These are the words that concluded my last mediation retreat two weeks ago. It resonates with me deeply as it seems to synthesize a feeling that has been with me since a very young age. I am still exploring its meaning, but I wanted to share my process and hopefully create a conversation about its implication.
We live in a patriarchy, and it seems that many of its structures are collapsing. Eroding democracy, neo-liberal-capitalism taking over every part of our society, overwhelming media and communication system and the over-exploitation and destruction of our natural environment. We created an unhealthy and toxic environment where we have lost control over its governance. We are being bombarded by an ever-increasing amount of news and media, both confusing and polarizing. We are merely consumer feeding an evergrowing capitalistic machine ready to implode at any moment. Most importantly, it's getting worst, and most people seem to deny it.
But are we really in a collapse? It's actually hard to prove. If you're falling down from a building, you might not realize you're falling until you land. There might be some hints that you are dropping, but the fall in itself is still pretty gentle. I assume that we will only know in the aftermath. But should we wait until then to prove a point?
Patriarchy in itself isn't evil. What seems to be the problem is this toxic masculinity devoided from any feminity and compassion. We could have well-balanced patriarchy with a balanced view of the world. But as we all become more and more out of balance with our environment and with ourselves, toxic patriarchy creates a lot more destruction than sustenance.
So what can be done in this situation?
You can deny it all, live your life, make money, hope for the best and try to enjoy comfort while it last. It's not a wrong choice. If you are truly happy while doing this, it might even bring some positive energy to your community and family.
You can deeply freak out, fill the social network with anger, prepare for the worst, live in fear. That might be a good solution, which might bring people to question their own way of living. And if you prepare well and a significant shift happens, you might become an excellent resource in the future.
You can take action, go out on the street, find a way to fight back the system, bring about some change in a forceful way. Creating community and groups while informing and demonstrating publicly to bring awareness. The collective "Extinction Rebellion" created some wave in the media. While older groups like Greenpeace has been at it for so long that we almost do not consider them activist anymore.
There are a thousand and one ways to be in this uncomfortable space. But you probably saw that coming; you can also practice compassion...
When you practice compassion, it doesn't matter which side you are on or what action you are taking. Even if you might disagree with someone acting differently, taking a different position, you still have compassion toward that person.
By using a compassionate approach, I can take stock of what might be happening and see what I can do to accommodate the change coming our way. Learning about gardening, micro-farming, fermenting and sprouting. Communication technologies like HAM radio might become handy, for instance. Some friends on mastodon are looking into permacomputing, figuring out the use of technology outside or after the supply chain has failed. Looking at the more fragile aspect of our society, like power, gas, health and food system and planning what would happen if we couldn't rely on these anymore.
Compassion it's not a one-way street. You cannot be compassionate toward people and not toward yourself; this is not compassion. It's not so much action but a state that infuses every action. So practicing compassion for myself has to be part of the deal.
Media has taken quite someplace in our life. It not only informs us but also somewhat defines who we are. I feel quite polarized when watching media. The mainstream press charges me up in one way. At the same time, the social network brings up anger and other ranges of emotions. Anti-establishment news channels get me pumped up and ready for a revolution... All of it would be taking so much energy from me. Although it's important to stay informed, I just want to be informed. Not manipulated, not charged, not angry at this to that, simply informed.
Not taking the news too seriously really helped with caring for myself. Most media companies have their own agenda and aren't entirely objective, so anything I read and listen to, I take it with a grain of salt. Most news and media sources only tell one part of the story or take one side, so to stay truly informed I try to check in with different international news, from Moscow Times, to Aljazeera, Reuters, BBC. I also look for independent news channels, which are funded by the readers and outside the influence of corporations. I find it also healthy not to take a strong position on news events that I don't have time to really get informed. By doing all this, I feel more at peace and balanced without being overly triggered.
Another aspect of my life is the exploration of evolution. Not actively participating in personal and social evolution seems to go against compassion. Evolution is the natural process of life; actively or purposefully going against it is going against our wellbeing. There are many tools and techniques that help with the process of evolution, from creativity to self-study and meditation. But this is outside the scope of this article.
You might be wondering, since the patriarchy is collapsing and taking the world down with it, wouldn't it make sense to bring about a matriarchy. I personally think that a matriarchal society would be pretty exciting and refreshingly different. There would be a whole lot of healing. But a matriarchal society can also be imbalanced. In the end, it's that balancing act that will bring about change, that could bring about a revolution.
The title of this article can have a different meaning. You can read it as using compassion while the collapse is happening. But you can also read it as using compassion as a means of collapsing the patriarchy. Now, suppose a society completely lacks compassion. What would happen if, out of a sudden, compassion would be at its core?