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Shadow

Ancestral Reverence in Shadow Work

Part of Buddhist and African spirituality is reverence for your ancestors. In both frameworks, ancestors provide guidance and assistance. In addition to the help they can provide, people that adhere to these spiritualities use ancestral reverence as a way to recognize and thank our forebears for their sacrifice. The practice allows for a person’s ancestors to move through them. Reverence for ancestors will also aid in coming to grips with yourself as part of an unbroken continuum of experience. The continuum stretches back to the beginning of time and forward until the end of time. The continuation happens whether an individual has children or not. The ancestors will help a person to integrate aspects of their personality.

My ancestral reverence practice occurs after my daily meditation. After meditation, I bow, the Buddhist term is half-prostration, and imagine how my ancestors looked. In meditation, a person should move away from using words and attempt to concentrate on first order sensations. I chose as my ancestral image to be a slave. For me, a female image is more natural and more soothing. I am not sure why.

I feel Black Americans need to come to terms with our slave ancestry. The first step for us was coming to grips with our African ancestry. Black Americans were told the pre-colonial Africans were primitive and lacked culture. Those myths have been debunked, and most blacks understand that African civilization was advanced.

I viewed my slave ancestry as something I have to overcome. My slave ancestors sacrificed for me to be here. I now owe them being successful. If I am unsuccessful, their sacrifice was for nothing. I suspect many other people feel the same way.

What I was missing was slaves had full lives in spite of the oppression. The slaves sought wisdom, savored the few pleasures they had, and found love. I am a product of them finding love. When I came to grips with that, I could allow myself to live a full life. My life doesn’t solely have to be about being successful. My slave ancestors showed me how to have a full life in spite of oppression. I owe them being happy, not successful.

Anyone that follows my blog knows I have completed extensive research on the Pullman Porters. While doing research, I stumbled across many stories of the abusive treatment the porter’s received. Porters were called every racial slur. One of the most frequently used was calling all porters “George.” The name came because a man named George Pullman owned the Pullman company. During slavery, slaves were named after their master. Most passengers, especially from the south saw the porters as slaves and treated them accordingly.

These stories triggered me emotionally. Many times in my career I did not speak up when I or someone around me suffered a racial injustice. Many of my black co-workers expressed that I was extremely passive. I had a rocky start to my career and felt I needed to concentrate on the “nuts and bolts” of the job. I avoided unnecessary conflict because I had very little experience and could be replaced easily if things come to a head. I was fired from my first job due to having a racial conflict, and I did not want to repeat this pattern.

I often second guess my decision on this job. I regret not standing up for myself and others more. I have a few instances, in particular, I regret very much. I justify it to myself by saying I had to take care of business. I needed to hold on to the job and gain experience. Deep down I feel not only did I not stand up for myself, but I also did not stand up for my race.

I contrast my struggles with what the Pullman Porters accepted from the company and what they were able to accomplish in the field of Civil Rights. Even if a porter was completely passive, he was part of an organization, if he joined the union, which laid the foundation for the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. If he was kowtowing, he kowtowed for the struggle. If a few racist white people laughed about making a spectacle of a porter, who cares? The porter laid the foundation for me.

I am not saying I have accomplished anything anywhere near as significant as the Pullman Porters. However, progress is not about individual achievement. Progress is about community achievement. I could get the opportunity to redeem myself, someone in a future generation could redeem me. Everyday I decide if the cumulative affects of my actions are positive or negative. Being black is not about winning every fight; no one wins every fight. The goal is to have a larger balance of positive action than negative actions. Your positive action balance is tallied every day. In each moment you create your legacy.

I recently, re-read Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries. In the book, he recounts a story of meeting a black man in Peru that reported the murder of his friend. Below is the quote:

“Until this point, we had been traveling in the same truck as the black guy who had reported the murder. At one of the stops along the road, he bought us a meal and throughout it, lectured us on coffee, papaya, and the black slaves, of whom his grandfather had been one. He said this quite openly but [in] it you could detect a note of shame in his voice. In any case, Alberto and I agreed to absolve him of any guilt in the murder of his friend.”

