The Fierce Momentum of the Forces Battering Us

Posted on May 1, 2018


World Weary

“There is so much momentum to every aspect of what drives us, what moves us, what has us hurtling through space, including all of our thoughts and even our own sense of our emotions; how we interpret any given feeling, any experience of discomfort; where that discomfort sits in our bodies. It’s not just that we have a feeling of pain or awkwardness. It’s that we then interpret that.

“And those interpretations — much to our chagrin, we come to understand through a process of observing them — are not clean, or not free of all of the things that are impacting us outside. And so even our sense of what pains us and what makes us feel shame, feel guilt, feel awkwardness, feel put-upon by wind-march-2-551aba02a2360people, feel disempowered, has to do with the external information and cues that we have received. And they’re moving at an incredible rate of speed. And, for the most part, we almost never get the opportunity to observe them and sort through them — kind of like that drawer that collects everything in your house…

Learning to sit and feel and see…

“And sitting lets us begin to do that. It doesn’t do it right away, because what we first are confronted with is just the assault of the amount of thoughts and the mixed messages that just inhabit our body and our mind and our experience on an ongoing basis — that when we sit, the first thing we’re met with is not quiet or calm or peace. The first thing we’re met with is, ‘Oh, my God. Who is in here, and why won’t they shut up? How do I get them to stop?’ And not only is something and someone and everyone speaking to me, it’s mixed messages. Things don’t agree with each other. I don’t agree with my own truth. I’m having arguments in here that are not my arguments, they are someone else’s arguments. They’re my parents’ arguments. Sitting lets us just, first of all, recognize that we are this massive collection of thoughts and experiences and sensations that are moving at the speed of light and that we never get a chance to just be still and pause and look at them, just for what they are, and then slowly to sort out our own voice from the rest of the thoughts, emotions, the interpretations, the habits, the momentums that are just trying to overwhelm us at any given moment.

“And when I say ‘trying to overwhelm us,’ that’s really a key thing to understand, because that means that there’s an ‘us.’ There’s a core and deep and abiding ‘us’ that is being overwhelmed by something that’s actually not us. And when we become aware of it, we’re like: ‘Oh, I actually have some choice here.’”

(from On Being with Krista Tippett and angel Kyodo williams.

Here is just one example of the invisible “principalities and powers” that are redefining our values and beliefs, our identity and integrity… These invisible powers are often more powerful and destructive than any military could ever be.

“The scope of empire continues to widen throughout history. Current structures of empire are more all-encompassing than anything that has gone before, not only in terms of their geographical reach and ability to enforce order but also in their ability to reach into cultural and even personal spheres and to redefine them. One of the things that distinguishes contemporary empire from past empires is that its pressures appear to be more overpowering, even as the structures of empire are less visible than ever before. In the present situation, those two qualities seem to go hand in hand. Where the Roman Empire built streets and highways, for instance, a praxis that was still crucial to the expansion of European colonialism centuries later, empire now is less dependent on such visible structures and moves through the superhighways of technology, which reach farther than ever before (all the way into people’s minds) and which are mostly invisible at the same time…

“Moreover, the invisibility of the broadening influences of empire, aided by rapid technological developments in the realm of virtual reality, makes resistance much more difficult since most people never realize what it is that shapes them, that reaches all the way into and creates their deepest desires. In the final analysis, the forces of marketing and cultural persuasion through entertainment and education, also transmitted through technological superhighways, appear to be more powerful and irresistible than highly visible military displays of power that have the added disadvantage of revealing the real face of the empire.” (Christ & Empire by Joerg Rieger, pp. 4-5)

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