Silence Encourages the Tormentor
So last night I began writing this and continued in the wee hours of the morning and then as if God wanted to pat me on my head as affirmation today, this Super Soul Sunday had Charles Eisenstein. I am literally in awe…So, here goes:
I’ve known this quote for some time but, by grace, was reminded of it again in my reading of Danielle LaPorte’s latest book White Hot Truth. It is, indeed, why my most recently published piece is on the idea that love has become an outrageous phenomenon.
For me, the idea of love consciously formed around the idea of activism with Mohandas “Mahatma” K. Gandhi at the center. I started reading history at the age of eleven and it has always been the choice to remain silent and not act that I have always found confounding. In fact, my dissertation addressed precisely this point. I examined the ideology of silencing as it related to race and ethnicity in 19th-century Puerto Rico.
From witnessing individual acts of suffering in our daily lives to instances of mass suffering (both historically and currently), our choice to watch and ignore the most appalling behavior makes me have a visceral reaction. And the truth is, I know that we all have this physical reaction because as I have said before, we are nobody and everybody. But it is our decision to be willfully blind that allows us to accept the dismal reality of terror and acclimate ourselves to it. And let’s be clear, doing this is a choice to disconnect from everyone else and our truest selves as well.
Throughout my life, I have been asked repeatedly to be silent, to acquiesce and disconnect for the “proclaimed” wellbeing of others (and myself). And while I knew this not to be true, many times I complied under the pressure of the flood of voices speaking more fear into me. I’m usually that one person who doesn’t know how to be willfully blind and wear an “I’m okay with this” mask.” Every time I made this choice it was a literal nightmare. Hell, this is what living in fear is, it is acquiescing to the possibility of experiencing more pain than that which you are currently living. It is believing that “they” (the others) who are out to dominate us will win, instead of believing in the power of “us.” Often, we become intimidated into silence or taking a step back because we are told that great ill will befall us. The illusion is that hell awaits us should we speak up for someone who is suffering, be it ourselves or someone else. But the truth is that it is precisely the silence and choice to be willfully blind that creates a hell that is both personal and collective.
So, this is what I have to say, show up! SHOW UP! Stop submitting to fear and hate. Speak! Act! People are suffering in a variety of ways and they feel disconnected because our culture tells us that you are all you have. But while you’re looking at someone else with horror saying, “God, please don’t let that happen me or with judgment and pity thinking, “that will never be me,” the truth is…it already is.