Man on Fire, World on Fire

People, we are in crucial times. I don’t know what would wake up the middle class of America if not the sacrifice of this man, Aaron Bushnell.

He sacrificed his life, offered it as a butter lamp in these dark dark times calling for the liberation of Palestinians.

It is this way because the middle class refuses to show up in political rooms where power is held accountable. Without the middle class’s collusion and complicity, this whole empire collapses.

We refuse to look at true consequences of our business as usual, back to grind mode, completely enslaved by the oppressive system. Systems that pit us against each other, to compete in hunger games of “othering” and survival.

We cannot afford these wars without proliferating such deep trauma for generations.

Those who study what trauma is and how trauma impacts us say that “trauma is what happens inside of us in the absence of a compassionate witness”. We are that witness. Are you looking away, abdicating your responsibility?

The world we inherited has deep trauma, unmet and unaddressed and unreconciled. Karma to me is also a consequence. The consequences of complicity and collusion of our ancestors, whatever the reasons for them might be, has collective consequences.

The democratic system, a truly a wonderful system if we abide by the proper checks and balances and accountability. It is now absolutely corrupted.

If the power center that fuels the engine to drive the car is corroded by corporate corruption, access to unchecked power and pleasure and supremacist ideology – it destroys the whole body. The metastic cancer, total soul corruption spreads, and these people indulge in inflicting pain and violence to maintain their perverted lifestyles that involves the desecration of innocence (Hint: Lolita express, pedophilia & drug parties).

When corporate greed and corrupted government became best friends, sooner or later everyone else is going to lose. Humans and other than human.

The middle class is trying to hold onto the safety & comfort bubble offered by this corrupted system, not seeing that this buffer is a precise design by the oligarchy to divide and rule.

To keep us from true safety, security, belonging and freedom. True safety comes from trust. Trust that we are cared for and loved unconditionally.

That our authenticity is not a threat to anyone, but it is a celebration of diversity and uniqueness of each sentient being.

In order to create such trust and care, our systems must match such inner desire. Providing universal care of shelter, food and clothes, holistic healthcare, education, becomes a priority over waging incessant wars. Investing in the death market, blowing trillions of dollars polluting space & time & the four elements and causing mass death and suffering.

If the middle class can allow themselves to take a rest from the hamster wheel, then maybe they will find the time to reflect, dismantle the psychic grip of violence & scarcity of patriarchal imagination.

To root into our mother earth, this spinning celestial body is robust and fertile, a life giver of all diverse forms of life here.

This mother Earth can provide for you safety, belonging and freedom beyond what any patriarchal religion can. Coming into right relationship with her is finding your earthly roots, which offers ground and center and unquestionable enoughness to sprout and reach for the light of the heaven.

This touching the earth frees us from excessive consumerist habits of shopping, scrolling, binge watching, all addictions.

True health is at the other side of offering something into the fire of deep remembering, transformation and rebirth. Usually that’s our self deception that must be offered up first. Our self- deception is that we are victims, powerless and have no agency. That our full blooming of our deepest and highest truths do not matter to the collective mattering world.

All this to say if the middle class woke up to their own individual and collective power and stopped being so scared and silent – this whole game is over.

Do they know this? I have no clue. So here I am like one of the ravens – cawing here incessantly “wake up, you still have some power to do something and prevent your own demise and create something new and emergent in collaboration with diverse communities of human and other than human kin”.

Do you know this?
Do you want to remember and need support?
If you do I want to be part of your journey. You can work with me 1-1 to reconnect to your soul.
I might do a bigger group if there are more people hearing this call and are willing to step up into their expanded collective body.

My Decolonial Soul Work is a container where we will do this uncovering, discovering, recovering your truer self.

If you see this empire for what it is and if you want to decolonize your soul, mind, body and speech so that a young precious human like Aaron Bushnell doesn’t have to offer their lives up as lamps – please find support. Work with me or not, but please start the work. It matters deeply.

For a wider lense please check out this letter from another act of protest that took the form of self immolation, and this video connecting dots from @NaleyByNature:

Letter from David Buckel (1957-2018)

a life giver

            Ending a life of privilege can give life to others.  Privilege usually comes in some way from others’ pain, whether intended or, more often, not.  The pain may be from exploitation, as is often true in the making of clothes and food crops, and our choice to buy such clothing or food supports the harm to exploited humans, animals, or the Earth.  That harm can live on through so many other choices we make, not just with what we wear and what we eat.  A life of privilege requires actions to balance the harm caused, and the greater the privilege, the greater the responsibility.  For if one does not leave behind a world better for having lived in it, all that remains are selfish ends, sometimes wrapped in family or nation.  When in history selfish ends are wrapped in nation, the noble young among us often serve as soldiers and return home knowing they were used wrongly, honor squandered, asking “what was it all for?”  Seldom are we more despicable than when we misuse honor.  Not so when the noble are needed for an honest defense against human aggression.  But more vast than human aggression is human selfishness, and against it a larger army of the noble must stand.

