Spiritual apathy, and the different ways we don’t give a fuck.

I got my Master’s in Spiritual Psychology in 2013.

To me, back then, I thought that learning spirituality also meant learning social justice, since to me spirituality meant empathy meant learning about the injustices so that we could do better. I was at a school in Santa Monica, California, with mostly white privileged people, and genuinely thought that’s where I would learn about social justice as well.

It wasn’t, obviously. It took me feeling unsatisfied with my degree and continuously cast off to the margins to realize there was definitely a social division that was  present in my spiritual practices as well. Absolutely everything that I held dear to me in my education ignored very important aspects of society. For a moment, in me trying to “do better”, I genuinely thought that ignoring things like racism and the patriarchy was helpful because then I wasn’t adding to the “bad vibes”. The Law of Attraction had taught me that which we give our attention to, we give energy to. So if I ignored it, I was doing a service to those suffering from racism. Everyone who believed in Law of attraction would then (and continue to now) tell you that.

Boy, was that just a bunch of privileged bullshit. It breeds lack of empathy, and is a harmful way of thinking for many people if it continues to be sold in the light-hearted fashion that has continued to be sold by “New Age” spiritualists that blame victims for their misfortune.

First of all, The Law of Attraction has too many holes in it, most of which are nicely written out here. My main problem with it is that it promotes lack of empathy. (Just google “law of attraction and lack of empathy”). Second of all, many of the psychological heroes we follow are deeply problematic one way or another. Jung was racist, Maslow stole and butchered the hierarchy of needs from the Blackfoot Nation, Gestalting (a fantastic form of therapy) was popularized by white men who had many problems themselves. Also, why was everything I learned written by white men? Where are the writings by women and people of color? This kind of problematic doesn’t stop in psychology, of course, but goes deeply into spirituality as well. A few examples are: Gandhi is said to have been racist, had unhealthy ideas of sex, and probably learned non-violence from his wife. Eckhart Tolle ignores social issues and trauma which essentially victim-blames, the Yoga movement in the USA is white-washed and mostly insults the spirituality and history behind it. Even my beloved political movements had deep problems. The different waves of feminism have been racist, ableist, and classist, and incredibly transphobic.

As I questioned everything I had ever known and loved, and saw the brainwashing and programming, I realized I had been knee-deep in it my whole life, and there was no way to get out of it because it was everywhere. Absolutely every single one of us that has been educated in post-colonial education have internalized duality and some (if not all) form of bigotry and rejection towards gender, race, class, and disabled or fat bodies. Regardless of whether we consider ourselves spiritual or not.

Every authority in my life who I had loved and respected has, (and continues to) teach me the duality of genders, favoring whiteness and thinness, rejection of disability and fatness, and encourages ignoring “bad vibes” in the form of “negative thoughts” and “feelings”. My attempts at pushing back have been seen as radical, quirky, dramatic, or over-emotional, rather than a deep awareness and ability to understand how capitalism has completely fucked us over, that White Supremacy is very much alive, that internalized toxic patriarchy has been taught to every person  and Colonialism is the source of a very sick society.

I had to lose some of my privileges and be cast off before I could practice true empathy the way I sought to with Spiritual Psychology. To this day, the only person in my nucleus family that supports my radical views is my little sister. Everyone else shies away from the “aggressiveness” of my beliefs (tone-policing, yet another tool to condemn marginalized voices), sees me as exaggerated or is apathetic to my views, as if they were some personal perspective I made up.

Among my friends I am seen mostly as radical though supported, but aside from my partners, most people in my sphere of friends do not feel quite the same and with my lack of knowledge and resources, I am constantly feeling like I am not doing enough.

I suspect that most people are too busy trying to stay alive in a capitalist world depleting them of their every resource, or simply too privileged and comfortable to want to bother themselves with radical empathy. Or rather people want to be liked so much, they rather ignore what sounds like made-up concepts than face the spiritual truth of this duality. I have been guilty of all three things.

