Black Lives Matter
Thank you for being a reader!
Last week I shared on social media how surprised I was that so many people unsubscribed from my newsletter in one morning after my last post. I also acknowledged that I didn’t know why people unsubscribed. I received a tremendous amount of support, and some people emailed to let me know their unsubscribe was not related to that week’s post. But I did receive this email:
Rohini, I enjoyed your and Angus’s posts very much. But I resent your using the 3 principles platform to promote your political agenda. When I signed up to your emails, I haven’t given you permission to impose your political opinions upon me. It is with great regret that I make a decision to unsubscribe from your emails.
Often if there is one person who takes the time to share something, there are others thinking the same thing who did not take the time to write and voice their opinion.
So I want to clarify that my platform is not a 3P platform. This is where I do my best to be of service and point people to their loving nature. Being anti-racist is a natural extension of that and helping others see how to stand in solidarity, wake up to their blind spots and biases is part of me being of service. I do not believe the love in my heart and my spiritual understanding can be separate from social justice and human rights.
I am learning and growing. Finding my voice. It will not be perfect. I will make mistakes. I will offend people with my blind spots. I hope you educate me. I am okay if you disagree with me. I am also okay if you unsubscribe from my platform.
Here is some additional context, it was hard for me to speak up. In my younger life, I was exposed to overt racism. I was bullied. I was called names. I was ostracized. I went to predominantly white schools. I grew up with a white mother who could not fully understand my experience. I learned to cope by flying under the radar and not speaking up. I was very shy. That conditioning still runs through me and I knew when I have the queasy feeling in my stomach when publishing the post I was acting against it. I hope it encourages you to act against the limiting conditioning that gets in the way of you shining your light and expressing yourself in the world.
I know I do not have the same experience of black Americans, and I know that even with the racism I experienced in my life, I still have plenty of privilege. I experience name-calling and some threats of violence in my life. The kind of racism that victimizes black people, that keeps them from moving forward, or living decently or that gets black people killed is a whole other level of discrimination. Privilege needs to be understood.
I say this for the person who wrote to me and said all of this is over $20. I ask you to educate yourself. This comment is the result of the blinders of white privilege. I am sure the comment was not meant to be racist, but it trivializes what is happening. I have included a list of resources at the end for your consideration. I ask you to do your work to learn how to be an ally and anti-racist.
I also received an email about George Floyd having a criminal record.
“Gentle Giant” Or, who George Floyd is. His death certificate will be published someday, so we will know the cause of death. Not to justify any cruelty of the police! By far! And forged money is a federal crime…
Sent with an attached image alleging to be George Floyd’s police record.
My feedback is that this comment is condoning police brutality and no matter what crime someone may have committed, murder is wrong.
Some other feedback I received is that a message of love is synonymous with a privileged personal growth agenda. That is not what I am pointing to.
I am calling on each one of us to listen to the unconditional and impersonal love in our hearts and let that drive our actions. Looking within is the start. It is not the end. Murder, systemic racism, police brutality, social and racial inequality are the by-product of fear. We do need to bring this into the light. As Martin Luther King said, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Love is required, and I do not profess to know what actions love will call us forward to do. Protesting from love. Supporting from love. Organizing from love. Activism from love. Love can be expressed in an infinite number of ways. I do not want my message of love to be lumped together with inaction.
Angus and I watched Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing” with our eldest daughter this weekend. These two quotes appear at the end.
“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by destroying itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”–Martin Luther King, Jr.
I think there are plenty of good people in America, but there are also plenty of bad people in America and the bad ones are the ones who seem to have all the power and be in these positions to block things that you and I need. Because this is the situation, you and I have to preserve the right to do what is necessary to bring an end to that situation, and it doesn’t mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don’t even call it violence when it’s self- defense, I call it intelligence.”–Malcolm X
The director Lee says in an interview “I did that so that people would think about these issues.” Lee believes that the lives and beliefs of the two men can somehow be meaningfully synthesized.
Both of these statements are true and can coexist.
Love does not necessarily mean without force.
For those who believe the only spiritual approach is to look inward that negates that we have an experience in the world of form. To pretend otherwise is a spiritual bypass. I do not purport to experience myself as formless energy. I experience myself as a separate self, and I have glimpses into the beauty of the impersonal love and the oneness of all things. But I live in this world as a personal self with labels such as brown, immigrant, woman, among others living in a society with other personal selves. Some who have privilege over others.
Looking in the direction of our true nature does not mean we don’t engage in the material world. As the Bhagavad-gita points out:
Everyone must engage in some sort of activity in this material world. But actions can either bind one to this world or liberate one from it.
Just because the material body is temporary does not mean we can’t take action and stand for love.
The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the epic Mahabharata (chapters 23–40 of Bhishma Parva). The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna. At the start of the Dharma Yudhha (righteous war) between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna is filled with moral dilemma and despair about the violence and death the war will cause in the battle against his own kin. He wonders if he should renounce and seeks Krishna’s counsel, whose answers and discourse constitute the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna counsels Arjuna to “fulfill his Kshatriya (warrior) duty to uphold the Dharma” through “selfless action”. From Wikipedia.
In the Gita, there is no clear line between good and bad, right and wrong. The discourse dwells beyond the pairs of opposite. In the end, Krishna simply says to Arjuna “do as you wish.”
My question to you is what do you choose to do? How will you do as you wish? What is your right thing? I can’t help but think of Edmund Burke’s words:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
From Ester Perel, follow these Instagram accounts
Plus my addition of:
From Everlane Black Lives Matter | Resources
From Airbnb Activism and Allyship Guide
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, a regular blogger for Thrive Global, and author of the short-read Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1) available on Amazon. You can get her free eBook Relationships here. Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. She is also the founder of The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and watch her Vlogs with her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website, rohiniross.com.