The man from Peru had an intellectual understanding of the history of his people. The man did not have emotional acceptance, hence the shame. A person must foster both the intellectual understanding and the emotional acceptance. I feel that we as black people have a difficult time with the fact we have had to and still have to acquiesce to injustice. It is a survival method forged by our slave ancestors and is often still useful. Black people hate to admit that they had to acquiesce and others around them had to acquiesce.

The shame of acquiescence causes black people to vilify many our mainstream Civil Rights leaders as Uncle Toms. Many hate that A. Philip Randolph had to say the racist American Federation of Labor leader and L. Johnson was a greater friends to blacks than Lincoln. He was able to accomplish more than any other Civil Rights leader. Randolph was not a dogmatist; he was a pragmatist. He built relationships and allied with those he needed, not those with similar views. He separated the needs of the group and race from his personal need for pride. The same goes for Ed Nixon who organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Nixon was also pragmatic and extremely successful. He is now often viewed as a Tom. These men should be revered as examples of successful leadership.

I think the vilification of Nixon and Randolph would lessen if black people came to grips with their issues with acquiescence. Once a person accepts they did not directly confront the racism they encountered they can accept the behavior in other people. When can then realistically evaluate the sum of all actions and determine if the leader was successful or not. It is true many leaders acquiesce and get no benefit to themselves and the race at large. Acquiesce without results should be vilified. However, if you can prove the leader made the material conditions of black life better, then give the leader the credit they deserve.

To recap, ancestral reverence will help to integrate various aspects of a person’s personality. Once a person has a better understanding of themselves and their psychology, they will reevaluate many leaders from a more logical standpoint. Often we don’t like in leaders aspects of ourselves. As a community, doing shadow work will help us to choose the most suitable leaders.

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Read This If You Talk “WHITE”

This post will use the work and philosophy of Susan Cook-Greuter to analyze a common dynamic in the black community. The dynamic is on a personal level, and it happens when a person is accused of not wanting to identify with the black community when they display a personality trait not usually seen in the black community. Often people are charged with “Talking White” by speaking correctly. However, there are many other common triggers for this dynamic a few include:
 
+ Having dress inspired by a culture other than Hip-Hop
+ Striving to leave an economically depressed area
+ Having a culturally diverse group of friends
 
Typically the dynamic plays out with a black person that is focused more on goals, to ease communication I will call this person by the Cook-Greuter stage Conventional, and a black person more focused on relationships at the Cook-Greuter level Pre-Conventional. The Conventional person displays a personality trait seen as not prevalent in the black community. The Pre-Conventional person feels the relationship being threatened and attempts to reign the Conventional person back into the fold. The Pre-Conventional person’s need to restrain leads to a verbal or sometimes physical conflict. Frequently, the Conventional person is labeled a “sell-out, ” and the Pre-Conventional person is labeled “ghetto.” These labels are internalized and create conflict and suffering throughout the life of both individuals. Reframing the issue will allow for both parties to move forward in a healthy manner.
 
Many people will say the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic is nothing more than simple bullying or conflict experienced by all kids of all races. The difference between an intelligent black child being called “white” and an intelligent white child being called a “nerd” is the attack on identity. If a white child is referred to as a nerd, he is given an identity. If a black child is called white, he has his identity taken away. In the early stages of ego development identity is a chief concern. Therefore, the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic can be severely damaging to youth. The damage continues into adulthood and becomes an emotional shadow. Also, the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic is played out in adults in more subtle ways. However, a brief summary of Susan Cook-Greuter’s methodology and philosophy is needed before further discussion.
 
Summary of the work of Susan Cook-Greuter
 
Susan Cook-Greuter is a Harvard psychologist who studied Ego Development, the concept that there is a set progression of a person’s view of himself. The progression of self-concept or ego can be identified, and there are common themes and personality traits in each stage. A person cannot skip a step, and everyone goes through each stage in the same order. People can stay in one stage all their life. However, there will be a few individuals that move up the entire hierarchy.
 
