a cascade of unfun chemicals that wreak havoc on the immune system, digestion, nervous system, you name it.
But that would have been OK if the societal upside were positive. You know, if my righteous anger were productive, effective, leading to meaningful change.
Which brings me to the second cost: while I was preening my virtue on social media, getting kudos from the choir, I was completely alienating everyone who didn't agree with every single word I said. Rather than bringing people together in understanding, I was actually contributing to the divisions and fears and traumas that are at the heart of our society's great suffering.
And I know – know in a fully-intellectual and semi-experiential way – that judgment of others is essentially me projecting my shit out onto the world. The spiritual traditions that have nourished me over the years are quite clear that me feeling better than others is me in the full grip of illusion.
So I “should” be full of love and compassion for all the racists, for all the deniers, for all the intellectualizers, who are failing to rise to the moment. Who are fighting tooth and nail for their right to oppress, to harm, to degrade, to objectify, to exploit.
But… but… but…
That's when I reached out to Bianca and Michael. They've been on the show before, talking about conscious living. About love and transcendence and meditation and universal consciousness and all that stuff that I was tossing overboard in my crusade to help Black people.
And they had just sent out an email broadcast from Conscious Living TV, written by Bianca, titled, “The First Time I was Called a ‘N*gger.'”
And just before the cute-as-a-button photo of 3-year-old Bianca, before the article itself, about her not being invited to her friend's birthday party because her daddy didn't want a person of her color in his swimming pool, there was that wonderful Rumi quote:
“Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.” – Rumi
And I thought, “Huh!”
If Bianca can hold that Rumi quote, about there being a transcendent perspective that doesn't include right and wrong, in her heart as she tells the story of painful hurt and discrimination, maybe she can help guide me to a more constructive relationship with race, politics, and allyship.
Bianca is Black. Her husband and business partner at Conscious Living TV, Michael, is white.
And together they are my (and perhaps your) guides to love, healing, humility, liberation, power, and karma.
We talk about all the negative things: guilt, shame, fear, anger, hatred, senseless pride.
And explored the path forward. A path that can hold both righteous anger and love. A path of worldly action and spiritual contemplation. A path in which reparations – repair – is contextualized as karma rather than political or economic calculation.
A path in which we may acknowledge, remain curious about, and bravely face our own pain-bodies: individual, ancestral, and cultural.
Guided by Rumi, St. Francis, and these two beautiful souls, I hope we can all find racial healing in this conversation.
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
Bianca's blog post: “The First Time I was Called a ‘N*gger.'”
Babies, on Netflix
Some uplifting music: Beautiful Chorus
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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
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