The Unenlightened Society

In honor of Trayvon’s life and all other murders based on hatred….

Liberation is not won only in deep exploration or just seeing racism, sexism, or homophobia in closed quarters of study and meditation. It cannot be experienced through introspection alone or waiting for others to point out places of oppression. This work for everyone must come by openly acknowledging norms, desires, biological myths, and practices that fuel racial, sexual and gender based hatred. There is a collective liberation between us that requires a society to go within to dissolve the hatred that has claimed our lives. A society must reconcile the harm within and without. It must say, “Ah, we have hurt people after having covered up our mess for so long.” A society must learn to see. An unexamined society is an unenlightened one.

We cannot be an enlightened society without facing ourselves. A society that survives examines itself. It integrates its own internal beliefs with its external actions. A society cannot change itself by going over to another society to fix or save itself. When we do such a thing we lose an opportunity to witness ourselves as a society. We lose a chance to transform the fear and oppression we impose on each other. Our essential human nature as peace, truth, awareness, and love is lost. We cannot exalt our rage over our pain for fear of losing strength and momentum. If we do, we become violent in order to maintain that strength. At the same time being frightened of our rage while feeling only our sadness creates an inner violence or a depressed society. A society that is fearful of examination and exploration cannot say it trusts in God. It cannot say that it values every living being.

I imagine being part of a society that reclaims its power to see, to listen, and to go through the chaos of changing the familiar. I imagine a society that uses its humanly divine potential to truly eliminate hatred without the need for protests or legislative acts but because we value every life. I imagine a time when we eliminate war and poverty simply because it is counter to our wellness. I imagine leaders that can say it is time to mourn, to be still, and to rebuild integrity as people. I expect one day we will ask ourselves, “What have we been taught?”

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

July 14, 2013

Posted in dharma-notes
3 comments on “The Unenlightened Society
  1. liberationnow says:

    thank you for this, such sad feelings I have this morning

    ________________________________

  2. Sunflower Fields says:

    Thank you, Zenju, for your profound and profoundly beautiful words.

  3. Monza Naff says:

    Thank you, yet again, Earthlyn, for your profound wisdom and practical advice for us who practice the meditative path AND the social justice path. I am continually grateful for you Presence and your loving attention to the world in struggle. I send my abiding love to you!

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