Comprehensive Language Awareness (CLA) is the basis for Cook-Greuter’s philosophy. In CLA, reality is seen as a continuum of interdependent sensations. Language is a concept that is used to differentiate the sensations to allow for further understanding and expanding our experience to other people using communication. As we age, we perceive the various concepts created in language as reality. The confusion between the concepts and reality cause suffering.
 
Because language is the external expression of internal reality, the complexity of one’s language is measured. The individual’s language complexity can be used to determine the individual’s view of reality. Susan Cook-Greuter devised a language test administered over ten thousand times. She saw nine distinct stages after analyzing all the data. Other psychologists independently confirmed the stages.
 
There are nine (9) stages in Susan Cook-Greuter’s philosophy. A very brief description of each stage can be found below with the main fear. Fear is one of many attributes that define each stage.
 
0. Symbiotic Stage: The stage of all infants there is no differentiation of the self and other. The concept of fear has not developed.
 
Pre-conventional Stage
Impulsive: This level lasts from toddler to twelve years old, and self is seen as “in need, ” and other is seen as “provider.” The main fear is abandonment.
Self-protective: This level is common in the teenagers. The self is seen as stronger or weaker than other. The power dynamic is used to meet needs. The main fear is domination by others.
Conformist: This level focuses on being seen by others or “respected.” Fitting into external standards to be seen as acceptable to others is the chief strategy for getting needs met. The main fear is dissolution or change in the peer group.

Conventional Stage
4. Expert: This level focuses on a person discovering their unique talent and differentiating themselves. Self is different and superior to others, at least superior in some ways. Chief fear is loss of status
5. Achiever: This level has honed the talent and has begun to reap tangible results. Self is different and capable of understanding others. Chief fear is the loss of autonomy.

Post-Conventional
6. Pluralist: This level understands self is using an arbitrary framework to understand the world. Self understands frameworks of others; all frameworks are equally valid. Chief fear is not finding one’s true self
7. Autonomous: This level understands that frameworks are ultimately fallible and make meaning without frameworks. Self in as part of a historical continuum filled with others. Main fear is not living up to a person’s full potential.
8. Postautonomous stage: This level understands the self is just a framework, and a self-imposed life story is the cause of suffering. Main fear is no one will be able to understand them at this advanced stage.
9. Unitive: This level has let go of the concept of ego completely. No chief fear because there is no “self” to threaten. However, the idea of self is available if needed.
 
To bring the conversation back to the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic, the basis of the conflict is the incompatibility in fears. A Pre-Conventional paradigm is chiefly in fear of abandonment in one form or another. A Conventional paradigm is primarily fears loss of individualism. If the Conventional person does something to make the Pre-Conventional question the group identity, then the Pre-Conventional has to stop the Conventional person. If pressure is placed on the Conventional person, they will always defend their individuality. The two paradigms are horribly incompatible.
 
The conflict can be especially damaging for black people on both sides. In today’s more integrated world black people are often in a situation with few other black people. If being around the few other black people near him is taxing, he will often write-off black people. Many blacks don’t associate with other black people due to emotional shadows from the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional conflict. Sometimes the disdain is explicitly stated, and sometimes the disdain is not explicitly stated.
 
I will use an example from my life to illustrate how this conflict plays out.
 
In college, I worked in a laboratory doing research on artificial joints. Many of the other students in the program were graduate students, and after work, we would go to a local brewery. The brewery was a predominately white establishment, but I did not feel uncomfortable. I felt I was with my peers and co-workers. I liked the place, and I decided to take one of my black friends, Eddie, there on the weekend.
 
When we got there I got a beer, and he got wine. Most people at a brewery drink beer. He went back for a second wine, and he felt he had to wait a long time. He assumed that the bartender did not want to serve him because he was black. Many people believe black people do not tip. I countered by saying it is a busy night and this is your first time here. He should come more, so people get to know him. My rebuttal to Eddie’s conclusion that the incident was racially motivated sent Eddie through the roof and demanded we leave. He felt I was defending white people and I was blind to racism right in front of me.
 
