What an amazingly crazy year 2020 was! Yet, those who thought that 2020 would simply disappear, and 2021 would be very different may have been surprised on January 6 when a sitting president of the United States encouraged thousands of supporters to march on the capitol. I think of 2020 as the year of our collective shadow becoming obvious for all willing to see. It also was another year of increased polarity…duality…”othering” upon others. It’s taken a while to want to say anything about that because it was such a shock to the system that I felt silence was better for a while. Enough people were sharing their opinions as the story of January 6 in the Capitol of the United States unfolded.
Animals in nature just naturally know where to hunt for food. This Egrit is looking deeply into a tide pool and caught a little fish. I have watched this being for some time and it has a variety of hunting areas it circulates within it’s territory. When humans think of food, we often think of meal time, snacks, our favorite dishes, restaurants etc. But during these times I invite us to look more deeply. My root teacher (Thich Nhat Hanh) has taught us that food is also sense impressions, volition and consciousness.
I can recall seeing a news story where there was a photo of white enraged men with big guns inside the Michigan capitol screaming without masks into the faces of the line of police. That was over half a year before the insurrection in Washington DC. I was horrified and the first thought was why are they allowed to carry guns into this space? If those were young black men, there is no way in hell they would be allowed to carry guns in and scream at police inches from their face. As a white person that is just such an immediate awareness of a double standard that has grown deeper in recent years. And as a white person it’s important to name that double standard.
Moments of truth can be liberating if we have the courage to embrace what might be under the surface. Back to what we feed grows. If we feed our anger, our hatred, our suspicion, our sense of entitlement, those things will grow. It’s easy to point the finger outward and think how crazy and wrong a person or group may be, whether Republican or Democrat…but can we also turn inward and investigate deeper?
As a wildlife photographer, one of my most beloved passions is tracking animals energetically and creating a bond that manifests through an image. My telephoto is strong so sometimes what I think I see is not quite what I really see. For example, I was walking by the shore last week and saw what looked like a snake. Again I track energy too and I was not quite sure. I used my zoom lense to capture the image but still couldn’t tell. As I sat with this for a moment and asked myself are you sure? I concluded it was a stick. There was no motion, no movement that would match a snake. But the shape hooked my attention and my mind immediately went to “snake”. (I love snakes by the way.)
Now, I’ll go out on a branch (hah) and say if I was with a lot of snake hating people who saw what they thought was a snake…they may want to kill it. What feeds that hate? Probably fear. What feeds the fear? The stories they have (consciously or subconsciously) in their heads about snakes. Then if we all heard a person of authority that we trust say, “that’s definitely a snake…we need to do something Right Now!” Well, you see my point. This little old stick is just getting catapulted by this emotional tidal wave of collective energy based on a wrong perception.
Back to January 6th and what started out as Donald J. Trump, then the president of the United States, fueling the crowd to go “fight like hell” the certification process of the election because the election was stolen. By this time, millions of people had been eating disinformation for months from multiple sources. By this time, Donald Trump had not only pressured election officials in the state of Georgia, but also his own vice president to shift the results so that he would win the election he lost. He also put those who were simply doing their job, at risk. This day was not one day. This day was the culmination of feeding on conspiracy theories, and “news’ that would help a misperception be held as true and true enough to break the law for. After all, the President of the United States is inviting them to do it, so they have a right to “fight like hell.”
What we feed grows, who we hang out with supports a certain energy within us. The videos we watch, the news we watch, the conversations we have, the grievances we ruminate upon. The energy of that group of people and the messages they were fed before going to the Capitol had some people act in ways they never would have as individuals on their own, alone. Community energy is a food too. The volition (or intention) of that group, and the Consciousness of that group fed individuals on that day, and the days/months prior.
What is your hunting ground? Where do you get your “Truth?” One morning when I could not get on the internet to do my online yoga class, I was seriously disappointed. Then I realize…OH Shit! That means I can’t do my on line class or all this other stuff. I have a morning sitting practice and in that practice I got an image of myself tangled in wires…bound up like a mummy in wires. It showed me I had become completely dependent on the internet. Like the world out there was more important than taking care of the anger in here…the one who discriminates in here, the one who thinks they know how it is, even if it is not accurate, within me. That fear of being without the internet during a shelter in place, that fear of being without something to fill the void, be it news or classes, or even an on line yoga class. That image stayed with me. Of being wrapped up in wires. Do we have the courage to come back home and feed ourselves wholesome, simple foods…and perhaps even unplug from the collective dream for a bit? The collective dream is reflecting back drama, trauma and as Biden said recently…an un civil war. What would happen if we unplug the wiring into that and cleared the space to feed a new dream? Instead of feeding on the internet, maybe I could feed on my own innernet of intuitive knowing by being in nature. And what might first look like a snake, could become a friend.