Reflections on Staying the Course or Finding the Courage and Clarity to Make a Course Correction
Remain or Leave? Which brings us back to Brexit. If we concede that what has been presented in this paper has validity, then it might feel trivial at this point to engage with Brexit, which is simply yet another in an endless line of outgrowths of an unconscious system that cannot do anything but: Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
The Brexit vote was a gentle nudge to the ribs of our leadership; a civilized wake-up call to let them know that the people are still relevant, and they are tired of being an afterthought. The response? As one commenter, discussing a potential second referendum, says:
“The Remain Camp’s contempt for democracy and the working class is huge and ever increasing. Any second referendum would result in an even bigger majority to leave. They clearly don’t understand the British people.”
Someone responds to him with:
“If it will be “an even bigger majority to leave”, then what is the problem? It has become abundantly clear that the Leave camp had no clear vision of what Brexit would mean. As that is the case, how can the referendum possibly have been conducted in anything but ignorance?”
What the second commenter is missing is that while ‘clear vision’ was, and still is, missing in action on both sides of the ledger, there is plenty of unconscious ignorance to go around. Only from this oxymoronic place can a serious article be written entitled, “The Brexit Doomsayers were wrong but now we need economic certainty.” Economic certainty eh?
Fortunately, we are becoming more aware of our own failings and blocks, as well as those of our political, legal, medical and economic systems. The emperor has kind of lost his mind, mystified by his personal and ancestral betrayal and addiction to the Rational Man Project. He truly doesn’t know any better, because he’s been frozen in time as the traumatized seven year old child, still trying to figure out what the hell is going on. That makes him potentially dangerous until we understand that the way forward on all fronts is compassion and non-judgment. These people need help, just like we do. They need love, just like we do. When they don’t get it, when we don’t get it, bad things can and do happen.
Many of us will say we’re not addicted to the RMP way, as we fill our every waking hour with something: coffee, get the kids ready for school, work out, eat, work, surf the web, coffee, email, snack, Facebook, cigarette, coffee, eat, work, snack, pick up the kids from daycare, have a toke, make dinner, clean up, Facebook, bathe the kids, put them to sleep, collapse on the couch in front of the TV, have a drink, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TV, news, have a drink, late show, stay up way past when we should because we don’t want to go to bed. Oh, it’s morning again. Shit. Whatever, must keep moving; to escape the pain. Weekend? What weekend? What rest? Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Are we not addicted? We frown upon those who shine a light on our collective malaise by abusing a specific addiction, especially one that has arbitrarily been deemed unacceptable, such as drugs. Apparently, these people don’t know how to colour inside the lines; and it’s awkward for the rest of us to have to witness that, especially as we are working double-time to escape the pain. The reality is that most of us find ourselves somewhere on the Addiction Continuum, our location correlating with our level of disconnect from our feelings and with the depth of our trauma.
As the untenable nature of the RMP approach comes into sharp relief, more of us are wondering if this state of affairs really is inevitable. On social media recently I saw the following ditty: “We’re born. What the fuck is this? We die”. More of us are starting to recognize that this mass confusion, mollified by our normalized addictions, is no longer sustainable. How much longer can we maintain this exhaustingly addictive façade?
We are approaching the nexus where universal and inconsolable stiff-upper-lipping-it meets a place we have not experienced before. We get snippets here and there of this mythical place, but we don’t know what it looks like. We think we need to know what it looks like before taking the plunge. But looking, and the left-brain evaluation that accompanies it, is not remotely as effective as feeling it.
Here’s the mission should we choose to accept it:
(1) Forgive ourselves;
(2) Forgive our parents;
(3) Forgive our ancestors; and
(4) Regenerate the pathways back to the right-brain; back to our hearts; back to our long-lost feelings.
But before that can occur there is one critical component of courting a viable and juicy dance with compassion and non-judgment, without which little changes: space. We have so little space in our over-scheduled and addicted lives to invite in something new.
How can anything change while we suckle at the teat of our permanent hyper-adrenalized state? There is a violence to this routine of addiction. When we engage the wall from this place we are met with a corresponding resistance; a painful rebuff that serves to confirm for us the improbability of safely reconnecting with that far-off place. We are owned by the things we resist most. The greater the resistance to anything, the more in common we have with its energetic signature; not with the exact characteristic but with the feeling underlying it.
Courage is required to create the space needed to reconnect with our hearts – and compassion for what will arise from this place. Crucially, as Dr. Mate, says, “Real compassion doesn’t have to do with helping somebody feel good. It has to do with guiding them to the truth because it’s the truth that will liberate them.” A friend of mine took a course with Dr. Mate last year and she asked him about “joy” – because when you look at him over the course of many videos he doesn’t seem to exhibit much joy and lightness. He responded in a way which is entirely congruent with what he is sharing with the world. Uncovering joy and happiness is a process. Many of us don’t even know what joy really feels like. We are manufacturing it from without. We haven’t known how to be joyful. So, extracting it is not easy. But the more of it we extract, the easier it becomes.
One of the things I love about Dr. Mate is how deliberately he speaks. In our era of lightning quick edits and instant gratification, his thoughtful and gentle delivery can be jarring at first; until we allow ourselves to glide along with him as he creates the space for himself to come up with just the right word or feeling. (For a more in-depth interview with Dr. Gabor Mate click here)
The introduction of this space, and the accompanying gentle pace, into our lives is a mechanism through which we can gain access to the heart side. Of course, this cannot happen without making some changes.