He went on to say how he felt he could not relate to me. In his opinion, I did not identify with black culture enough. I will admit I did worry about racism less in college. My focus was on achieving, making good grades, and getting a good job. At the time I felt that racism was a distraction. Only concentrate on the things you can control. If Eddie or any of my other friends brought up racism, I would change the subject. I justified it by saying that I only want positivity in my life.
 
One of the many drawbacks of the Conventional stage is hyper-rationality. Hyper-rationality is when a person sees only the material side of an issue. When Eddie said he had to wait a long time for a drink and he felt that it was due to racism, I thought well he has a drink now, and he can’t prove that the wait was due to racism. I could only see the material aspect of the issue.
 
In addition to not seeing the emotional side of the issue, I was also heavily invested in feeling that individual striving could overcome racism. I wanted to be an engineer and have financial stability. If racism could derail me, then I will not be successful, and I will no longer have status. Also, if racism is prevalent, it is selfish for me to concentrate on my success. The bigger problem is racism, and I should be fighting racism. The extreme focus on my striving led to creating a shadow. The shadow is something that people of all races create to justify having a focus on self. A shadow I only recently gained the tools to dissect properly.
 
People in the Conventional stage have a hard time relating to the emotional side of the situation. My friend was hurting, and I should have been there for him. If he wanted to leave, I should have just left. My need for good beer was not that significant. The friendship was more important, and in hindsight, I did not have the capability to preserve the relationship.
 
Over the years we had about a million arguments around the same theme. I moved to South Carolina, and we lost contact. I often think about various arguments we had and replay them in my head. I want to know if I was justified in my rebuttals to the arguments. I wonder if his criticisms of me were valid. In retrospect none of that matters, it is all about the relationship.
 
I believe understanding the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional conflict in all its forms superimposed on race is a crucial step in healing the divide between black people. We have to get past all the labels we put on each other and ourselves. If not we will sabotage each other at every turn.
 
The Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional emotional shadow can start to be resolved in the Post-Conventional stage. In the Post-Conventional stage, people begin to let go of the idea of ego. They can also begin to accept and understand their shadow. In most of the Conventional stage, any criticism is an attack on the self. Post-Conventional people can take criticism and self-critique if necessary. If you find yourself or know someone wanting to tackle this issue here are some steps you can take to dissolve the shadow.
 
Steps to take to resolve this issue
 
First thing is a person needs to own that they have an emotional shadow around this issue. Evaluate how this particular issue plays out through journaling. Do not concentrate on what the other person did to you. Focus on the areas you could have changed and possible blind spots you have due to a hyper-focus on personal success. You can only control yourself, so become the best person you can be. Also, have defenses ready when you encounter the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic.
 
It would also be a good exercise to go through all the labels you have put on yourself and others when going through this dynamic. Often you may call someone “Ghetto” in a Pre-Conventional stage or if they are in a Conventional stage, “Boujee.” These labels cut both ways. By labeling someone “Ghetto,” you label yourself as “not Ghetto.” Then a subset of self – identity forms in which you can not do or like things that are “Ghetto.” The need to hold on to a “not Ghetto” identity can cause various pathologies including, overspending, isolating yourself, or disparaging other blacks. Much of the inter-class conflict in the black community comes from dealing with this dynamic.
 
Remember dealing with emotional shadows is a serious issue. There is a good chance you may never fully recover from the damage. Do not listen to people telling you this is a trivial concern. The effects of the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic are your experience and only you know the amount of damaged caused by the experience.
 
What to do if your child goes through this?
 
Now that we live in a more integrated society the experience of black people is more stratified. In addition to a wider variety of experiences, we have more exposure to whites and white culture. So the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic will become more and more prevalent. If you child comes home complaining about the way other black kids treat him, don’t shame the child for his or her feelings. If you do shame your child, they will hide the feelings from you and later their friends. The worst case will be the child develops an emotional shadow around the feelings at a young age that they never overcome.
 
