Sunday, August 24, 2008

The grief of a nation.

Physically, anger is part of the grief process. When we are hurt, we experience fear and stress, the 'fight or flight' syndrome. This produces direct changes in brain chemistry and electrochemical activity in the brain.

The reason it's part of the grief process is that anger is often directed inwards, or outwards, at ourselves, at society, at God. Why wasn't more done? Why couldn't I do more?

A good part of the problem today, I believe, is our nation is grieving. It is hurting, it is bleeding, it's lying by the road beaten by the government that was supposed to protect it.

And it is lashing out. It feels it cannot address the government, we feel powerless against the government, like our votes don't count, like our government hates us, and fears us, and is doing everything it can to break us, and in many ways... we are right.

That fear reaction is being used to misplace the anger, the pain. Part of the recovery process, as well, is to recognize the loss. In society's case, it cannot recognize the loss, as we've been educated out of our rights, our duties, our privileges, and all we know is we've lost *something*.

What have we really lost? The support and service of a government that was designed to support and serve. The ability to affect that government in a meaningful way. The power over the government which we granted power. The power to control our own homes, our own lives, our own thoughts.

Every day we're under assault by a propaganda machine that is designed to distract, to dishearten. It's designed to distract us from the fact our prices are rising, our wages are not, and our world continually grows emptier, more hopeless. Every moment we sit and look out and the government encroaches that much more, seeking power to protect us... but who protects us from the government now?

Our nation is in mourning. It's in shock, and the first vestiges of grief, that awareness that something has changed, and anger that nothing was done about it. It cannot do otherwise than to strike out blindly until the source of that hurt is seen. During this phase the values and morals of a person, and a nation, are questioned. Why did this happen? Why did (god|the world|our government|our governor) allow it? Why did I allow it? How did we get here?

And this creates fear. The discontinuity between belief and the loss of hope create anger, and the government focuses that anger upon a vulnerable population, one they feel nobody will stand up for.

The difference is righteous anger comes from a recognition of the wrong, and a desire to correct the wrong without damaging others... it's reparatory anger. The anger most feel lashes out. We've all seen people who have lost loved ones attacking others they love, or withdrawing from them... how much easier is it to lash out against those you've been taught to hate?

The funny thing is... when you have a person like that, that is lashing out, that is hurting themselves, the best way to stop it, if they have human feelings at all... is to simply love them. Embrace them in that love. Humans need contact. They need compassion, they need love. The illusion of a loveless and thankless world reinforces the anger, the hurt, the pain.

When I die... I in many ways hope rather than mourning, there is celebration. A celebration of life, not of an ending. A creation of new beginnings, not of bleakness. It is the path of compassion to heal, not to harm.

Our nation needs healing. It needs to embrace itself, embrace its neighbors, embrace the truths it has tried to hide. Some of those need digging out of about 70 years of garbage that have attempted to hide them, cleaned of the soil of that garbage, and brought back into the light so they can flourish. So too are the people. They cannot flourish unless they are brought to the light, brought to knowledge and truth, and shown that the power lies within them to heal and create.

The most toxic thing for a victim is to remain powerless. The best way to help them recover is show them their own power over themselves... help them move beyond being a victim, beyond even being a 'survivor of abuse' into being a person in their own right, a person that has created their own existence, and made the choices which lead them into the future.

And that is what the government fears most... self-actualized, self-responsible people that recognize the rights and privileges of others, as enough of those would make their job utterly meaningless.

That was the original police force. You had sheriffs, yes, but their job was to oversee the enforcement of the law, and to uphold the constitution in the county. Their job was to keep the county honest, and to keep the people in it from trampling the rights of others.

But do we not all have the same responsibility? Under compassion, do we not have the duty to set our fellow men free from slavery? When our hearts recognize that yearning to be free, that yearning to know who they are, is it not our responsibility to help them to realize it?

If we, in empathy, reach out to others, is that not the very goal of offender treatment? To recognize the humanity, remove the objectification, and to recognize the anger and hurt, and to do our very best to correct the very wrongs in society and ourselves that created the problems in the first place?

Is this not the path to recovery? And if so, who are they to deny us this? Who are they to say that the nation is hurting, but we have no power to heal it? And why do they wish to keep harming the people, and harming their very being?

As before, anger is a part of hurt and grief. Forgiveness (not forgetting, but forgiveness) and releasing one's self from the bonds of that anger is part of recovery from the hurt. Freeing onseself from one's own bonds, created in the situation of hurt, is just as critical. Nobody can remain a victim, or a survivor forever. It is toxic to their very soul. Self-actualized, self-reliant human beings cannot be in that mindspace.

It is a work of love to bring them beyond that.

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