On Being Black And Spiritual In Today’s America

As a Black man, it’s always really hard to watch another Black person being murdered, but it is equally, if not more, difficult to successfully express the emotion that comes with it. If you stay silent, you are considered a traitor. Not that anyone would say that to your face, but you can just feel it in your bones. It feels wrong! And when you try to talk about it, it’s hard to find words (rational, effortless, simple, and explicable words that don’t hold anger) to describe what you’re feeling.

As a spiritual Black person, it’s even harder to talk about these things.

When you do talk about them, you sound like you are withdrawing yourself from our perceived reality and the excruciating pain that comes with it. It’s probably why a lot of spiritual people refrain from engaging in this kind of discourse. But I think it’s important for us to voice our opinions from a point of view and understanding—that is, the experience of being human. And you can do so while remaining in and bathing in the ineffable love of the universe.

I know this is no time to engage in spiritual gibberish or peace and love garbage. I spent yesterday trying to come up with the perfect post and the right words to express my opinion, but selfishly, those that would make me part of the conversation.

I found those words today in a book that I’m reading.

The story takes place in ancient India, when Alexander the Great had just arrived and tried to (thankfully unsuccessfully) invade the country. Alexander was fascinated by India’s yogis, who he met on many occasions, and he sent his messenger Onesicritus to fetch an Indian teacher named Dandamis. The message to Dandamis was basically to surrender (come to THE GREAT, son of God Zeus and sovereign Lord of all man) or to have his head cut off.

Dandamis, a great yogi, refused to go. In a long, and afront speech (completely new to Alexander, as nobody ever had the courage to insult him), he said these words: “For the groans of the oppressed become the punishment of the oppressor.”

And this is how I feel today. It’s hard for me to explain this phrase literally, but what I do know and want to share is that everything is going to be okay. That’s how I interpret the essence of Dandamis’s words: If you are the oppressor today, you’ll be the oppressed eventually. It’s happening as we speak.

I know this is hard to imagine and frankly bold of me to say, but it’s the truth. Eventually, whether or not it happens in our physical lifetime, the human race will wake up to its true reality that we are all one. There’s no race, no color, no gender, no social status, no religion, nothing in our physical world that separates us. We’re all equal and the same.

Unfortunately, before we come to this reality, and before we gain this basic, free, and natural right to equality, no matter who you are, how you look, and what your sexuality is, we’ll go through many atrocities, murders, and revolutions.

This is no natural way of things, but it certainly isn’t wrong.

There’s no wrong way to grieve or to express frustration. However, there’s a healthy way to deal with it. It is not to say that those experiencing pain, anger, frustration, or hatred should or need to express their feelings differently. All of these emotions are legitimate. Please do not take this as an attack or some sort of support or rationalization for the oppressor’s actions. That being said, we can and definitely should channel this energy and anger into making some real, lasting changes.

I don’t want to make this political, but politics are part of life, and in a way, politics can inspire an awakening in the human experience. Therefore, it has its place here. So I want to offer all of you, our allies and non-allies, my profound gratitude for your part in what I believe to be the beginning of real changes on this planet. I think good things will come from all of this, maybe not now, but eventually, as they did after the 1992 LA riots or the 2005 French riots.

It’s important for us to go beyond the anger and how it is currently being manifested and make long-term, necessary actions that will efficiently bring the change that we so badly need. Again, riots can be a way to do it. They prompted change for causes like slavery, women’s rights, and so many more.

I want to invite all of you, activists or the people who are just fed up with everything, to go deeper in order to see how to effectively make an impact. There are many seats in politics from where real change can come, and these seats need to be grabbed and flipped. Many people in our generation don’t vote, let alone think about running for office.

In my humble opinion, the change that we wish to happen will not until every human is represented in these high places. If you’re not into politics and don’t want to run for office or vote, you are still appreciated and can help in other ways, like through your art (if you’re an artist) or through simple acts of service.

We’re still in a pandemic, and many families, especially people of color, cannot make ends meet. Many have lost their jobs and sources of income. If you can, help. And it can be something as simple as checking on your friends or even offering a smile to a stranger.

These are confusing times, but we can do our little part to come out of this stronger, more loving, and happier. Even if you’re just uncomfortable with what’s happening, you’re doing good. Being uncomfortable with a situation is always a point of start for real progress. The universe hears you.

Before I leave, I want to offer my condolences to the families of the deceased. There’s nothing that can compare to the loss of a loved one. I hope you find peace and happiness again, as I’m sure your child/parent/sibling/partner/friend would want you to.

To my Black brothers and sisters, I want to tell you that it gets better—it always does. We’ve survived the most cruel things and we’re still here. We will survive this as well. There’s a reason why we were built to be resilient. There’s hope, and you must not give up.

To our allies, thank you. Thank you for being already on the path of enlightenment. Thank you, because there are no other words in the dictionary in any language to express not only the gratitude that we have for you, but the courage it takes to go after a system that benefits you the most. There’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, and it is amazing to want to share your privilege, especially when for you that can mean going against your families and friends who might not share the same views. Thank you.

This isn’t an easy subject. To be honest, no matter what I say, write, or do, nothing will take away the pain and suffering that people are experiencing right now. Nothing I say or do will bring them the satisfaction that they need and deserve.

However, I hope I brought a fresh perspective that resonates with some part of you. Because if one thing is real, it’s knowing that we all want to experience something different, something happier, and that always comes from pain and suffering.

Be safe out there. Namaste!

About the author
I speak 4 languages. Follow Mohamed on Instagram or read more articles from Mohamed on Thought Catalog.

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