The first thing you should do is realize that the child’s conflict with other black kids is due to advanced ego development. It is not the result of shame in being black or arrogance. Once you realize that your child experiencing this conflict is not a bad thing, help the child to reframe the issue around differing values in each person. Pre-Conventional stage people are focused on relationships. Conventional level people are focused on goals. Once the child realizes that the issue is not about whether they are “black enough” they can approach the situation at a more logical level. It could be true that the best short-term strategy is to avoid the other children, but when a new group of people comes around the child will be able to look at those people with a fresh face. A new relationship will not be affected by old baggage.
 
Conclusion
 
Emotional shadows caused by the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic cause serious trouble in the black community. There needs to be a serious effort to reframe the dynamic that allows us to reflect on the situation in a more logical manner.
 
Most of the information for this blog post came from “Nine Levels of Increasing Embrace” by Susan Cook-Greuter. For more on Susan Cook-Greuter check out her website http://www.cook-greuter.com.

Dr. Shariff Abdullah (1951-)

Dr. Shariff Abdullah
(1951 – )
 
Green Meme

 
Accomplishments
 
+ Provided legal services for low-income individuals in North Carolina
+ Member of the Black Panther Party
+ Lecturer at many Universities including Marylhurst and University of California – Berkeley
+ Won “Community Empowerment Award” from POTUS Jimmy Carter
+ Won the “MLK Lifetime Achievement Award” from the World Arts Foundation (2009)
+ Aided in negotiating peace between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers
+ Has three daughters who all went to Virginia State University
 
Biography
 
Shariff Abdullah was born Sherwood James Sanders in Philadelphia, PA in 1951. He was reared in Camden, NJ. He relays that Camden, NJ was severely economically depressed. His family could not escape economic hardship. He was able to read at eight years old, and his mother had to apply for public housing. They arrive at their new home, and Dr. Abdullah sees a sign that says “CONDEMNED.” The landlord looks at Dr. Abdullah and says “Don’t worry about it kid.”
 
Dr. Abdullah could not verbalize what he saw as wrong with his city. However, he knew he had to take action. At twelve Dr. Abdullah led a demonstration for improved housing with The Black People’s Unity Movement. His love for building his community grew, and at fifteen he aspired to be an Episcopal priest. Unfortunately, he saw the Episcopal Church do nothing to improve the actual living conditions of people, especially black people.
 
In college he converted to Islam, a religion he stayed in for fifteen years. He decided to leave the religion when he went to Friday prayer and said a man wearing a t-shirt that said: “Kill them all let G-d sort it out.” He saw this and voiced his disapproval. The others in the mosque had no problem with it. At this point, he decided this was not the religion for him.
 
Dr. Abdullah considers himself a Societal Transformationalist. The societal transformation he seeks happens first in individual consciousness. Dr. Abdullah integrates his consciousness with the beings around him. Once his consciousness is integrated, he can determine solutions. An integrated conciousness will remedy the root of the problem.
 
Dr. Abdullah is most know for negotiating a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and a rebel army called the Tamil Tigers. He worked with a Sri Lankan organization called Sarvodaya. His team was respected by both sides and was able to understand the needs of both armies. After the war was over, the organization facilitated the writing of the Sri Lankan constitution.
 
Basic Philosophy
 
Dr. Abdullah believes in creating a world that works for all beings. He recommends looking into the nature of the ideal society. Frequently, people focus on immediate problems that are mostly symptomatic. People then become dogmatic about their solution path and various camps are created. The building of these philosophic schools leads to more conflict. Those in power utilize the conflict to manipulate people for personal gain.
 
To change your consciousness, a person must first understand consciousness. There are three basic types of consciousness. The first consists of the stance that the individual is separate and above all other beings and is called “breaker” consciousness. The second consists of the stance that there is no individual, we are all one, and the one is sacred. This stance is called “keeper” consciousness. The last stance is called “mender” consciousness. The “menders” were formally “breakers” that converted to the “keeper” philosophy. “Menders” have the ability to heal the world because they have a thorough understanding of both stances.
 