As I become more aware and my comrades and I become restless for change, Martin Luther King Jr’s famous quote rings constantly in my ears, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice.” It is not just black people and the KKK, but any marginalized voice cast aside by the “nice neighbor”. By polite relatives. By friends just trying to keep “positive vibes only”, by people playing “devil’s advocate”, by the “nice guy” who does bare minimum, by the people who think peace is in doing nothing.

It took me seeking real help to realize it was not out there, for years, to realize the government and capitalism did not care about me, or my life. And that this system had taught me to lack empathy. That it had seeped into my spirituality. And now, finally removing as many binds from my eyes as I can, I see the blindness and the complacency of most people around me. The complacency kills me. You are complacent, and therefore complicit.

I do not think I am better than anyone, as I will never be completely free of the programming. I have done and continue to do problematic things, because all of us, under a trash system, are essentially trash. A concept that Gem (@urdoingreat on instagram) helped me stomach, as I realize that the sooner we can understand this, the sooner we can become recyclable trash. Essentially never perfect, but always serving a higher purpose.

To me, there is no deeper spirituality than that of serving our planet and its every life. Any movement that does not include people of color, that does not acknowledge the land and those who care for it, that does not care for fat, trans, and disabled bodies, that does not incorporate the spectrum of our gender identity and therefore does not centralize radical empathy for human kind is only furthering our divide. In there lies what I believe to be a good human. In there lies what I believe to be good enough. There is no neutral position in a system of oppression, no matter how much we want to believe it. Especially those who benefit the most from this system. I have benefited from this system because I am cis-gendered (ie I agree with the gender that I was assigned at birth). I have benefited from this system because I am white. I have benefited from this system because I am able-bodied, and mostly seen within the compounds of acceptable “curviness”. But being a woman, and a sensitive one with mental illness has made it so that people have pushed my thoughts and ideas aside, so that I am left screaming in righteous anger from the margins wishing I could do more for the other marginalized voices.

I will question every belief system I have, criticize my heroes, and abandon those who do not stand with me; one way or another. I will share knowledge with those wanting to learn, and practice compassion with those who I see trying. But I will not stop screaming, for my anger is valid. I am screaming to all the cis-gendered men and women in my life. I am screaming to everyone with money. I am screaming to all the white people in my life. I am screaming to all the healthy people. I am screaming to the older women in my life who run away from aggression. To all the white parents. To the white men with money. What will it take for you to care enough to look at yourself and practice radical empathy towards other humans? What will it take? What do I need to do to make it worth your while? How many more people need to die? What will it take to actively give a fuck, and make your life worth something real? Something that truly impacted a planet and a humanity that needed you to care? What will it take?

You’re not doing enough, we are at the margins and we are hurting, and all you are doing is looking away. Our anger and pain is valid, a cry out in pain, a cry so that you will hear us and see us. What will it take for you to see that true bliss is not in ignorance, but in community? What will it take for you to understand equality among humans means disrupting the status quo? Means being political? Means being angry? What will it take for you to educate yourself so you can unlearn all the harmful idiotic rhetoric you keep repeating? What will it take for you to stop getting offended when you are held accountable? What will it take for you to make radical changes in your lifestyle and how you speak? What will it take for you to genuinely, truly care, and not just say you do?

Whose pain? Whose death?

Your words mean nothing. In a bleeding world, your actions are the only acceptable currency. What do you have to give? What can you change? Who can you support that is actively seeking a whole different system? What will it take for you to do this?

He’s not a nice guy, you’re just sick

Content Warning: Sexual abuse, pedophilia, self-harm, suicide

You said happy womxn’s day but did you read my story? This is to anyone who considers themselves a friend of mine, or to any womxn:

It’s the year 2020, and I am not the first nor last to write about this. It will largely be ignored by those who should read it, but I share it in the hopes that those who believe themselves innocent will wake up. Cowards won’t read this and will use the tone of the letter to invalidate the seriousness of the issue. This is to you, who is not a coward, and is willing to see the mistakes they have made, and want to do better. Because if you’re not raging fucking mad, then you’re not paying attention.

