I see you’re reading this article and have gone through something that is usually dubbed as an awakening experience. You wake from what is often called the matrix, have a taste of the divine, and for some odd reason you’re still in this lifetime, with an ego and a personality, with traits and backgrounds that aren’t really universal light-love per se, and you realize.
Woah I’m really privileged. Or the persona-skin that you carry has a lot of privilege and history and it’s so clear and violent?? and cushioned, and it’s quite a lot to unpack.
Let’s rewind a bit.
First of all, I will only be talking from my personal experience. I know right now, collectively we are going through a lot of narratives about unpacking trauma with regards to historical imperialism, race (white, black, colonized, colonizer) but for the sake of making the scope of this post smaller and more manageable I’ll simply talk about my experience as being born in an upper-middle class family in a “third-world” nation called the Philippines.
What does that mean?
Huh? Doesn’t awakening mean we see everybody as equals? As love? as emanations of the divine? Isn’t seeing and articulating our differences just us revisiting the mires of illusion, maya and just driving us apart?
I hear you! I know what you’re talking about, and just like there’s a yin to a yang, and there’s the circle that holds the dance of this duality. To hold the empty space that is both — experiencing our allness (in say, a mystical way) , and experiencing our Separatedness (in say, a historical linear way), is part of holding the empty whole (wu wei).
To acknowledge our differences, and at the same time knowing that we are all the same, is part of holding the paradox of life, and a way of shedding our consciousness unto everything — even what we would oft judge as mundane, corporal or 3D, and transform it into a new light.
But, what if you realize you’ve (your personality you) benefited from a system that abused a lot of people? What then?
What do I do with all of this guilt? Where do I put this?
I’ve seen a lot of privileged white folks really struggle with this dilemma. They’ve just honestly never seen their whole life, the kind of access that’s come to them so easily all of this time.
In the same vein, the upper middle class youngsters, are often sheltered and move in their own social groups. They have their own groups, have their own kind of language and media, in this way they’re often blind to the plight of the common person and the entrenched violence that is continued as they live their lives with their implicit biases.
When I, personality me, realizes that the maid is severely isolated from their home town and social networks, for the benefit of me, a person who’s childhood bedroom is bigger than the average solo studio apartment — to have a cleaner and a cook. It becomes a thing to unpack.
You feel evil, you don’t know what to do with the power and your education. You have so much more opportunities, but for a while you feel stunted. Especially since privilege comes in many dimensions.
For example, I can be marginalized as a woman, as a non-white creator in a global media landscape, but being educated enough to smoothly understand english and so much global cultural references makes me privileged enough to engage in a global market. And from this point the amount of guilt-shame can leave you paralyzed and uncreative.
Being privileged is a part of me, now what do I do with it?
What do you do with it? Especially as you hold more of the truths and histories of the world — you can honestly ask that question from the heart — what does truly liberate or ground more love into this world?
For me, personally working with the narratives of the things that I do realize is a part of my marginalization (colonial literature, women and queer lit) feels like a more authentic use of my time and energy. Yes I have opportunity and leverage because of leverage, let me use it to spotlight and translate and create for the oppressed.
In the same manner, if you are a person who truly hasn’t had much comparative difficulty in life, I actually encourage putting a lot of the marginalized creators on the spotlight. I have been so grateful and pleasantly surprised my white-straight-male creators who put a lot of work organising creative communities that feature more diverse stories and featuring more colonized voices.
It’s — I don’t know how to put this. It’s so directly healing for me to be a filipina woman to have a white man actually quietly listen to my opinion. Because for most of the time, in this world, it’s not the case. So if that’s you, a sheltered, a nice person because you’ve never seen difficulty, if you can sit down and listen and feature people who have more harrowing stories to tell and need to unpack and process, I really want to say that your presence their is needed. Your humility is needed.
Meeting People as People
We started of this article talking about how awakening experiences give you a taste of experiencing everybody as well LOVE! love. And then you crash back to earth and then suddenly when you’re talking to people different than you, you feel their judgement, you feel your internal cringe, you feel your implicit biases nab you by the back and drag you back to your bed.
It’s a practice of integration to actually live and see people as they are without these blinders. Yes there is an acknowledgement of where people came from and their biases but there’s also this almost psychic-level-all-seeing level where you can pierce into people’s intention and feel and connect at a level of love and what’s alive in the present moment.
It’s a really powerful technique and intention, and this common experience as human-love-fear is one of those things that helps people connect instantly even to people they would deem as strangers or too different from them.
Oh I see their pain, I feel the pain and see and feel the sameness of our hearts and our love. In that way all stories become the same, and the understanding of each other becomes wider and more all encompassing of what every one is going through. The more you invoke this energy within yourself the easier it is for people to tap this kind of energy too and see you as you and also let go of any implicit biases that they have upon encountering you and your story. (white, rich, sheltered etc.)
They see YOU, your love, your truth.
And in that sense, I want to say, that your privilege is part of your truth. And that is also deserving of love.
It isn’t only capable of serving others but is also a part of your experience and is a shadow of non-acceptance. If you think your privelage is dirty then you still have shame and guilt to process and that’s okay. But i want to assure you that people can still love you as you AS ALL OF YOU! including your rich bitch history or advantage.
People, and the world needs all of you, including that history, but now fully owned and transformed into what is of greater service for the whole. If anything your example is needed in it’s full glory and honesty for the whole world to see. And even if it’s going to take you a while to fully rework yourself — as fully You, in truth, divested or transformed of all the labels and boxes you unconsciously grew up in as a child.
(eg: nerd, rich, cis, man, fashionable, pretty, weird, popular, etc.)
It’s still fully possible for your creative daresay enlightened and awakened self to hold this fabric of what is, in your personality-ego and reweave it as something close to who you are in spirit and truth. All your shades and all your gifts, and complex nuance and experience to inspire others.
I know it seems like a lot right now, but I hope this post helped.