Got Privilege? Do This
As stated way back in the seventh issue of this project (and, inexplicably, again, five months later), I am not a fan of talking about privilege in the political sense. At all. When we believe that we are here for a reason, the privilege(s) we do or don’t have are simply experiences, the raisons d'être of our lives as eternal beings in human bodies on planet Earth. There are no accidents. But so long as the concept of privilege is a thing in our political zeitgeist and a burr in my political saddle, let’s look at what we can do, conscious politics practitioner, starting today, with the privileges we enjoy.
One dictionary.com definition of privilege is “the unearned and mostly unacknowledged societal advantage that a restricted group of people has over another group.” (Good enough, but I think it need not be so much about groups.) I dare say that if you are an American adult reading these words, you have privilege. Probably privileges. Identify them. Know them. All of them. And use them. Can I help you understand what that means? Happy to.
Identifying a privilege just requires some inquiry. Off the top of my head: Do you know how to read and write? Do you have a doctor who knows your name? Do you get around easily from place to place? Can people pronounce your name? Can you afford your life? Do you have a loving family? Are you well-fed? Do you sleep every night in a warm, comfortable, cozy bed of your own? Have you ever been surprised with a party on your birthday? Are you readily accepted in all the settings into which you walk? Can you hear? Are you pursuing your happiness? Do you have some place to be today? This week? Privileges/experiences/privileges/experiences are limitless, yes?
To demonstrate something about how to use our privileges, let’s randomly pick one: I sleep every night in a warm, comfortable, cozy bed of my own. Excellent. Now, let’s talk about what a conscious person with that experience — that privilege — would do with it, stipulating that anything that flows from here is a way to interpret conscious practice, not the way.
…perseverating about privilege — and possibly feeling guilty or otherwise uncomfortable about it — perpetuates that old favorite of the old consciousness: the have-and-have-not sweepstakes.
They would, perhaps, first acknowledge it as something not everyone enjoys, after which they’d express gratitude for being able to enjoy it. Thank you for the experience of sleeping each and every night in a warm, comfortable, cozy bed of my own. Indeed, the gratitude would be habitual, prayerful. And it would likely deepen. Thank you for the profoundly grounding experience of sleeping each and every night in a warm bed of my own. They would look for and then relish, magnify, and exaggerate every single feeling associated with having what they have. I not only feel grounded but also quite safe and secure when I crawl into my bed at night. To feel safe and secure is to feel held and warm and calm. Grounded. Held. Warm. Calm. Safe. Secure. They would conjure and feel these feelings on purpose, repeatedly. And it would all likely deepen some more. Feeling grounded somehow fosters trust in Life itself. It makes it easier to move through the world day after day, which makes me feel confident, too. Confident. This is so much more than I realized! Aware that not everyone is having this experience, they might offer a prayer: may we all know what it’s like to sleep every night in a warm, comfortable, cozy bed of our own.
From a conscious practice perspective, the reasons to pursue this path are numerous — and circuitous. To acknowledge something we have that others do not is to be present to reality. Choices abound and anyone with an attitude of gratitude would habitually make the choice to express their gratitude for what they have because, at a minimum, it’s a vibration-raiser — not unimportant in a world where the law of attraction is always on and vibration is the name of the game. The willingness to revel in, exaggerate, and magnify the “good” feelings we have is also basic conscious practice, intentionally generating more and more of what we appreciate/enjoy/desire, law of attraction- and intention-wise. Feelings are also about listening to inspiration and this practice is excellent for training ourselves to move more and more from our heads to our hearts, from old consciousness to new. We are all connected so the feelings and higher vibrations we generate accrue to us all, which is why our reveling in all that our own bed means to us helps pave an energetic path for others to have the same experience in whatever ways they will. The choice to offer a prayer focuses that energy more finely, essentially lubricating that path. All of this activity puts us in positions of power and control — over what we choose to focus our attention upon. Who knows? Maybe such a prayer would be rooted in an intention to be compassionate, too. Taking these actions is a way of taking responsibility for helping to cultivate more and more of what we want to see in the world — warm beds for everyone — even when we might otherwise be tempted to believe that we are somehow powerless to do anything about what we have that others do not. Beliefs matter. We are powerful.
This singular, utterly incomplete example is to get some conscious practice juices flowing. So for anyone who’s tempted to look at politics through the lens of privilege, a suggestion: tally up your privileges and relish your experiences of them. All of them. Invest some of your precious time and energy doing this because perseverating about privilege — and feeling guilty or otherwise uncomfortable about it — perpetuates that old favorite of the old consciousness: the have-and-have-not sweepstakes. Enough already.
You and I both know that all of us shifting from privilege talk to experience talk means privilege talk will melt. Bye-bye. But let’s keep that to ourselves for now.
NOTE: The Conscious Politics Free Monthly Training this month will be on Tuesday, July 19 from 5:00-6:30pm Pacific / 8:00-9:30pm Eastern and whatever that translates to at your spot on the globe.
It’s this newsletter come to life except instead of me deciding what we talk about, you do! The time is always quite lively and I do hope you’ll attend and you are welcome to invite your friends and relations.