I could tell you about the first time I was abused in three acts. How the first time I revealed what happened to me, it was treated like not a big enough deal. The second time, now brainwashed, I too believed it was not a big deal. And the third time, finally, when the act was recognized, it was too late. The damage had been done, and I had grown up perpetuating rape culture* and normalizing pedophilia. I had grown up traumatized, had self-harmed, been suicidal, and grown up as a seemingly healthy adult that was actually living in constant crisis and was not able to sustain themselves.  It was not my fault. What I do with my life now is my responsibility. But so many of my decisions were made as a sick person. As I try to heal myself, I see that you are sick too. I want to point it out, as your friend, in the hopes that you will choose to heal. Give you insight, and information. In my hurt, I hope you will listen to me, and change your behavior.

My abuse was the fault of those in my past.

It was the fault of my abuser, who did not see that he was ill and needed help.
It was the fault of my mother, who did not begin to unlearn rape culture soon enough.
It was the fault of the school, who did not insist I get help.
It was the fault of the society, who perpetuated rape culture and normalized pedophilia.

By the time we finally understood the gravity of the situation, I was a full adult, and had to unlearn all the garbage I had been taught, which, in turn, would make me lose the man I had known to be my dad for 28 years. It is quite a loss, to chose to tear away from the man who raised you –so lovingly, you thought—and replace him with the sick abuser he is. I would have much rather believed that what he had done was not that bad, except it was. It shaped my mind into a contorted self-loathing illness.

Everyone thought he was charming. Absolutely everyone who met him would tell you what a great dad he was, a great husband. So sweet, so soft. “I want to find a man like you” I would say. I wrote him a song about my undying love when he turned 60. Everyone thought he deserved it. Everyone. You would’ve thought so too. You would have thought he was a great man. That he was charming.

You would tell me people are complex, that it is not black and white. You would tell me that it is natural that when I put my full post-pubescent body in his arms, he would linger a little too long, caress a little too slowly. You would tell me, casually, that it is Man’s Nature to be predatory, not hearing yourself perpetuate the damage.

When this one girl tells you that your good friend beat her, you would tell her maybe she deserved it. Maybe it’s her fault. Because you do not want to be accountable.

When this other girl tells you that your boyfriend touched her you would tell her she’s exaggerating. Because you don’t want to have badly chosen your partner.

When her friend tells you she’s the victim of pedophilia you would ask her “what level of pedophilia?” Because you don’t want to confront the abuse in your family.

When the other girl says you “he kissed me while I was drunk” you’ll roll your eyes and say “who hasn’t” because that guy is your boss.

Because he’s charming. Because he’s such a nice guy. Because he’s your friend and let you stay at his house, he bought you drugs, he throws the best parties, he gets you drinks, he has tons of friends. Because he hired you, because he said sorry, because she’s such a nice guy, he didn’t mean it. Because he’s so attractive, because he makes you feel special, because he has money, because he’s soft, because he’s sweet, because he has power, because he makes you feel cool, because you love him, because he’s your family member.

Maybe you’re the victim of abuse too, and this is all you know. Maybe you don’t want to admit that you were abused. Maybe you, like my mother, can’t bare the thought that you chose an abuser. She unlearned her garbage out of love for her child. My mother who was taught by Latino culture, by our own family, by our friends and television. My mother continues to unlearn, and chooses to see, out of love for her children. Out of love for who are you defending your abusive friend or partner? Who are you protecting? The vulnerable? Or the abusers? Why?

