Monday, August 15, 2011

On Seeing the Movie The Help

My wife and I saw The Help, Saturday afternoon. It is an excellent film – splendid acting, writing, music, scenery, photography and a number of strong, gut wrenching messages. On the way home, what struck me most was how the Blacks lived relatively normal and morally decent lives despite the humiliation, abuse and constant threat of terror. I thought of the power of intimidation, threat and fear. I thought of Joe McCarthy and people in the early ‘50’s living under a similar domestic, not foreign, threat of intimidation and fear.

I came away from the movie understanding that we have met the terrorists and they is us – good Anglo Christians, not, swarthy Muslims. And I thought that right this minute, the people who want to turn the clock back to those days and rely on hate, threat, fear and intimidation, many of them knowing and unknowing racists, are once again in the ascendancy and seem to be holding the rest of us hostage. Why do we allow it? Why don’t we speak up and call a spade a spade? How many good lives, including those of the haters, must be lost and damaged due to hate, fear, ignorance and intimidation?

Besides blaming the haters and fear mongers, which was my first choice, many answers to this question arise. The answer resonating with me now is that the best way to deal with hate, fear, terror, threat and intimidation is first individually in our own minds and then collectively, in twos, threes, groups then communities. First, I take responsibility for myself, get clear, then from that centered connected place, reach out to others. Both individual and collective action are necessary, not either or; both.

Terry Cole Whittaker says the mind is the greatest terrorist weapon; and that terror is error with a “t” in front of it. We put up with hate, fear, terror, threat and intimidation because we think we have to, that there is no alternative and that we don’t have a viable choice. That kind of thinking is the error. We always have a choice, and the only meaningful choice is between spirit and ego. If I choose spirit as my teacher and learn to see as spirit sees, I can see the world as a learning laboratory in which I am being trained to see spirit in all people, places and things, especially in those people, the haters, who press my buttons. I learn that they are my buttons, mine to manage and learn from, not to be pressed by me or anyone else.

Connecting with mySelf and learning to manage and learn from my buttons, makes me more attractive because believe it or not, everyone is in the learning laboratory with me, even the haters, needing to learn the same lessons. When others understand what I’m doing, they will join in. I think this is what Jesus meant when he said, when two or more are gathered in my name. His name is love and self mastery, not hate, fear, terror, threat and intimidation. First, I learn, then join with others to help them learn, not as a savior or a holier-than-thou pompous ass, but as a compassionate, loving member of one family; then we choose spirit and put the ego’s hate, fear, terror, ignorance and intimidation aside.

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