Once a person’s consciousness has improved, he or she must implement their vision. Societal change does not come from protest or getting bills through Congress. It comes from fulfilling a vision. If repairs need to happen on the road, block the road and fix it. Don’t wait on the government! If anything, tell the government to improve the road by a specific date or we will. The transformers must focus on the solution. Protesting focuses energy on what is not wanted making the problem worse.
 
Dr. Abdullah is also against violence. Violence only releases anger and produces no creative energy. The non-violent stance is a one hundred and eighty-degree shift from his earlier days as a black Muslim and a Black Panther. In retrospect, he sees that the anger they inflicted on each other the anger they had for the greater society. Indulging in anger led to the organization becoming dysfunctional.
 
Shadow to Light (S2L) Program
 
The Shadow to Light (S2L) program is a group study program designed to remove emotional blockages called a shadow. Shadow, as Dr. Abdullah explains, is anything that blocks divine light. The student will eliminate these emotional blockages that cause the shadow, and their consciousness will improve. As the course progresses and more people take the course a critical mass will be reached. The planet will begin to shift at critical mass.
 
Shadow is another word for fear, and Dr. Abdullah has categorized the fear under four groups.
+The shadow of violence
+The shadow of other (racism, sexism, other aspects of other)
+The shadow of lack (poverty, greed, hoarding)
+The shadow of despair (depression, suicide, mass homicide)
 
Shadow blocks light. Dr. Abdullah has categorized the Lights under four groups.
+The light of peace and security
+The light of inclusive community
+The light of abundance
+The light of deep fulfillment
 
The removal of shadow is essential because Shadow causes most of life’s problems. Shadow keeps us small, unenlightened and perceiving reality in an incomplete way. Shadow keeps us from our best selves. As a result of so many people not living up to their full potential, society resides in a perpetual state of injustice. Insecurity, immorality, and mindlessness is the basis of the current culture.
 
The process of living causes shadows to form. Messages from authority figures and peers can make people value things that are not important or feel doom is imminent. Dr. Abdullah also discusses of shadows can be passed down in DNA. A person’s DNA holds trauma from past generations. Life circumstances can trigger the embedded trauma DNA.
 
There are many reason shadows form and linger. The first is denying that the shadow exists. Many people go through life never even attempting to deal with or understand their shadow. Personal stories also help to maintain shadow. If a person fears intimacy, he will say women don’t like him because he is poor. The individual will subconsciously sabotage his attempts to make money. The lack of money will give him an excuse to not be intimate. He will never have to face his fear.
 
The shadow to light technique is an elaborate process that takes a few weeks. The scope of this analysis can not give Dr. Abdullah’s method proper justice. However, the process involves building a sacred altar to ground a person in the shadow she is trying to remove. A person meditates on the energy and moves the energy from her mind. Then there is a closing ceremony to acknowledge the energy is out of the mind. The S2L process is the beginning of the transformation. A person will work on fully removing the shadow over many years.
 
Next Steps in Human Consciousness
 
Dr. Abdullah believes there is an all encompassing consciousness that can influence events in physical reality. He has six main precepts to this philosophy.

+All is alive
+All is conscious
+All is connected
+Mind is all-pervasive
+Consciousness is universal
+The laws of physics bend toward consciousness
 
The last point is one that he feels particularly imperative to prove. As evidence, he provides Arthur Koestler’s heat lamp experiment. He connected a heat lamp to a random number generator. If the random number generator had an even number, the light would turn on, if odd it turned off. He verified that the light stayed on fifty percent of the time by letting the random number generator cycle ten thousand iterations. Then he did the same experiment with unborn chickens under the lamp. The lamp stayed on an amount of time beyond statistical probability. Dr. Koestler repeated the experiment with an independent observer. This time there was one tray of fertilized eggs and one tray of hard-boiled eggs. The observed did not know which tray had which type of egg. The tray with the fertilized eggs had the lamp stay on an amount of time out of statistical probability.
 
