When I was younger, I remember feeling a revulsion to the concept of “turning the other cheek” and “the meek shall inherit the Earth.” As usual, I reacted to something I didn’t understand. I think now I get it better.
When I felt oppressed, brutalized, demeaned, neglected, or objectified, I felt “weak.” When feeling weak, I thought that those who hurt me were “strong.” We were like two sides of a coin – the weak oppressed and the powerful oppressors. Both are necessary for the coin to exist.
But something magical happened over time – I grew tired. I was no longer interested in the moments of my life when I felt strong. Instead, I became fascinated with those moments when I felt the weakest and with nothing left – not even the desire to fight. I studied those moments and invited more of them in.
After going through the stages of feeling annihilated, I realized I still remained. And then I was just vulnerable and open. The attackers were like shadows lashing out, but their claws and fangs just passed right through me. I was no longer the other side of the coin – I wasn’t part of the coin at all.
Then, I began to study my weakest moments of having been beaten, shamed, abandoned, and crushed. I remembered deep sadness that was leading me to the bottom where I thought I would be erased. I stayed there. I had to find the lowest low, which was the opposite of how I typically wished to present myself in life.
I was traveling down the rabbit hole of my worst fears that held me captive, and visited closely with each one. We had tea and broke bread. Surely this would be my death, I thought.
But I remained.
I learned that surrendering to even one moment of absolute helplessness was more powerful than acting strong and feeling powerful – having nothing to “win” was freedom.
I searched my moments of triumph – highs, not lows. These were empty and hollow. I don’t even know why I tried to aim for a feeling of “strength” – there was nothing beneath it. But those moments of despair – they were rich with lessons. They were priceless in helping me to see how there was nothing to acquire, defend, hide, or run from.
Freedom is not power, but something other than the duality of strength and weakness. Existence as freedom means you can act in the interest of life without taking any side. You do the best that you can for yourself and for those you love, and… there is no “and.” That’s it. There is no loss, fear, grasping, hunting. There is nothing worth any of that hunger that fuels duality.
So many stories talk of the great ongoing war, which needs at least two agressors. If we are divided within, the war is within, and the world simply reflects what is already in motion in the unconscious.
I sit on the lowest rung of the ladder from which one falls into the abyss of the unknown. I let go and fall. As I fall, I see this ladder in the distance – war, blood, guts, betrayal, and stench. The seeming victors are gloating. The apparent victims are in despair. I also see the oppressors weeping, and victims assaulting whom they can. I recede.
The meek shall inherit the Earth because the realization that there is no war is inevitable. All are meek at the core – even the dragons who spit fire. Anyone will beg for mercy when encountering a stronger force. But the strongest force is clarity that sees through this dualistic dynamic and has no interest in participating. Nothing fuels defense or offense. Nothing is superior or inferior. Whatever it is that labels is dead.
Healing is being able to face one’s deepest shame and fear and withstanding the feeling that it is “the end.” After the illusion breaks, it is the beginning of a life of nothing to prove, no debts to accrue or collect, and no desire to be “strong.” Vulnerability diffuses all conflict.