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Oppressed and Oppressor Come From The Same Root

Spirituality often amplifies notions of love. However, when faced with extreme arrogance, horrifying brutality, and violent uprisings that do much harm – how then do you show love?

Here are two perspectives from ancient living lineages in opposite ends of the globe. The monastic Zen Buddhist traditions from Vietnam, and the Shipibo peoples from deep forests of the Peruvian Amazon. Two cultures from polarities of the world with different languages, beliefs, and ways of being. Yet, surviving and thriving after thousands of years and continuing to help and heal peoples through sharing their way of life.

Plum Village comes from the tradition of Zen Buddhism from 2,600 years ago – popularised more recently by the late Thich Nat Hanh during the Vietnam-American war. Notions of suffering, exile, and pain are intimate in this approach of engaged buddhism. This spiritual practice is not a by-pass to only feel good. Rather, a leaning into listening of the suffering, to hear whats beneath it.

The Shipibo have lived in the Amazonian rainforest for millennia, and continue to have a thriving spiritual practice working closely with strong medicinal plants and diets deep in the jungles. They welcome people internationally into their jungle homes to do healing work that the world needs today.

So, I asked the monastics of Plum Village : “How do you love the hands that do harm?” When there is plenty of sacred rage, intense hatred present – How is it even comprehendible to show any form of love or care to those people? My interpretation of their answer is:

Loving so deeply, that you wish for the oppressor to be healed from the generational pain and suffering they experienced, and thus, the pain they are causing. Loving so deeply, that you desire for the oppressor – freedom, as much as you desire it for the oppressed. Loving so deeply, that you embrace that the liberation of the oppressed and oppressor, as one in the same.

While, I asked the the elder master Shipibo healers – Why is there such deep roots of evil in the world? What are the origins of such dark hatred?

The Maestra shared that it too, is from the plants. Not all plants are there to heal and help. Some of them have alternative tendencies of harm. My interpretation of its message is that – the polarities of the world are what keep it in balance, on this plane of reality, no matter how difficult it is to accept. The romanticisation, legalisation, and romanticising of plant medicines have also created further polarisation by the West, through it’s tendency of divorcing it’s indigenous ceremonial traditions, and socio-political contexts.

It is a repetitive yet truthful saying – when there is good, there is bad, when there is high there is low, when there is light there is dark, when there is creation there is destruction. In this earth we live in, polarity is a dance that we have to contend with, seek our place, and balance it’s equilibrium amidst the chaos. How do we find our place in a system that is driven towards extractive tendencies? How do we live when living in itself requires us to participate in capitalism? What forms of expression does loving both oppressed and oppressor look like?

One common thread of both traditions is a deep connection to ancestors, of blood, of land, and of spirit. Our ancestors have gone through catastrophe and crisis, they know this stuff of collective dark suffering. If we can find ways to continuously connect to this ancient memory through ancestral practices that are close to our blood and body, that can be a pathway forward. Within this path lays the ancient emergence that may help us to heal the dis-ease of modernity in today’s world. In our bodies are the intelligent memories of our evolutionary ancestors – we have to work together. In the myriad of ancestral practices from meditation, to mediumship, to gardening, to cooking, to food offerings, and tomb visits; in whichever form feels right and closest; seeking counsel with our ancestors would be a core anecdote and pathway to forge us ahead. It is within the land that knows the the stories of multiple extinctions, it is within the spirits that reside in our own bodies that can feed our soul, and it is within our generational wisdom that we can be guided into action.

Imagine a world where we can grow our capacity to love, so large, so deep, amidst the unbearable heart break and generational wounds – that there is still a love so astronomical that it’s boundlessness is so infinite it goes beyond the atmospheres of the earth, and of the milky ways. A love that makes including both the oppressed and oppressor seem small, compared to the larger evolution of life.

While this is not an attempt to place a balm or plaster to the current destructive issues of living within a dominant colonialist-capitalist system. This is simply an offering to shift the was we perceive through stories. Imagine that we when we collectively shift the way we see – it affects the the way we live, the way we work, and the way we act. A shift that is so necessary in the state of our world today. May we come from a place where we are not pulled down by hatred. Rather, we are pulled down to be closer to the earth, to listen to her cries, her songs, and her stories. Then, to act accordingly, from a place of deep listening and being with.

May we come from a place where we are not pulled down by hatred. Rather, we are pulled down to be closer to the earth, to listen to her cries, her songs, and her stories. Then, to act accordingly, from a place of deep listening and being with.

May the seeds of love be watered over the seeds of hatred. May we pray for all oppressed peoples, and pray for all people who oppress. May we all find the balance of polarities within ourselves, so we can create that reality in this life. May we leave a legacy of liberation for all – we must try in this life, as the next life will remember it so, and continue the journey on our behalf.

Further Readings

Ancestry, Earth Wisdom, Perspectives

Embodiment, Guidance & Resources, Holistic Health

Earth Wisdom, Embodiment

perspectives

Ancestry, Earth Wisdom, Perspectives

Embodiment, Guidance & Resources, Holistic Health

Earth Wisdom, Embodiment

Guidance & Resources

Ancestry, Earth Wisdom, Perspectives

Embodiment, Guidance & Resources, Holistic Health

Earth Wisdom, Embodiment

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