Some seed truths:
- Once you accept death as a reality and that there is no escape, there is an authentic and different wisdom that can manifest in ones’ life.
- We must not ignore how easily victims are willing to become the new perpetrators. That is not a comforting thought, but ultimately one must consider that the means of survival are so often central to this drama of oppressor and oppressed, and one can swiftly morph into the other. Being abused and traumatized is not a prescription for compassion or wise behavior.
Our minds have produced this hell…our fragmented, wounded minds. Brave, healing minds that confront the reality of existence, if in an unfolding “process mode” can also undo this nightmare collectively. Fragmented minds have real trouble being collective and positive.
The first time I went to a sweat lodge my spontaneous prayer was to understand and experience the Oneness of all things. For me to be in a Dakota Inipi Wakan ceremony was like being struck by lightening! Energetically I could feel something throughout my entire body that I imagined as being something close to “re-wiring”. There was fire in my spine and orgasmic explosions in my brain. It was like constantly hearing beautiful music night and day. I was hearing sounds and voices that I didn’t understand to physically be in the room. My understanding about so much that was presented to me as “normal” was no longer operative in terms or race, class, gender, religion or nationality. The sweat lodge ceremonies that I participated in were held at Amos Owens compound on Prairie Island Minnesota which is also the location of a nuclear power plant owned and operated by NSP/Xcel Energy!
At that time in 1983/1984, I was returning to my home to Mound Minnesota with wife Thembi and daughter Hanika. Mound was once a sacred burial ground for the same Dakota people that were now generously taking me the Red Road. Was it coincidence we ended up making home on Lake Minnetonka? At least one summer as a young man, W.E.B. Dubois, a great black scholar and political activist, worked as a waiter and busboy at a resort on Lake Minnetonka. So this location has both Red and Black significance for me. I also remember now that there were times in those sweat lodge ceremonies when African and Indian Ancestors had messages for me. Things I saw and heard in ceremony I could not “logically” explain in terms of consensus reality.
Since that time, I have met a number of people who had some version of the same “spiritual crisis” I had, but they were hospitalized and heavily medicated. I feel much gratitude to Valerie “Thembi” Geaither for not pushing me into the mainstream medical model because it was rather scary. I find myself, many years in the wake of this spiritual crisis, asking a question, as Western so-called civilization crumbles before our eyes:
At this time in history, how do we build a lifeboat on a stormy sea?
For some reason I can’t explain, the injunction of Jesus Christ to love one’s enemy comes to mind. That’s crazy, right? How does that address the state of my neighborhood, much less the world? What does that mean? What does it look like? How does it feel to hear that instruction? How is this lived and embodied? Does loving one’s enemy have something in common with building a lifeboat on a stormy sea? How does one deal with crazed, greedy, violent, delusional people, lovingly? That is the big question. Gandhi, King and the Buddha seem to be watching and listening.
I feel my flirtations with insanity have been beneficial… In those places of conflict, contradiction, and cognitive dissonance, I believe something is trying to be known. If we could get ourselves to be present with reality in an open, loose, centered & mindful way, maybe we would have a better chance of seeing things the way they are: interconnected and illuminated, whole and intertwined polarities.
Life is an ambiguous adventure. If you can’t have some acceptance of pain, ambiguity and contradiction there is no chance of making sense of this. This time of dramatic change and transition makes no sense unless we rethink many of our ideas about “normalcy”, “good & bad”, “us & them”. I personally feel a need to be centered in a steady, all embracing, mindful, awareness in order to witness and understand what is unfolding now. I want to be one of those giving birth to something vibrant, sustaining, loving. From my point of view, what is called the Sacred Feminine is re-emerging in humanity to give birth to new life forms. There is really no language for what I am trying to express…
Yes birth & death embrace
Radiance & sighs
Tears beyond joy
To a humanity
Animal, vegetable, mineral
Singing, spinning, atoms rejoice
You’re invited to the dance.