Last Saturday the Alt Right came to Charlottesville. We witnessed them from our favorite breakfast spot. They marched straight down Market Street in front of our window seat. We witnessed one battalion after another dressed in different colors, representing differing ideologies with shields and clubs. Some were outfitted with heavy combat gear including large guns and grenades. We went out to the streets propelled to make real what felt so improbable. Pepper spray and crowd agitation chased us away. A state of emergency was declared 20 minutes later. It was 11:00 am. The Rally was not supposed to begin until noon.
Later in the day we walked among one of these same groups with the accompanying feelings of disbelief, and disorientation – as if we had been dropped into an alternate reality so incongruent with our experience of our home which has always felt to be wholesome, safe and a place of retreat.
In this situation – two of us and many of them – I found myself reciting these words over and over again for comfort, “Stay here and keep watch with me, watch and pray”. The rendition is from the album Joy on Earth performed by the choral group Taize. As I was humming the words to myself a thunderstorm opened up the heavens. An amazing rainbow followed – nature’s equanimity or disinterest in our problems. It feels true to me both ways.
Another line of the song continues “My heart is nearly broken with sorrow, watch and pray”. And mourning doves begin to sing all around us – more reflections from nature.
Processing this has taken many days. From Pathwork Lecture #180, The Spiritual Significance of Relationships”, this phrase helps me go deeper. I will paraphrase. “There are parts of you in a state of lower development which influence your thinking, feeling, willing and acting. You are divided. You push one side away and identify with the other”. In the lecture we are asked to bring out the deviating parts of ourselves and face them.
Today in prayer and meditation I feel a disenfranchised part of me come to life. “Pay attention to me”, it says. I am your most cast out part. Bring me back home.
What is this part I have distanced myself from? It reveals itself. “I separate and I hate. I can hate forever. I am consumed with hate.” Once it is here there are so many examples where I do this. Sometimes the separation and hate flicker by in an instant, hardly detectable, and other times it is consuming, lasting for weeks. In bringing this part home I must also love it. From Pathwork Lecture #72, “Love is the one and only power. With it you are mighty, you are strong, you are safe. Without it you are poor, you are separate; you are isolated and fearful. However, this knowledge cannot really help you until you discover where deep inside yourself you cannot love, you do not want to love, and you do not know why you resist loving.”
The part that hates needs loving too. It is activated when I am afraid I do not belong. When I am afraid of abandonment. I wonder if some of the Alt Right people feel this way too. Maybe we are not so different.
I find some peace.