A good friend of mine moved away a few months ago. One evening right before dinner, I thought of how I missed him and decided to call his cell phone. He answered and it was so great to hear his voice. We spoke for sometime, at which point I said that I was enjoying summer because it was still light out. He said, “What are you talking about, it’s dark?”. We went back and forth as it got heated, each raising our voice trying to convince the other that we were right. The conversation devolved into calling each other “stupid”, “blind” and “clearly ignorant”. I now hate my friend for the awful things he said to me, because I know that I was right – it was still light outside. I felt betrayed by how I didn’t realize how ignorant he was and that he actually dared to believe it was dark outside when it was clearly still light. I have since started wondering which other of my friends that I think share my reality, actually don’t.
Of course, neither of us is ignorant enough to not realize how timezones work. But what if we didn’t? Not that long ago people were excommunicated, chastized and even killed for believing what we now know to be the truth about the roundness and rotation of the earth.
Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Do you get upset by “ignorant” people that don’t wear masks. Or do feel agitated by your “sheep” friends “being duped” by how the government’s shutting down the economy? Do you get riled up by friends that share posts about how they have nothing to apologize for around racism or others claiming that everyone that looks like you is a racist? I can relate to all of this because I have had similar thoughts and they are occurring more frequently.
We live in a time of targeted content. Algorithms that feed us news, articles and social media content are created to show us what we want. Since we look for evidence that we are right, this plays right into our humanity. This helps to solidify our thoughts into beliefs and then finally into identity. As thoughts, they are somewhat fluid, like the waves of the ocean that come and go. But as they solidify into beliefs and identity, we build on them – like building a house on a foundation, then adding furniture, glassware and wall hangings and then moving in. At this point, having the foundation of the house shaken or broken is intense and possibly traumatic. We suffer as our identities and underpinnings of our self-worth are questioned by others and by ourselves. We react to regain the feeling of safety by convincing others or judging them or withdrawing. None of this actually works because it further isolates us and just has us feeling less safe.
But there are effective ways to move beyond these protection-based behaviors, to engage and reconnect, to reconcile ourselves with our safety and our community. Meenal and I lead priceless workshops to help people do this through what we call Third Consciousness. Third Consciousness blends expanded perspectives, understanding, acceptance and curiosity, while it relies on the wisdom from your whole body.