In this episode I discuss the way suffering grows if we are not careful. How this is particularly noticeable and important in times of open unrest.
I also mentioned that I would share some podcasts from people of color in the show notes. I’m adding the two I specifically referenced here, but will be adding more later too.
Read the whole transcript below.
Welcome to the Happy You Are Here podcast.
In this episode I’m going to take a detour from what I was expecting to be posting. I actually was going to be posting the season finale of this season of heavier here, but I think that this is an important time to address some things that are going on right now.
I want to start off by saying, if you can, and if you’re not already, you should be seeking out some voices of people in people of color that are experiencing what is going on right now in a way that I can never be able to address.
I can have an educated view on the systematic history that has brought us to where we’re at and the changes that continue to not happen and have opinions on all kinds of things. That doesn’t matter because I’m not living the experience of a person of color. I have a lot of empathy for the people that are.
I think that it’s important to pass attention onto them. There are going to be a list of different people in the show notes and a few episodes of other podcasts that are related to the subjects that are flaring up right now, but always exists.
One is young Pueblo who was an activist. He still does some activism. He’s an Instagram figure where he writes poetry and different things. Mostly about mindfulness and how we can heal ourselves so that we’re bringing better versions of ourselves to the table when we’re trying to solve these big issues.
There’s also an episode with this one’s a little controversial it’s with Daryl Davis. You might’ve seen him in the news. He’s the black man who has befriended a lot of KKK members. Over 200 members of the Klan have left the Klan and left behind the white supremacist ideologies that they had followed so intensely through befriending them. The controversy comes from him being very open to open dialogue with everybody, including people that, he might, and we might, find their opinions disgusting.
That’s how he’s been able to do what he’s done. By letting people talk and letting people express themselves. Then providing his own perspective and his own information in very clever, calm, and intelligent ways. Rather than just yelling to people or trying to silence them.
That’s an unpopular way to do things. Especially in today’s world where it can be somewhat dangerous to give people big platforms. In my opinion, it’s more dangerous to be shutting people down because you’re just giving more fuel to the fire that there’s some kind of conspiracy trying to keep them down. It’s giving fuel to the fire that there’s some kind of war going on.
So those two episodes and some other people are listed down below in the show notes. Please either after this episode go listen to those because those are much more powerful than anything that I’m about to say.
I’ve actually wanted to do an episode about mindful activism. Because I think it’s really important that it’s so easy to get caught up in the anger and the emotions while we are fighting for things that rightfully people are angry about. But for a lot of reasons, the anger and lack of maybe self-awareness… people can be self aware and still give into their impulsive anger in dangerous ways. Especially when in a crowd and when being blatantly– what they feel like– attacked by police. Even on the other end being a police officer and not being mindful of the way that your own emotions are ruling your actions. Which can be especially dangerous when you have the ability to really hurt people. This is true for all sides of the puzzle here.
I haven’t found, or haven’t locked down a guest that can articulate those things in a way that I think is valuable to share. But that is definitely on the radar of something that I’m trying to figure out for the next season of this podcast.
It’s been happening for the entire history of our country. It’s really been happening throughout history period. There’s always been injustice. There’s always been oversteps from the people in power and the masses have to stand up eventually and say, “This is it’s enough. And we need things to change.”
That’s exactly how our country even came into existence. But I think there’s stronger ways to do things than burning buildings and being so aggressive. Not to say that it’s really my place to even tell people that they should and can do. I would never say that they can’t do that. It’s I think it’s important that especially when there’s violence against people where there’s beatings and things like that, people need to face consequences.
That’s where the focus should be. Making sure that we’re keeping that in check. Whether it’s keeping your fellow protesters that might be turning towards rioting in check. Making sure there’s appropriate police response in ways that are focused on violence and not just people that happen to be there.
There’s just so many things that are being mishandled in my opinion. I’ve seen it. I saw it back in the Occupy Pittsburgh and Occupy Wall Street days. That was much more tame, honestly, because the police weren’t the enemy in that specific case.
I wouldn’t call them the enemy right now either. They definitely are the focal point of the protest. So that makes things particularly difficult to navigate right now.
The main thing that I did want to discuss here is the idea of contagious suffering. A lot of people have conceptualized this in a lot of different ways. One of those ways is karma.
Karma is pretty often– I think– misunderstood. People are welcome to disagree with me on that. I don’t think that it’s necessarily that you carry some kind of tabulation of your wrongdoings into the next life or into the rest of your life or whatever. It’s just that when I am suffering and I act out of suffering in a way that is harmful, I create more suffering.