He also references the Princeton Egg Experiment. In the experiment, random number generators were set all over the world. The researchers noticed the random number generators create a significantly significant amount of even numbers before catastrophic events. Noted instances of this happening were, the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia and the September 11th attacks.
 
Transcendental meditation conducted an experiment on meditation in a city. The meditation group organized hundreds of meditators to meditate at a particular time of day. Crime including murder rates dropped significantly in that hour. Confirmation for the experiment came after the experiment was repeated in many cities.
 
These cases serve as evidence that our consciousness can have an effect on physical reality and there are “other-worldly” forces he calls the Life-Energy Field, at work in our daily lives. People on a meditation path can begin to develop these powers of the Life – Energy Field. He specifically details the Five Latent Powers listed below.
 
+Collective Telepathy / Knowing
+Spatial Powers
+Temporal Powers
+Communication Powers
+Bodily Powers
 
Without going into extreme detail, he lists as sub-categories to these powers, shape shifting, teleportation, communication with plants, communication with animals, and weather control. More common latent power subcategories include changing heart rate, respiration, and power of prayer.
 
Examples of collective telepathy he sites are the knowledge of Polynesians to discover uninhabited islands. He claims that would set out to sea on canoes and know where to row. Another example of group telepathy was his ability to sing a song in a language he had never heard of before during an Ayahuasca trip. He recounts himself and a close friend being able to sing the song on key with correct pronunciation.

He also uses as evidence recounts of an ancient civilization, known as Zhangzung (500 BC – 625 AD). Zhangzung predates ancient Tibet, a culture occupying the area currently. There are many stories of the people of Zhangzung having many of the powers Dr. Abdullah calls latent powers.
 
Dr. Abdullah is aware that many people will not be able to believe the Life-Energy force exist. His contention is these people are unimportant. It is not his student’s job to convert non-believers. The goal is to grow and cultivate the people that are on board with these plans. Again, there will be a critical mass reached, and the world can move into what he calls the Third Global Civilization. Ancient cultures such as Zhangzung represent the First Global Civilization, modern man occupies the Second Global Civilization, and our glorious future represents the Third Global Civilization.
 
What he has right
 
Dr. Abdullah has a thorough understanding of shadow. The most important aspect of his work on shadow are the tangible methods for removing Shadow. He also explains how shadow holds individuals back. Again I highly recommend his study of shadow work.
 
He is correct that until people’s mindset has changed, there will be not a real improvement of the state of the world. All other measures will be partial and only affect symptoms. The world will continue to create more flowery language and predatory systems.
 
Dr. Abdullah’s view of violence is also correct. Violence always causes more problems than it solves. The anger that begets violence should be acknowledged, analyzed, and released. Working through the anger will allow your relationships to improve. Once a person has begun to progress effort should be made to bring others along.
 
What he has wrong
 
Many meditation traditions include stories of people gaining supernormal powers after decades of sustained practice. However, this does not happen frequently enough for people to compile sufficient verifiable evidence. When Dr. Abdullah talks about the latent powers in an audience of meditators of all levels he does them a huge disservice. First, beginning meditators will make it a goal to develop latent powers. If the development of latent powers is possible, only a handful of serious practitioners will attain the powers. There are enough positive benefits from meditation that almost everyone experiences. Among these common benefits, reduced anxiety and improved cognition. No reason to get people’s hopes up in developing powers they more than likely will not attain.
 
It is also important to make sure you control public opinion around your movement. When Dr. Abdullah says, we do not have to convert the “Anti’s” or the “Richard Dawkins” of the world he underestimates how people can thwart his movement. When he has youtube videos or blogs on latent human powers that non-believers and naysayers can view it, it could lead to a negative backlash. There could be a large group of people making his movement out to be a bunch of wackos. Dr. Abdullah says in one of his talks about latent human powers that “George Lucas had it right.” Many people would write him off at this statement and miss out on all the information he has to give. In short, leave talk of latent powers to people deep inside the movement.
 
