Thursday, April 23, 2009
Power of Consciousness
In the work place of life there is great chaos, turmoil, and bad vibes. It is my hope to see people staying ahead of the game in their everyday workplace culture. We must not allow bad vibes to get us down. We must realize, believe and know that we have control over our emotions, and no matter how angry someone else may get us , we must be aware that when we respond to their bad vibes with bad vibes we are demeaning ourselves. It must become our modes operandi to stay clear of that negative energy within the workplace of life and choose to respond in good viby-ness.
In life one may not have positional power, economic or financial power, but any and every human being across the world has the blessing of consciousness power. This power is the power that Steve Biko propelled through his movement of Black Consciousness. Steve Biko told black people in the South African situation of legalized racism and under the systemic evils of Apartheid, that they were beautiful and wonderful. This message translates from consciousness of mind into the practicality of loving yourself as it relates to one’s nose, lips and buttocks and knowing that one is beautiful. It is consciousness power that Patch Adams had- watch the movie and just look into how he responded to people's negative vibes.
When you have the power of consciousness you are not afraid or feel intimidated by anyone or any circumstance. Consciousness power is however not a haughty power that seeks to place you over and above another, for at the centre of the power of consciousness (POC) lies the wonderful value of Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu- A person is a person through other people! POC allows you to see the human being even when the human being that you see may be distorted or acting with bad vibes. POC will allow you to humanize the discussion between I and the other.
POC will have you working with creativity and commitment even with the one who hurts you. You are not a weak walk over but strong in countering for example, corporate power plays of power over. People who choose to use 'power of position’, 'power of money’, as power over to dictate-deframe-demise-destroy & dehumanise. POC will allow you to make a play on the 'chess board' of life which defuses people who use power over tactics to dominate and dictate. You can apply POC with Gandhi style power of consciousness.
Gandhi resorted to a fast in the midst of Religious war , which caused people to stop for at least a time because he was fasting committed to going to a point of death if they would stop their warring . Gandhi's action was rooted in the POC and satyagraha- love force. Gandhi’s work may not have resulted in ultimate success , for upon Gandhi's death Pakistan became a independent country from India . But one cannot deny the power of consciousness, and the mystical and wondrous work that one can do of easing the pains of life and the chaos of the workplace - when one chooses to embrace POC.
POC can be seen in the actions of Madiba (Nelson Mandela) when he enacted the first act of reconciliation on Robben Island at the lime stone quarry of befriending young white male soldiers who were put in place to regulate and control him and other political comrades. Madiba found a way to reach the soul of these young men by treating them as human beings. Madiba refused to loose his humanity to the volatile situation political imprisonment. Madiba reached out and found a human being where others would just see a young white male racist . He found a 16 year old son that needed to be mentored. Madiba can see the shortcomings of our democracy and the turmoil of our country even in his life time but again one cannot deny the power of consciousness.
In 1999 I was in a small town called Eberswalde, former East Germany not too far outside Berlin. I was apart of a social justice theatre, ministry and youth work project “ithemba”- meaning hope . We were scheduled to do a program in this town, which was said to be built by Nazis. We had about a 100 young people who came to the program. In and amongst the group of young people was group of young men who were apparently an active Nazi youth group. They were obviously informed about ithemba, a team of young people who addressed reconciliation as it relates to matters of racism and other-ism through the arts of drama, dance and spoken word.
It was clear that this group of young men came to disrupt the program. But we stayed the path , beginning the evening and informing all people who attended to find a seat. We began with our opening dance and introductions. Back stage our team committed to prayer that would remove fear from allow us to journey on with boldness in presenting the message that we came to bring. We came to the time of our production "Images of Reality”, which pointed to the ugly social construct and reality of racism rearing its ugly head around the world. There were continued remarks hurled and slight disruptions which made it difficult in a setting for a drama and dance production , but as a team we journeyed on.
We came to the end, where as the leader of the team I was just so happy to know that within a few minutes we would be done. In my mind I was looking forward to us as a team getting the 'hell out of the hall and the town”. Away from what was already playing out in my mind as projected danger to my team. We as a team pressed on through the program and decided together from the get go that we would stay and deliver our message, within the midst of potential danger and disruptions. We were anxious and possibly on the border of fear , but we stayed the path knowing that we were not given a spirit of fear but a spirit of love and power and sound mind. So our work was done we could rap up now and leave with haste.
I had the microphone and was making closing remarks. I knew I would our team to say goodbyes to those who came and were open to us, but for the purposes of our safety I knew I was going to get us out as quickly as possible. As I closed off the program a boldness came over me . A power that moved from having the audacity to stay the path and show outward boldness, to a power to communicate further a message of "versonung und vergebung"- meaning reconciliation and forgiveness . A power came over me, in me , through me and from the centre of my being that propelled me further to communicate with passion, freedom and love. It was a power of consciousness.
As I was speaking I was well aware of the group of young men who were still being politely disruptive, but a moment came when a young was in the action of standing and about to shout something out. Just then another young man, who in my memory had a black jacket on, from a seated position extended his right arm across the chest of the young who was about to stand up . The young man was plopped right back into his seat. The young man's actions from a seated position caused a hush amongst the group of young men who were being politely disruptive. The hush was felt in the room, the atmosphere quieted. I had the full attention of every person, and propelled our message of "versonung und vergebung" further.
The program was over, and we were quite glad that we got through without any outrageous acts of violence, even though there was times when power went out, a banners removed and derogatory remarks hurled. So the polite disruptions were polite so far as not having caused any personal harm to any one person. But the danger was felt, and people who were open to hearing from us were equally captured by the thick tension.
The power I felt however drove me further. I asked to speak to the young man who silenced the room through his action. His name is Martin. I went with my fellow team mate who was German, serving as a translator. Martin and I spoke, and he expressed his animosity and hate for "auslanders" meaning foreigners. He had all his reasons for his attitudes, thoughts and behaviour.
I countered his arguments for with simple remarks such as "do you know we have Germans in my country as well, should I be saying like you get them out because this is not their land." I made remarks that our skin colour may be different but beneath our skin runs red blood. Our discussion continued on . I was afforded a moment to engage Martin about the rootedness of his hate. I asked questions following a path of countering his arguments, as to why he hated people who look like me, people of a darker hue- foreigners.
My soul investigative questions lead to a point of Martin communicating his personal hurts and pains. I learned of loss of his dad at a young age and being imprisoned in a juvenile institution. A reality and life caught in vicious cycles and complexity of one evil leading to another. We spoke emotionally about the loss of economic opportunities because of others, meaning foreigners who have taken away employment opportunities from his family. He pressed on and we listened, until he shed a tear that presented a moment where I joined my young friend with a tear as well. I am sure my fellow team mate was emotional too. In this moment Martin and I came to a place of understanding the rootedness of pain and anger, but equally to a place of understanding that what ever the circumstance no reason should allow one to dehumanize thee other. No right should give one a right to inflict harm upon another.
Martin and I shared a moment of coming together where we were both human in that moment. We were both young brothers in that moment; we were both children of God. The power of consciousness is a wonderful human and God given blessing to engage the disruptions and chaos's that we see in our worlds arrange. May you and I go about our work and ministry in the chaos and chess board game of life causing thee other to move in a direction toward realization of humanity.
May the power of consciousness as informed and impacted by our faith hope and love cause us to know "I am because we are ". When the I and the other are not at a place of being we , if there is an us and them social construct , even if one is a so called Nazi and the other is a so called justice activist - we can live to see people them together and be human. Like Bishop Tutu reminds us "My humanity is bound up in yours."
Grace and Peace!