Despite the sway of infinite growth, we can take a step back: maybe downsize our home; change our job; simplify our lives; reduce our addictive consumption; limit our exposure to toxic relationships. No doubt, this is hard to do when confronted by our peer group and family when they are still operating at warp speed. Hence, courage, to slow down, in order to feel; in order to be able to deal with the fear that comes with change. When the fear comes, as it always does, we acknowledge it and feel how it is affecting us and then reach for the better-feeling thought.
The endgame is to feel. Feel the bad stuff and release it. Feel the good stuff and invite it to stick around. Sustained clarity comes from maintaining and nourishing these newly forged channels to our feelings; knowing all the while that this is a life-long process that will sometimes feel like one step forward and two steps back or two steps forward and one step back. At all times, we are encouraged to be as compassionate with ourselves as possible; to cut ourselves continual slack because we are doing the most demanding and honourable work there is.
An antidote to the confusion that is so prevalent in humanity is the process of gaining access to our feelings. It is only from the increasingly balanced place where right-brain feeling has been re-integrated that we can recognize the patterns, destructive and otherwise, that are governing our lives. Moreover, this personal journey becomes a conduit to decoding larger scale unconscious patterns that dictate our familial, national and global behaviour. Questions we didn’t even know we had, or have been avoiding because they are so vexing, can suddenly be asked and answered. Why did I marry my wife? Why am I an alcoholic just like my father? Why is my brother in a terrible relationship with his partner… again? Why am I sick… again? Why am I going through the motions with my job… again? Why is my relationship with my mother so problematic? Why am I perpetually unsatisfied and unhappy? What is up with the world?
Over a period of months and years of accessing our long-dormant feelings the dots begin to be connected as we experience revelatory moments of really understanding the programming behind the scenes. But what’s really fascinating and exciting is that the more insight we gain into our personal patterning, the more we see the generational patterning at work within our own families and our world. Trauma is trauma and betrayal is betrayal, regardless of class, nationality or religion. With this felt understanding, the artificial walls that separate us begin to fall away. We see each other. We see ourselves.
Quantum Physics has a theory, which has been tested, called Quantum Tunneling, which entails “transitioning through a classically-forbidden energy state”. For example, a particle passing through a barrier that it logically shouldn’t be able to. Until recently, this was deemed impossible by the experts who are experts at colouring inside the lines, only venturing outside the lines once it has been confirmed that it’s okay to do so; which brings us back to that daunting wall. Don’t we already know the deal with the wall? When there is clarity, courage and compassion, we can tunnel through the wall. It is not so much a breaking through the wall as becoming one with the wall – and then dissolving it.
Image from Roger Water’s ‘The Wall’ tour
Notice all the people in the crowd exhilarated by the dissolution of the wall by a single person.
When this kind of opening happens, for however long it lasts, empathy enters the equation. Empathy is the opposite of judgment. From this place we can feel that many other humans on this planet – our brothers and sisters – have endured similar levels of trauma and betrayal; and that we’re all just doing the best we can to cope. From this place we can learn to trust. Trust is the opposite of betrayal. From this feeling place we can become familiar with happiness. We can stop running. We can rest. We can feel the exhilarating liberation of letting things go. Letting go of the illusion that we are defined and judged by our trauma, most of which doesn’t belong to us anyway. We can feel the power of peace and gentleness. We can feel that it’s going to be okay.
The other side of the wall is not the promised land as much as extricating ourselves from our own cage; as we realize that we are responsible for our own suffering and our own joy. Until then, we play the role of victim, beholden to the hopelessness and pain that keeps us down. On the other side, we can choose to exchange the hand we were dealt, with a new hand we deal to ourselves. Where we go from there is up to us.
There is nothing we ‘must’ or ‘should’ do. This piece will resonate with some; others will say it’s ‘tosh’. And that’s okay. It is not required for everyone to have courage and to do what Rumi said:
“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”
Will we as a species manage to open our hearts, to trust? Let’s see what we choose. In the end, our individual and collective choices will govern which direction we will head in: further global divisiveness or the unprecedented coming together. We may have to sink further before we can swim. And that’s okay.
If Pink Floyd’s, The Wall, has been the soundtrack of the time period we are emerging from, then the wonderful band, Villagers, represents one musical vision of what is at hand. Here is Conor O’Brien singing, Courage.
“Took a little time to get where I wanted. Took a little time to get free. Took a little time to be honest. Took a little time to be me…”
Bard Azima is a Writer, Photographer, Filmmaker, Empathy Miner and Boarding School Survivor.
You can read more of his work at: www.empathyrising.com.
To order the ebook, with all 10 sections, from Amazon, click here.
Here are the other sections of this article:
Brexit: An Invitation to Dig Deeper – Part 3 – Reflections on David Cameron and Boris Johnson: Boarding School, Systemic Betrayal and the Subjugation of the Feminine as Outgrowths of The Age of Reason
Brexit: An Invitation to Dig Deeper – Part 7 – Reflections on Donald Trump, Ridicule as a National Pastime, The Sheer Scale of Humanity’s Endless Trauma, The Continuation of Global British Influence and the Troubling Legacy of Winston Churchill