Dr. Abdullah should do more work directly with black people in America. His work in Sri Lanka, Czechoslovakia, and United Nations is commendable. However, many of these other cultures have people within their culture with similar expertise. For example, Sri Lanka sends people all over the world to study. Many of these people could have provided the services that Dr. Abdullah provided.
 
However, Black Americans, especially descendants of slaves, do not get people from all over the world helping them out. Many analysts have equated the condition of blacks in America to people living in third world countries. For example, a black man in Cuba lives five years longer than his counterpart in the USA. There is no significant global outcry for our plight. Many people in foreign countries see their countryman coming to America and becoming successful and wondering why blacks are not doing the same thing. These people from outside the USA do not understand the emotional and psychological toll of generational disenfranchisement.
 
Dr. Abdullah could be especially useful due to his knowledge of New Age Spirituality. In the black community, we have many spiritual teachers that put themselves at the top of religious organizations and demand unquestioning loyalty from their followers. The members will defend these leaders no matter what level of evidence piles against them or how many transgressions they commit. Eddie Long and Malachi York are only two examples of spiritual leaders defended under all circumstances. An internally generated spirituality would be a tremendous benefit and prevent many black people from being manipulated. Most of the followers of these “hustling preachers” are genuinely looking for something greater. Not many people are telling them the answer is within.
 
In one of Dr. Abdullah’s talks, he explains how Ivy League professors came to aid in writing the constitution. These experts demanded their input be taken seriously despite not knowing much about the culture. Dr. Abdullah only lived in Sri Lanka a few years. He was able to become a major player negotiating peace and writing the constitution. If he was able to make that type of change in Sri Lanka, imagine what he could have done in his hometown of Camden.
 
Dr. Abdullah also lets the government off the hook to provide public goods. He recounts a story in which a street was damaged. Many citizens protested to get the government to repair the road. Dr. Abdullah recommended the citizens shut down the road and fix it themselves. This is horrible direction. The residents paid their taxes and are now owed a public good of functional roads. If the citizens fix the road themselves, they pay taxes twice. When a group has limited resources, they cannot afford double taxation. We must force the government to provide public goods.
 
Changing laws to be more favorable to black people is also paramount to our struggle. The ultimate end to racism will not come until people’s hearts change, but in the meantime, laws can restrain people from harming others. One example Dr. Abdullah provides is gun control. He recounts if you pass gun laws, then people will stab each other. That may be true, but you can’t stab fifty people in two minutes. Proper gun laws prevent mass shootings. Australia’s gun ban has prevented mass shooting for decades. Dr. Abdullah underplays the value of pressuring the government to act.
 
Where is Dr. Abdullah on the Spiral
 
Dr. Abdullah is firmly in the Green Meme. His philosophy concentrates on the psychological and spiritual aspects of racism. He has created particular systems to move people up the Spiral. Concrete processes to remove racism from the mind is an aspect of the struggle is not talked about nearly enough.
 
Unfortunately, like many other Green Meme individuals, he undervalues the importance of the daily circumstances surrounding black life, especially with his people, the descendants of slaves. I would like to see more articles on specific problems affecting the black community. He is all over the world helping and learning from every group of people. It appears the plight of the people he is closests to and can have the most effect on, are going by the wayside. In a color-blind paradigm, descendants of slaves get put on the back burner. Green Meme individuals love to fly all over the world to save everyone else and walk right by their countrymen.
 
Where can you find out more on Dr. Abdullah
 
The reader should check out Dr. Abdullah’s websites.
 
http://shariff.commonway.org/
http://www.commonway.org/
 
Sources
 
Most of the information in this article came from Dr. Abdullah’s youtube channel and TED Talk. Dr. Abdullah also has many blogs his website.
 
Disclaimer

 
The page above is a personal blog that is not an official Spiral Dynamics Blog. The work of Clare Graves and Don Beck is the basis for this article. For more information on Spiral Dynamics, please go to the website below.
 

http://www.spiraldynamics.net/dr-don-beck.html

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