Then when that person or those people act out of that suffering and do something that again is harmful and creates more suffering. Then that wheel becomes contagious.
That’s where the wheel of karma goes beyond what you can control. The wheel comes back around to you and you have the option to respond in a way that is informed by your suffering, or you have a way to respond, that is from a higher version of yourself– an idealized version of yourself– whatever you want to conceptualize that as. That is how you break that cycle.
That is how you break the cycle of negative energy.
How you break the cycle of this aggression and hatred and anger and fear.
When you are presented with those things and you would totally be justified to respond in anger or to respond in fear. If you can transcend those impulses, that is where the contagion of suffering stops and the wheel of karma stops. It takes millions and billions of little actions like that before we’ll see the world that we all want to see here on earth.
I think that in a lot of ways, in a lot of places we’ve already seen this happen, we’ve seen societies turn more peaceful over time in certain areas and people that have this kind of ideal within their religious principles or their ethical principles. Then there’s people that don’t, and places that maybe don’t focus on this part of their religious teachings, even though it’s right there in front of them.
It doesn’t even need to be religious. It’s very much a practical thing.
You can look at it logically and say, “If I respond to fear in anger or aggression, I am causing the other person to feel fear. And then they will respond in anger and aggression and that wheel will just continue.
And not only continue to one person to one person, to one person or be one person to two people, to four people, to eight people, to 16 people, to hundreds of people, especially now with the way that the internet is being mindful of how we share things on the internet.”
I fall into this trap all the time, but I try to be mindful of the way that I’m communicating and the things that I’m sharing. It’s particularly difficult in this time because, how do you stay mindfully peaceful and stay transcending those emotions when they’re so heated and, and rightfully they are agitated.
We can look at the people that are the parents and the family members of the central figures that have been murdered.
Their killers have not been brought to justice or the justice has been unsatisfying.
Most of those families are asking people, begging people, to not be committing violence at the scale that it’s happening in the name of those that have been. taken from us.
I think it’s important to listen to those voices.
It’s those people of color specifically that are experiencing these things. If they’re able to find a little bit of transcendence of those emotions, then there’s no reason the rest of us can’t do that.
There’s ways that you can peaceably protest and there’s ways that you can even break the law and peacefully protest unjust laws without harming anynoe. For example, many would suggest that these curfews are a way to control the population in an unjust way. I feel that if the issue at hand was different then a lot of people that are coming out against the protesters– which there a lot of people are lumping together, protestors and rioters, and I’m not even going to go into that– but if the issue was the government trying to take away your guns and telling you, you can’t protest over that. I would think you have a right to be angry and to break the certain laws in a peaceful way. Those laws are that you feel your rights are being violated.
It’s interesting because just a few months ago we had people protesting over being told that they have to stay home. Asking people to stay home is one thing. Social distance and everything, and being respectful of each other and our safety. Forcing that issue in the way that goverments did was very mishandled. It caused a lot of backlash and those people that were out protesting, which in many ways was illegal due to the stay at home orders.
They’re now turning around and saying, “Oh, these people that are protesting now, there’s something wrong with that.”
We’re all afraid of the same thing. We’re afraid of a government that oversteps its control of us and takes away our freedom. If you’re going to go out to a protest and stay past curfew. If you’re gonna go out to protest and you don’t want to get in trouble. You can still go to the protest.
Follow the laws. Stay off the streets that aren’t blocked off. Stay away from the crowds that are agitating the police. You can still show your support out there. If you do want to say past curfew or you want to be out on the street– and I think you’re totally justified in that as a protest — accept the fact that you’re probably going to be arrested . Be prepared for that because that. At that point the real protest is being willing to take that sacrifice of being arrested. That is your martyrdom towards the thing that you’re protesting. This is not just in relation to this specific issue. I think this is relation to a lot of different things.
People have the right to be angry. We need to use that anger in a way that will actually bring about solutions. I keep seeing people harken back to the civil rights movement and how the civil rights act was passed after six days of rioting and burning after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Which is obviously horrible and obviously the outcome was desirable. But the thing is, we had an administration that was already somewhat receptive to those issues. We had legislation that was ready to be passed that was probably not going to be passed otherwise, but there were already solutions on the table that Congress was considering.
