The violence of racism is not new.
Many of us are just becoming aware of it, because of recordings shared, and because of more voices speaking out.
The history and systemic racism in our country, church, families, and all communities, goes back to all beginnings, through all generations.
How can we overcome something that permeates so many parts of our society?
I have looked again at what I have learned and seen through my life, of those that reinforce the embedded racism by denying it exists, choosing to let it continue. And of those who do the dangerous work of exposing the deadly nature of racism, and give their lives to the work of eliminating it.
The blood and sins of countless generations seem to be splattered in front of us. No matter how much some try to cover it, it can not be hidden.
Now needs to be a moment of cleansing, on many levels.
We, as humans, have great resistance to this kind of cleansing.
I had to confront my own reluctance about it.
Several years ago, I was reading about some similarities in the sacred rituals of various cultures, and how common it was to have cleansing rituals linked to journey rituals, and important life events.
I was reminded of the powerful practice of clearing, or cleansing my mind, before participating in important mindfulness trainings. In the clearing practice, you take a moment to respond to questions from a coach, or from yourself, about your thoughts, and life actions. This practice is something I have tried to adapt and practice when I seek to take actions that make a difference in my communities.
“Is there anything going on in your life that is not complete?
Is there any place where your integrity is not in line – in your relationships, with this action, with promises you have made?
Is there anything that is in the way of you being who you commit to be?”
When I have been willing to ask myself these questions, even when it is not easy to answer them, a type of intentional focus of energy and thought can occur. Much of the noise of mixed messages from various sources, traditional rhetoric, pressure to conform, ineffective busy work, and other types of clutter – is easier to recognize.
It is a ritual of cleansing that clears away obstacles to creative living.
Is this kind of intention in mindfulness practice similar to the purpose of some of the cultural cleansing ritual?
I wanted to see what insight I could gain from immersing deeper into the symbolic cleansing ritual of my culture. I chose to spend hours participating in the repetitive motions, and listening to the words, over and over.
Hour after hour, the words and motions, over and over and over.
Gradually, other noises and voices and concerns and thoughts cleared away.
After nearly 4 hours, something happened.
There was a rush of voices, the presence of countless beings. Somehow, a few were distinct. Emma, Joseph, Brigham, Eliza, Lucy, Hyrum, Spencer, specific ancestors, my father, my grandparents, so many among countless more. There was sorrow and pain in the midst of pleading…
“Only you can cleanse the world. We can’t do it for you. Please, be clean from the blood and sins we didn’t see. We are sorry. Please.”
I almost felt I was out of my body, present with all these beings, as my physical being continued the repetition of words and motions.
There were no excuses from them, no dismissals of the destructive, even deadly harm done by words and actions that excluded or eliminated entire groups of people from communities, sacred rites and spaces, adjusted doctrines, descriptions of eternity, and even a place in God’s love.
I felt agonizing pain and profound regret, waves of it coming from them. But no pleas from any of them for relief. Just a profound awareness of their part in the continuation of the great sin of defying At-One-Ment. Their pleas were for those living now.
There seemed to be an awareness that there would never be redemption, or complete salvation for anyone, until the blood and sins of barriers, and conditions on love, and exclusion of the other, and intolerance of differences – until this was cleansed from the earth. Until it is cleansed from our hearts.
I did not seek to know details. Even with a lifetime of studying and valuing transparent history, at that moment, I did not feel a need to know specifics from them about how they saw their part in perpetuating the sins all generations. In the moment of indescribable presence with more beings than I could comprehend, I felt an awareness from them. So many had dedicated their lives to the idea of restoring the gospel of Christ. They had been inspired to seek, and receive, and live so much. They were a part of the dawning of a brighter day, as some of most radical insights about eternal relationships we each have with Gods who invited us into ever expanding wisdom and existence came to light.
But, just as it is now, being a part of great work does not automatically eliminate human weakness, and bias, and fear. It does not automatically make you someone who will courageously risk all, and have the insight to cleanse yourself of all ungodly thoughts and actions.
What insight they gained from perspective beyond the veil is what caused them to reach out in every space that opened for them to communicate, in every space where clutter of thoughts, and “should” and “shouldn’t”, had been cleansed.
Their work on the earth is not finished.
None of our work will be finished until we are cleansed from the blood and sin of all generations.
I have wondered…how many times, how many ways have our ancestors tried to reach out, and plead with us to cleanse this generation, now this generation, now this one, and on and on. How many more generations of ancestors will be added to the countless numbers who are trying to reach through the veil, and complete the work of restoring the good news.
We are all a part of each other.
What happens to any, happens to all.
Christ revealed at-one-ment on a level that defies description. It can only be experienced by practicing connection through all circumstance, and love without condition.
It is through that wrestle, that journey, that is where we create salvation.
I feel Christ’s message from his parable about the Samaritan, and the sheep and the goats – If there is anyone you don’t love, you don’t love anyone. We are invited to experience the love of God, without condition. Anything less is not Godlike love.
This experience expanded that view. For those seeking At-One-Ment, the work is not complete until all generations are cleansed.
That can only happen now.
Yes, we must learn from the past. We must study our history. We can be inspired by the courage, and wisdom, and radical creations of our ancestors. We must learn from their failures, weaknesses, fearful actions, and harmful abuses of power.
At some point, we need to acknowledge that our awareness of past failures will only make a difference when we shift from blaming and anger (no matter how justified), to confronting our own place in the countless generations that perpetuate the blood and sins of racism, sexism, homophobia, abuse of power, and all ways we kill each other off – and then doing the work of ending it.
It might take all the generations that will ever live to cleanse humanity of all this blood.
But I am most concerned with this moment – now.
Now is the time to do our work.
We are all connected in this.
Let the blood and sins end with us.