Ignorance isn't bliss.
"Lesbian, bisexual, straight, chaste, American, English speaker, spiritual medium, healer, intuitive, caucasian, female, poor, disabled, homeless" – at one time or another I've been discriminated or accosted or threatened for being one or all of these.
Last Sunday was no different. However I have the Politie Amsterdam to thank for showing up in record time.
I had just returned home after an incredible weekend ayahuasca healing retreat. That two night ceremony takes many days to prepare for and it is all consuming. As grateful as I am to serve the participants, it means little sleep for me. Returning home was also a sensible reward. I was looking forward to my own bed.
There outside my front door was a black Volkswagen 4-door with Dutch vehicle plates. One man, wearing a grey shirt and post bootcamp-esque hair cut was in the front passenger seat, and two guys sat in the rear: one wearing a blue shirt, and another wearing black shirt and jacket. With no one in the driver's seat, the stereo playing, and all of them smoking hand-rolled cigarettes, this was tell-tale.
I approached the car. Seeing me coming they rolled down the window.
Me: "Hello! Are you guys waiting for someone?"
1: "Yes, we're waiting for a friend." he said motioning to the building. (He was lying.)
3: (On the band wagon): "Why?"
2: "Why? Are you racist?" (He is clueless. And defensive. This question says a lot about him.)
I had made reasonable contact with number 1. It begot a simple conversation, a peace maker.
I explained that a few times a year folks park their cars here, blast their sound systems, smoke, drink, break their glass bottles, do poppers, leave a mess, order pizza, use my address for delivery agents that ring my bells at midnight, and cause chaos and a terrible mess. "I don't choose for that to happen."
1 became more reasonable. He understood and said wouldn't do that (even if he was planning on doing exactly that.) He went on shifting the conversation to other topics and shared that he was from Morocco. He asked where I was from and what I did.
2 and 3 were shouting out their guesses: Australia? New Zealand? England? Canada? Are you a doctor? A psychologist? Are you Christian? Buddhist?
Me: I grew up in San Francisco. I'm a healer.
1 was very intrigued about San Francisco, the US and translated 'healer' to his associates.
Then it came. The onslaught.
2 and 3 began to shout numerous derogative slurs, preached about how I was going to hell and proceeded to make threats.
Conversation over. They crossed the line. I called the police.
I've never seen so many police on my street so quickly. They took their car apart. This didn't upset me in the slightest.
My guests, some participants from the ceremony, applauded how I handled it. That I stayed 'cool' and 'centered'.
This is an act of love, to take care and stay cool and centered.
And it is a practice.
I've space for conversation and exploration. A threat is a threat and to treat it otherwise can be hazardous.
Why do I press the point of being a critical thinker? This example is a good reason. Being able to entertain a thought without rejecting or accepting it is a sign of mental sovereignty.
These men accused me of being racist because I asked a question. Then they accused me of working with demons because they don't ask questions.
If your belief doesn't allow you to question, then it is not your belief. It is your prison and you are a slave.
May your relationship with God not be reduced to a concept.
And if you presently identify as atheist (though I've never met a real atheist): may your relationship with your psyche and humanity not be reduced to a co-factor or sorrowful statistic.
If you can question (I mean intimately explore) your motives and seek to understand others, you are ahead of where you were yesterday. (And you begin to develop the foundation for compassion. Yes, that is a lot of beginnings in one sentence. But compassion is skill built on experience.)
On that note:
May critical thinking be your bedfellow. May peace and knowing when enough is enough be you sunshine consort.
سلام שלום vrede Frieden pace Fred paz ความสงบสุข kapayapaan peace barış mir mír #LoveHumanity #Pacem