I am healing and getting better. I am taking the steps that I need to feel complete, and not broken. I understand now how truly sick we all are. How our culture perpetuates abuse and pedophilia, and therefore we each perpetuate abuse and pedophilia. Whenever we force a child to touch an adult in greeting, we teach them they have no say or agency over their body, that politeness wins over their own physical comfort. Whenever we sexualize children by calling them sexy or insisting they have boyfriends and girlfriends. Whenever we tell a girl she’s exaggerating or don’t believe her. Whenever we defend someone who has been accused repeatedly.

I know all the Americas and Europe are rampant in this. I know in small towns we see it even more. You are guilty in this, because I have been as well. Unless you are actively educating children to have agency over their bodies and actively calling out abusers, not inviting them to your parties, changing your behavior and how you speak, I promise you, you are perpetuating rape culture. If you are latinx, like me, if you’re white or black, you absolutely need to be actively unlearning, because we have all been taught one way or another to defend the abuser.

You will tell me I’m over-exaggerating because I’m hurt. You will ignore this story, like you have so many countless others. You will continue to perpetuate damage. You will no longer be my friend, because my abuse will now also be in your hands. You have the power to believe someone. You have the power to change. You have the power to actively speak against the men in your town that have raped, beat, harassed, another human. You can protect and believe and provide a safe space for survivors of abuse. Your silence is violence. Your hypocrisy is abuse. Be brave, or be weak, like your friend the abuser. I’m sure you’re both charming.

-M

*If you’d like to be more educated and unlearn the bullshit, I am grateful for your courage, and I’ve got your back. Resources below.

If you are a survivor and need resources in your specific country, please write me and I will help you find them.

  1. https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2019/11/compilation-ways-you-can-stand-against-rape-culture
  2. https://www.bustle.com/articles/153805-5-little-ways-you-may-be-perpetuating-rape-culture-without-realizing-it
  3. https://everydayfeminism.com/2014/03/examples-of-rape-culture/
  4. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-21715/12-ways-we-all-contribute-to-rape-culture-without-realizing-it.html
  5. https://www.marshall.edu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/
  6. https://fightthenewdrug.org/exploitation-industry-has-to-do-with-normalizing-pedophilia/
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/well/family/how-to-help-your-child-not-be-a-metoo.html
  8. http://adrielbooker.com/teaching-kids-body-privacy-personal-agency-consent/

 

Privilege makes you ignorant.

I’ve had to unlearn so much garbage that I learned through the “privilege” of “class” and “education” and “race” and so on and so forth.

I recently saw a post by Subversive Thread that hit me at about 6 different angles. It was “A Guide to Coded Language in Education Vol 1.” More specifically, however, it was “Perfect Attendance” that caught my eye, as it was the one I knew and related to.

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I felt like in my latest years learning about human emotions in social settings there’s been words and concepts that I have understood that I didn’t know why I had so easily accepted them into my system. And then under the brilliant work of so many educators, in this case, Subversive Thread, you learn to put it all together.

At the hands of white privilege I was taught ignorance to the reality of racial inequality. At the hands of CIS privilege I was taught ignorance to the reality of gender and identity. At the hands of class privilege I was taught ignorance to the shocking and violent disparity of wealth.
At the hands of able-bodied privilege I was taught ignorance to the body’s natural and true forms and

It was the injustices that I dealt with, my desire for community, and the hands that I was dealt that taught me to look beyond. My own moral code, my own desire made me want to make sure I could see everything. In the name of connection, and Love. That’s what started it all. The quest for Love. The discovery of how to access the Truth of it all. The quest for God, which became the same thing. The quest for Oneness, and the Truest of Truths. It all kept leading to how we treat ourselves. How we treat one another.

I think of privilege like an enormous sword, that if not wielded with intention and humility, cuts people and trees down instead of systems. Privilege has no place in communion, only in systems where there are under-privileged can there be privilege, and therefore there is no place for it in a surviving world.

That along with the never-ending lies of duality are little black holes in my logic and perspective some time. Life sometimes feels like a fool’s errand, but I do so love discovering us, and sharing that connection with other fools, impassioned by humans and our infinite brains.