Our culture buys into, and sells, the delusion that the way to remain safe is either to be more dangerous than the people around you or to cut yourself off completely. Being the most dangerous person in the room can mean having the bigger gun, being more willing to say terrible things, being more erratic and unpredictable, or being more of an emotional terrorist. Cutting yourself off completely can mean living in a gated community, constantly editing the information that comes into your world or goes out of it, and dissociating—living in what appears to be a closed off room in your head.
Underlying all these choices is the unspoken, maybe even unconscious, belief that the only way to be “safe” is to be dead, figuratively if not literally. This fourchotomy reveals how we conflate safety and death:
|Safe (in God’s hands and knowing it, and knowing yourself, others, and the terrain)||Dangerous (quick to injure, consciously or unconsciously; treacherous to self and others; no care; alienated)|
|Dead (refusing to be present)||Alive (fully present to self, others, and situation)|
Part of the problem is that people confuse tamas (inertia) with sattva (calm). True safety is not numbing; it is the stilling of vibrations. Being dangerous is creating vibrations—and inertia is a vibration. And only by stilling our vibrations can we reach Love, which is the only real way to be safe. But Love, because it removes the illusion of control, looks like risk, so people choose not to love so as to avoid risk. They choose not to care about others, even though they believe they do.
The whole point is to make it safe for everyone by first making it safe for ourselves. To do this, we need to be comfortable in our own skin, knowing ourselves and being willing to have others know us as well. We have to know what we bring to the table.
In order to get to safety, we have to be willing to be uncomfortable at first and get rid of our “sure” and “absolutely clear” voice, which has never really worked anyway. We have to get rid of our habits. When we truly meditate, we shed our habits internally for a while, and are safe within and for ourselves. But when we stop meditating, we revert to habit. So we need to change how we relate to the world. Knowing the Self is crucial, but we must also know our shrunken selves.
In other words, we have to know our narrative of separate selfhood, inside and out. If your narrative is intact, you are not safe. You must be unsafe for your narrative, and this cannot happen until you have gotten to know it. The narrative was not built with your best interests in mind. This is why you must put your head on the chopping block every day. If you are not willing to do this, you will never be safe.
If we don’t want to be safe, what do we do? Maintain our individuality. Deny our experience. Pretend we don’t have a narrative. Say we’re pure. Decide that everyone else is playing a part, but not us—we are the true Self. Everyone else is the problem. Say that we are true to ourselves, and then numb, delude, judge, and keep our eyes on the other. If we keep our eyes on the other, we don’t know anything, because all we see is a projection.
It is a small step from here to becoming oppositional. The oppositional type has no Love; it is a narrative that believes it is the be-all and end-all, the judge of everything. Its core is the vibration of opposition, so it can only define itself in opposition to others. It can only survive in juxtaposition with what it decides is a hostile other, whether good or bad. It therefore becomes a sower of discord. Would the oppositional type be peaceful without someone else’s violence? No: it needs others’ violence in order to be peaceful. Others’ violence is its peacefulness. If the other is peaceful, the oppositional type will bring violence.
No one is more unsafe than the oppositional type. Unfortunately, it seems to be multiplying all around us, always in the guise of intelligent assessments and unerring righteousness.
If we want to shed our unsafeness, we must give up our separateness. Our illusory separateness is broken up by Love. But we have to work to learn how to Love, and from where real Love comes. This takes time. We must beware of the desire to have that work over with now. Habits do not go easily.
The question remains, why would we want to be safe in the first place? Because true safety means we are just being who we really are. By being who we really are, we are in harmony within and then function safely without. Love, being our true nature, is then our motivator.
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