This morning I found myself stuck on The Root. For those of you who have never heard of it, it is similar to The Huffington Post, but with articles that are more tailored to the interests of a largely African American audience. Some of the articles that I got mesmerized by were a 4 page article on African American Slave Holders, one on the push to get Dr. Ben Carson to run for POTUS, and an article about people’s reactions to the new version of Annie being cast with the little black girl from Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhane Wallis. As I read the articles, I monitored my thoughts around the subject matter to see what I could learn about myself and how I relate to the world. You see, I have chosen to be a person who checks in with myself a lot. If a thought occurs to me that I feel is questionable, such as, “Why is Ben Carson a Republican?”, I am inclined to examine it to see if I can determine where it came from and whether or not it is a thought I really resonate with or if it was one handed to me. Like with the Ben Carson thought, I can distinctly remember my father telling me that any black man who is a Republican these days must hate himself or other black people. With that in my head, my mind immediately tried to tie Ben Carson to the black slave holders who I had just read about in the previous article. That led me to consider other so called, “black on black” violence and exploitation. I say so called, because if people of other races exploit each other no one calls it anything. I’ve never heard anyone say “white on white” or “brown on brown” crime. Anyway, after a single thought starts making too many divergent connections, I usually stop the train and get off and then ask myself how I got there in my mind. From there I determine whether I want to keep going with that train of thought or move on to other things.
For a long time, if I came to realize that a person I was talking with was jut parroting what they were told by their family without ever taking a look at whether or not those thoughts actually served them, I would start the process of removing myself from the conversation. My reasoning for this was that I felt like that tendency among people to just go on automatic pilot mode is what allows a lot of dysfunction to keep moving through the generations. “My mother or father did it so I do it.” never sat well with me. And besides, I really don’t see the point of that line of thinking. In this way, I am like Socrates, who said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The way I see it, if my life is merely a consecutive string of undisciplined reactions to my environment and conditions based on what I was force fed to believe through propaganda, then in essence I was never really here. That being said, I don’t merely limit myself to the Descartes[ian] ideology, “I think therefore I am”. I see thinking as a part of “who I be”, but not the whole. Other relevant aspects of how I express my being are feeling, intuiting, accepting, and surrendering to just name a few. But all of these aspects or faculties or facilities of my being fall under the umbrella of Consciousness. For me, Consciousness is the essence of who I am. Consciousness is the intentional observer/influencer of my being and the channel through which I deliver my activities into the world. In my opinion, without Consciousness, the world is nothing but vanity.
If I were to draw a picture of how I imagine Consciousness being, I would draw Consciousness as the Light of Creative Intelligence, my mind would be the slides or film I want to project, and the projector itself would be my body. As I project onto the world i.e. the screen, the Intelligent Light of my Consciousness is also observing what I project and engaging with the receivers at multiple levels. This creates an expansion in Consciousness which then brings greater illumination to the slides or film which represents the thoughts that occur in Mind. As the illumination intensifies, there is more clarity to the thought projections. This continues until the projections become an ideal representation of the Conscious Intelligent and Creative Light. When that happens the slides and/or film are no longer necessary because I will no longer have anything to project onto the world or onto others in order to justify my existence. At that point, I will be functioning as pure Consciousness–an uninterrupted and unfiltered, freely giving and freely receiving creative being. I think this is how it works for all of us. I believe that that is our true nature. As I said in the post Switched At Birth, I believe that we all came here as pure being, and then, for many of us, the inaccuracies and sometimes flat out lies began, starting with the very names we identify with. But beyond our names are the other associations that become the filters through which we give to and receive from Life. And for me that is where The Root came in this morning. As I read the articles, I could feel my filters engaging.
Before reading those articles, I was simply Conscious Being. Besides, my dog and some lady bugs, no one was home. I had done my morning devotions, meditation, and prayer. I had caught up on this campaign called The One Great Hour of Sharing with my daughter, which has the tagline, “We are One” and was feeling grateful that I have another day to get closer to the Root of my Being–my Source who I most often refer to as God. I will admit that for some time now, I have “fallen off the wagon” when it comes to remaining sober to what I believe is God’s reality of Life. That is to say that without constantly checking in with myself, praying a whole lot, reading the Bible and other expansive material, and talking about the Higher activities of life, I feel the temptation to get intoxicated with the smaller story of who I am, the roles that I play in the world. I know that I am not my roles any more than I am my thoughts. I am not a fictional character. But as many of us know, sometimes it seems easier to play one.
When I looked at the articles, I felt some of my fictions coming up. You’d have to read the article on African American slave owners to get an idea of what my feelings might have been, but I will say that, if I jumped into a time machine immediately after reading it, I might have caused some trouble for some of those people. When I read about Ben Carson, I found myself thinking of him as having become a cartoon character. He’s a brilliant doctor and I’ve read some intelligent things from him, but I will say that I have my challenges with how it seems like he has straight up bought into the vanity of the political world. Granted I don’t know him or any politicians, but it all looks like reality TV to me at this point–even President Obama. And finally, when I saw people having a problem with a black Annie, I felt myself wanting to take it personally. Besides the fact that I am a sensitive person and almost cried both times when I watched the trailer, I could easily project my curly haired daughter into that character and the thought of people tripping off of that bugged me. Like the author said in the article, “Annie is Black, Get Over It”.
All this being said, I am confessing that my particular black filter was kicking in in every one of those articles. Of course there are purely human elements that I would bristle at such as slavery in general, Carson’s seeming disregard for people who do not identify as heterosexual, or people being overly critical of an obviously talented child actor simply based on her race regardless of what that race might be. Still I have more to examine about how my filter influences my work in the realm of Consciousness and how it effects my ability to give and receive freely. It is really interesting because, while I believe that experience informs a considerable portion of how we engage the world, I do also believe that we are capable of transcending our experience thus enabling us to live in what St. Paul called the “newness of life”. In the newness of life as I aspire to live it, everything about life is new and fresh and pure moment by moment, even our very selves and our relationships to others and the whole wide world. I’m not going to get into it right now, but what it basically means to me is that once we identify ourselves as children of God and citizens of eternity, then we live in a realm where as he puts it, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” and ” In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” As a person I understand as having examined his own life, I can see Paul adding a whole lot of other categories that we hold onto into that list–married, single, heterosexual, GLBTQ, rich, poor, healthy, unhealthy, red and yellow, black and white. I know that I am a citizen of eternity where there is no division among us and for the most part I live out of that space with everyone I encounter, but I’m still working on that tension between that reality and how I encounter events in time that seem to thrive in anti-consciousness and denial.