I have spent the past 20+ years immersed in my own personal development journey. I have read countless books, attended many seminars, and studied multiple modalities, all in the quest to become a better and more effective person, partner, father, earner, and member of society.
At times, I have struggled with the implications of “The Law of Attraction,” and have wondered what I was doing wrong. I adopted the “deep mindset work,” from which I have had hit-and-miss results at the direction of various “gurus.”
I have gone as far back as I could remember into my past—even past lives—attempting to locate the keys to unlock the doors that would have everything finally work out in the massive way those gurus sold me on. What I have found is that much of the work I have done only equates to a small piece of the puzzle of what would have my life work in the way I want it to; “real spirituality,” whatever that means, is a long game.
One of the pitfalls to this spiritual work I have seen over and over again has to do with how we use our discoveries, awakenings, and realizations. For years, we might be completely unaware of a subconscious belief or action that is holding us back. Then, we see it for what it is and become empowered! This is all fine and good until we start using this information against others, trying to tell them, show them or disrupt them into what we think about what they should be doing or thinking. This is where divisiveness and victim-blaming come in. From what I have observed, there is a very large amount of compassion and empathy missing in our society when it comes to what people have dubbed the “White Spiritual Community.”
If you are white and reading this, and feeling defensive, take a deep breath with me and I will explain.
In order to effectively heal something, one needs to know what that “thing” is. The “blocks” we talk about having that prevent us from finding true love or making more money, for instance, are usually found hidden in our blind spots. The “blind spot” generally being an unconscious belief we have about ourselves, based on our experiences in life; we do not know what we do not know.
When we have those moments of uncovering a blind spot, it can be like a whole new world opens up to us; we get why we have made certain choices in our lives, we get why we have kept ourselves hidden or even, why we became loud and confrontational. Whatever it is, it is the result of the experiences we have had. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with blind spots as we all have them—and many of them. We all have beliefs informing our decisions and actions, and until we really uncover what those beliefs are, and why we have them, we cannot do anything about them. Acknowledging “what is so” from a nonjudgmental place is the access to healing and transforming those persistent experiences.
While this is beneficial to us on our own personal journeys, issues arise when we insist on imposing our beliefs onto others. We all have our own unique points of view, based on how we have interpreted our life experiences. My best friend and I were both bullied growing up. My way of surviving involved developing my skills at non-confrontation and putting people at ease; his way of surviving involved attacking back swiftly and decisively. While I could sit in judgment of myself and wish that I was more like him, I know for a fact that the way I chose to develop myself has put me in the place to most effectively do the work that I do; and the same is true for him.
In the same way that we have personal points of view based on our individual experiences, we have collective points of view based on our cultural experiences. As a white, Jewish man, I can relate to other people who were raised inside of Judaism—especially when it comes to sharing stories of my grandparents who survived the Holocaust, or having a Jewish mother; there are cultural norms and points of view that we similarly share, and there is nothing wrong with any of that.
In the same way, my friends who are Black in this country, have their own distinct points of view based on their collective experiences. Some of these include being denied housing, being expected to “tone down” their expressiveness to not seem “aggressive,” and of course, having a much different relationship with law enforcement than I do as a white man. If we can acknowledge that we have distinct experiences based on our subcultures and appearance, we can actually make a lot of progress. However, this is where the huge blind spot exists within the “White Spiritual Community”.
Much of what I have seen by white teachers, whether it is Tony Robbins failing to grasp the experience of women in regards to the #metoo movement, or Marianne Williamson’s tone-deafness in regards to people of color, or even online coaches who proudly proclaim that they are here to shake things up and assert their “spiritual warrior-ness,” completely disregards the actual, lived experiences of people of color. To make matters worse, when these “leaders” are confronted by this, they often double-down by pointing the “you are being a victim” finger at those who disagree with them.
Our desire to empower and motivate people, can be very dangerous if we are not listening to them first—and I don’t mean listening from a place of “I am going to say the thing that will fix you,” I mean, “listening from the place so that I may understand you better.” It is problematic that a woman of color speaking of her experiences with white women is seen as creating division, while the white woman dismissing that woman of color, is seen as “crushing the patriarchy.” But that, my friends, is the blind spot known as white privilege.
There is an unlimited supply of information and shared experiences on this topic that are available. The access to breakthroughs and healing comes from that space of being willing to discover what you don’t know that you don’t know. To my brothers and sisters in the “White Spiritual Community,” I invite you to look from that place—the place of discovering something new—versus that place of “I already know this and I am going to convince you of where you are wrong or need to grow.” I, personally, feel much more enriched by listening and learning from others, than from asserting the things that I already know.
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