            For those of us with long lives of privilege, it is not enough to say we have lived for family or nation — that is still at the cost of other beings on the Earth or the Earth itself, to one degree or another, one family or nation at the cost of another family or nation.  Of a thousand consequences, one terrifying example of our times is the suicide vest — an instrument for life takers, to kill oneself as a way to kill others who are seen as exploiters.    

            Of course trying to make the world a better place does not mean that the world may in fact be a better place, but just better than it would have been had we not lived in it – sadly, as we live many other humans live and leave the world a worse place for having lived in it.  And for the honorable effort, it’s not enough to donate money to strike the balance.  Rarely can the money match the effect of privilege, and the recipient organizations who claim to reduce harm are subject to the same selfish human nature underlying the harm they seek to address — the human tendency toward comfort and its partner, exploitation.  That leads many groups (not all) to use the money more for their own salaries and benefits than to achieve their mission, and many groups’ leaders to see the work more as a matter of personal legacy than meaningful positive change for others.  Government can be similarly prey, choosing to help but losing the way, pulled along by human nature’s tilt toward selfishness.  

            Many who drive their own lives to help others often realize that they do not change what causes the need for their help.  Endless bandaging does not stop future wounds.  Even victims, once harmed and then empowered — thus enabled to choose how to treat others less privileged — too often choose to exploit.  

            Thus the challenge for the privileged young is to navigate wisely and change course timely to stop future wounds, rather than be consumed by bandaging.  Find the path that helps lead humans toward unselfishness.  On that, many religions have failed, most obvious when religious groups harm each other, or most hidden when religious leaders build a bureaucracy to serve and protect themselves.  But many individuals have succeeded, most often in obscurity, and that is a reason for the privileged young to live and strive on in service to the less privileged.  There is no shame in privilege if it is used in service to those without privilege, and beware those who shame the privileged more to make themselves feel good than genuinely to work for and benefit others.         

            All sorts of actions may help strike a balance between anyone’s weight in privilege and corresponding weight in responsibility to others.  A quiet selflessness, strengthening community while diminishing one’s own negative impact, can help balance.  A loud selflessness, on a large stage, will likely over time tilt back toward the selfish.  The larger army of the noble tends to blend in, and ego stays in check.    

            It is likely necessary in the struggle toward balance to give it a lifetime, however much time is clocked for giving rather than taking.  But after long years of effort it may be clear that staying in the world is doing more harm than good because the balance can no longer be struck through to the natural end of one’s life, for one or some of a hundred reasons.  Just as it is not enough to live merely for family or nation, and not enough to give money, it may be not be enough to take as much responsibility as one can, day after day.  A lifetime of service may best be preserved by giving a life.  Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purpose in death.

            This is not new, as many have chosen to give a life based on the view that no other action can most meaningfully address the harm they see.  Witness one example: self-immolations in support of a free Tibet, sometimes by parents forced to the heart-breaking conclusion that a parent dying creates more value for children than a parent living.  But those parents were not privileged. I am privileged, with a nice life at 60 years of age, and good health to the final moment.  Privilege is feeling heavier than responsibility met. 

            Obviously there are countless ways that humans harm other humans, animals, and the Earth, and thus countless causes to serve by giving a life.  I choose just one, not because I claim that it is more important, but because it happens to give me the courage I will need to die in the hope it is an honorable death that might serve others. As an attorney, I worked eight years for others’ freedom from poverty, and thirteen years for others’ freedom from discrimination.  But work for freedom fails as we slowly turn Earth into a prison.  Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather.   Some have already lost houses, family, and nations, a fate that waits for all as the decades pass.  We’re killing humans and other beings slowly by killing our shared home.  Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result — my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.  Our present grows more desperate; our future needs more than what we’ve been doing.  Although solutions lay partly in laws, no power will match that of individuals in large numbers who change their everyday choices and reduce the harm they cause.  Here is a hope that giving a life might bring some attention to the need for expanded action, and help others give a voice to our home, and Earth is heard. 

David Buckel

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