GratitudeMorning Meditations

Giving a F*@#: the Difference Between Neutrality and Apathy

posted by jean January 16, 2018 0 comments

As I waited, much longer than usual, at the stop light near my house this morning, I wept.  I’m not entirely sure what inspired so many tears, but I know it had a lot to do with the large, colorful parade of happy children crossing the intersection on their way from Walker Elementary School to the SOU (Southern Oregon University) campus.

Through tears and laughter, I noticed that many of the hundred plus children waved signs or banners above their heads, and the entire procession, with a giant puppet swimming in the lead, exuded enthusiasm, purpose and playfulness.  I could not read their banners from where I observed this beautiful scene, but to me the specifics didn’t matter.  The joy and inspiration of these children on their mission was a healing sight to behold.  And, although I had the passing thought that, I too, would be overjoyed to be a child freed from the usual, mostly mundane and repetitive, confines of the classroom, I knew there was much more to their unified creative expression than this.

The children bounding along together with such joyful intention were an unexpectedly delightful demonstration of Spirit in action.  They had a unified purpose and energy.  They expressed that purpose with Joy and enthusiasm. And their presence was healing and inspiring, rather than upsetting and divisive.  While in some ways the form of their gathering and movement appeared similar to protest demonstrations common amidst the world’s various political conflicts, this demonstration was not only peaceful, it was joyful, exuded creativity and fun, and brought a sense of lightness, ease and inspiration to its witnesses (from what I observed).

Perhaps without even realizing it, the children (and the parents and teachers with them) demonstrated that making our voices heard is as simple as sharing our Joy.  As adults, we tend to complicate just about everything 😀  We also tend to confuse caring about something (or “giving a f*@#”) with resistance, while equating neutrality with apathy (or “not giving a f*@#”).  The popular #resist movement reminds me of how much we get things backwards as humans.  It’s not that a movement in opposition to fascism, racism, sexism and all the other isms is bad or wrong.  It’s that a movement that comes from a place of sharing joy and inspiration will actually create the intended results.  Whereas, a movement that comes from being in total resistance and fighting against that which we do not want (while judging, condemning and hating what we do not like and want with fierce intensity), actually creates more of what we do not want or like.  The irony of the #resist movement is that it is only from a place of non-resistance, what I am calling neutrality, within us that we can create what we would like to see instead.  What you resist persists 😉

Creating is sharing.  The children I witnessed today created joy wherever they went simply by sharing their natural joy.  And perhaps because as children they have not been conditioned yet to resist, hate, judge and condemn everything they do not like, their demonstration was playful, light hearted and fun.  It did not exude the more typical adult demonstrations characterized by anger, hatred, fear and pain.  Their inherent neutrality gave space for their true caring to be shared.  Unlike how, as adults, we often try to show that we care by fighting against (resisting) until we get overwhelmed and retreat into apathy (still resistance).

When we give what we do not like or want space to be, rather than fight it through judgement, hatred and resistance, we simultaneously give ourselves space to be.  (Because we are not separate!)  Only then can we create what we do like and want.  Neutrality is Space, Freedom and Havingness.  Resistance is Fear, Non-Havingness, Control and Limitation.  Neutrality allows us to truly create, while resistance (either active or through apathy) results in effort, pain and limitation.  Neutrality does not mean that you do not care (aka “give a f*@#” 😀 ) or that you ignore the pain and ugliness you would like to change.  That is apathy: resistance buried in overwhelm.  In neutrality you have space to share how much you do care (aka Love). When you are not putting your energy into resisting and hating, you are free to just Be, and from this beingness you naturally share your Love and creative inspiration with ease and grace.

I am grateful to the beautiful parade of children today who’s happy marching through town reminded me of how simple it is to create joy in the world.  And how easy and truly impactful it is to Love rather than hate.  Thank you for the healing, children!


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