Right now we really don’t have that. We have an administration that is not only not receptive, they are antagonistic towards this movement. This is where the local level can really make a difference.
We just had this happen in Omaha where a horrible thing happene. The person that committed this crime– this killing; however the court decides and the jury decides that the case goes. It should go before a jury for that decision. But the district attorney just let the case go and let the person go without considering all the evidence. For a lot of people it was just the blatant disregard for justice. You can only imagine how, if this person that committed that crime was not a business owning white man, things would have went differently.
This person had a criminal record. This person did not have a license to carry the firearm that he used. On so many different cases you would be justified to be angry about what is happening. People are taking the steps they need to take to force a grand jury in this case.
That is the kind of ways to use that aggression in a way that will actually hopefully make a difference. By getting involved in local politics, because local elections and local politics is where a lot of this stuff actually can change and can make a difference. Still people play lip service to local politics and local issues, but don’t actually get involved in any meaningful way.
This is all to say that it’s important to be able to practice equanimity in times of so much fear. So much anger. No matter how justified and also accept sometimes it’s not your place. You know, like in this case, I think in a lot of ways, it’s not my place to be proposing the solutions that need to be proposed.
There are a lot of solutions being proposed out there that I, fully throw my support behind. I think that it’s so easy to lump people together, whether you’re lumping the entire Black Lives Matters movement together or any movement. It’s unfair to do that.
We need to be aware of our own biases, aware of our own privilege, aware of our own thought processes, and aware of our own emotions. We need to so that no matter where we stand in regards to what is happening, we can all look at this and say, “There is something unjust going on.” That is primarily the lack of accountability and the lack of consequences for actions that lead to a disproportional death rate and killing of people of color in our country. You can talk all day about what the reasons behind that are, but it doesn’t matter is because the numbers are there. It happens. It would blow my mind if you have lived in this country for 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, whatever years, and you haven’t seen this personally.
Potentially I know a lot of people that live in rural areas literally have not seen this. In a rural area, you can see it with people that are in poverty. It’s not always racially motivated, but it is still this subconscious targeting of certain groups of people and also a total disregard for how a certain group of people are treated by the authorities.
A lack of ability for people to do anything about it. For example, with police officers: A “good cop” is not even able to call out or to report a “bad cop ” . It’s been happening all over the country. Right now, it’s happening. People getting fired for trying to stand up against someone in their own precinct.
There’s laws that support this and unions that support this. These are all pretty powerful issues and there’s so much going on and reasons why this has happened over time. So much of it is just this idea that we’re at war with our own people in this country. It’s carried over from times that many think have passed. But it’s still here.
A lot of government agencies have had that ideology for quite a while. It’s important to be able to have empathy for the people that are facing this down every single day while maintaining a sense of equanimity. While we feel hopeless and helpless and doing maybe the little bit that we can do. That’s supporting and amplifying voices of people of color that have ideas that resonate with us. It’s listening and educating ourselves and not being so stuck in our current mindset. Understanding that just because there’s misreporting here or an agenda being pushed there that doesn’t disprove the entire reason for this movement.
Hopefully eventually we start to find solutions to these problems and stop seeing these as issues. Unfortunately don’t see happening anytime soon. I think there will be progress, but it’ll be slow progress. There’s always new things will come up.
New injustices will happen and we need to figure out ways that we as a society and as individuals can face these without giving into the worst instincts that humans can have.
That starts with you.
It starts with each one of us learning to practice an awareness of our own minds and the awareness of our own emotions so that when those emotions are flaring up we have tools to stay in any cool and balanced state of mind.
That’s all I have to say. Again, view the show notes down below wherever you’re listening and check out some of those links that I share, those are really valuable and really insightful conversations by people of color that have lived the injustices that we see and I think share some positive opportunities to move forward in this, in this world that is always complicated.
Right now it’s in our faces, how complicated and how easy it is to fall into this space of feeling helpless and anger and all of the emotions that come along with that.
Thank you for listening. This is Happy You’re Here and I’m happy you’re here listening. I’ll see you potentially next week, maybe the week after with the season finale.
Then we’ll take a little break and be coming back with a bunch of really, really interesting interviews later in the year. I’m excited for that and I am happy to still be alive and to be able to be in the state of mind and I just hope that progress can happen in this country and in this world.
I hope that people can learn to treat each other better and to accept that other people are suffering and accept suffering in a way that will not continue to spiral out of control on any level. Because it happens on all levels of society. Thanks again for listening.