Jaime Meyer of Drumming the Soul Awake was kind enough to give me permission to publish his excellent “Advice for Survival in These Wild Times.” If you’re still reeling from any of the many shockers, chaotic energies and/or collective suffering and revelations, Jaime offers some corrective perspective: if you’re too zoomed in, zoom out!
Dear Aghast Humans,
Whether you find yourself wanting to hide or wanting to fight, whether you feel enraged and engaged, or stunned and paralyzed, there is a single thing you need in this wild time: power from a source deeper and broader than the energies of fear that are whipping around so virulently.
To be effective agents of compassion, to be spiritual warriors, we need to be able to zoom in – see the specific kinds of suffering caused by systems. People inside the power structure, the beneficiaries of the system, often do not zoom in (because they really do not have to) and they literally do not see the suffering, and it seems “made up” to them. Their privileged position allows them to be zoomed slightly out all the time. So zooming in breaks through that layer of resistance. Sometimes we zoom in out of choice, but more often we are made to zoom in through a crisis that cracks our world open. So much of what is happening right now is that so many people are being forced to zoom in.
But we also must be able to zoom out – to see longer historical arcs, and see the even longer and less tangible arc of Spirit. Remember that our political system is designed to change every few years – that is part of its brilliance. Remember that freedom of speech really does apply to all – even assholes who are so goddamned wrong. Remember we survived Nixon and G.W. Bush, and McCarthy, and J. Edgar Hoover. Remember that the mid-term election process has already begun.
And remember the arc of Spirit: remember that human consciousness is developing- more slowly than we wish, but it is inexorable. It’s a big planet made up of people at all levels of spiritual development. Like it or not, we are experiencing this thing we call life together. And the earth, too, is on her own soul’s journey, and each of us are participating in her journey. There are many more unseen layers of reality than there are visible ones. Remember the shamanic motto: things are never just what they appear to be- Spirit is always at work initiating us into the next place. Try this truly challenging shamanic mantra: Fear is never the appropriate response. Really- try meditating with that phrase for 20 minutes. Even though it’s very difficult, try to remember that the power of Love outlasts all, and binds all together.
Staying zoomed in all the time to the unceasing flow of specifics delivered by Facebook and Twitter is inviting yourself to be devoured by anger and grief, and that makes you ineffective as a warrior, change agent, lover, parent, artist – on and on. I can convince myself that staying zoomed in, staying in a state of rage and fear, proves I am committed to a cause. I can believe that others who aren’t as angry as me are less committed. But anger is not commitment, its just anger. Zooming out – coming into contact with powers greater than Trump, greater than the immediate, greater than the human – this is how you cleanse yourself and re-fill your powers. Its not just a good thing to do – it’s life saving.
So make room in your life for a spiritual discipline – any discipline that truly helps you zoom out. Make room in your life to be with your spiritual tribe to do spiritual work together.
I was in the Amazon jungle on election night, actually in a deep ceremony. The next day I began an eight-day period of fasting and prayer and ingesting the next in a series of plants that help me hold more power, to be more effective as a healer and teacher. In a half-dreamy state one day, here is what the plant spirit said to me:
What did Trump promise? To bring the wrecking ball to structures that need to come down. What is the message that resonated? No more business as usual. What does he display? Confidence without shame. These are the energies, these are the messages of this time. Putting aside politics, demagoguery, personality and fear, what would happen if you applied the positive aspects of this message to your own life? What would your life be like if you said, “No more poisonous business as usual – no more tolerating powers that poison me. I’m inviting the wrecking ball to take out that structure that I hate, that encases me in smallness. Without shame, I step into a new structure.