Early Morning Thoughts On the Abuse of Power

I awoke in darkness. Rain played soft rhythms against the roof. Thunder rumbled, a belly laugh from the Thunder Beings.  The rain fell progressively harder, then let up. Another storm rolled through. Then another.

In my half sleep, I heard a whispered invitation. “Merge,” sang the voice. “Merge with the storm. Let go. Merge.”

I rose towards wakefulness. The rain was now a Female Rain, soft, little sound. I drifted into the storm’s being, but could not quite let go. Some anxiety stepped between me and merging. I remembered other mergings, and felt the presence of other places and beings.  Although I was still tired, I could not go back to sleep. I thought and fretted.

Several friends were fired this week from a business with which I have had a long and important affiliation. In the process they were treated badly, their many years of service ignored, or worse, the cause of their dismissals as the company seeks to destroy institutional memory. I questioned how it is that cruelty and greed can deeply enter people and institutions, even supposedly progressive businesses.

I struggled to understand how it is that such institutions sacrifice their progressive values, becoming just as oppressive and mean-spirited as the institutions they were born to challenge. Do we become what we behold?

I found myself questioning my relationship with the institution, wondering whether I could ethically continue any association with such an organization. I felt disease as I stood before the yawning gap separating the company’s public image and the behavior of the institution’s officers, the chasm between the original purpose born of vision, and the colonizing intent of a few powerful people with visions of grandeur.

I lay awake, in the early morning rain,  pondering the likelihood that totalizing power inevitably corrupts, and the desire of states and individuals to forget, or to erase, historical and collective memory. I lay there,  remembering the many medicine men and women and shamans who have chosen poverty  so they would not be tempted by power.  They wished to be present to the people and the spirits, and realized the corrosive nature of institutional power. Their lives were hard, yet they often spoke of feeling blessed, and looked forward to going home to the Creator knowing their hearts and souls were whole.

Some of those holy people laughed at the folly of those entrapped by power. Others wept. Still others stood before the onrushing tide of hatred and injustice and called upon the perpetrators to repent and feel shame. A few of those power entrapped folks eventually answered the call, feeling and speaking remorse, and beginning the long healing.

Now, as the afternoon rains fall, I still wonder at all that has happened, and ponder what may come next.

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7 thoughts on “Early Morning Thoughts On the Abuse of Power

  1. Oh 😦 I am so sorry to hear this; when we talked on the phone I did not fully understand all of the ramifications/details of the workshop and the “organization”…very hard things to deal with. Your dream is understandable considering all that is going on…sorry you could not return to rest.

    • Thank you Sienna. Of course, I am only on the periphery of these events. I imagine were I in he middle, I would not find it so easy to write. I would also most likely have less sleep. Still, it is sad to watch so much destructive behavior. I think being of Native ancestry makes us even more aware of the misuse of institutional power. It certainly keeps issues of forgetting and erasure in view. I am also reminded of my Quaker friends who find their Christianity places them firmly and irrevocably on the battle lines in these issues. One finds oneself frequently wondering just what is the most moral, or effective, course of action, given the sheer magnitude of the problem, which is now intrinsic to the culture. > Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 18:52:06 +0000 > To: mwatsonlcmhc@hotmail.com >

  2. Michael I awoke to your beautiful photos and writing. Thank you for your thoughts. They are such an important reminder of how I want to walk I this world.

    Hope your summer goes well.

    Warmly yours

    Diane T Gottlieb

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. Thank you, Micael, for your gentle, but poignant, insights. The call to merge, to let the soft, gentle rain clense you…such a beautiful gift. In the midst of the dance this year, I found myself spontaneously meditating, and receiving advice which may or may not be of service to you. As I lay on the ground, wrapped in my tarp with a gentle rain falling, I heard these words over and over again: “Receive without fear, act with love…”

    As we watch our institutions grow darker and more violent, we realize that the brighter the light shines, the darker the shadows grow in response. Yet dragged fully into the light, these things cannot stand for long. They whither, blow away like smoke, and fall into the light from which they originally came…

    • Thanks, Ben.

      I do, as I do often, find your thoughts and words to be helpful. Today, I am not sure how to encourage madness into the light. Of course, Prophesy is playing out at all levels of the culture. The problem is we humans have brief lives and Prophesy unfurls over many generations. That said, as you know well, we do our best to be lights, to keep the faith, and to be kind. Michael

      > Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2012 12:29:42 +0000 > To: mwatsonlcmhc@hotmail.com >

      • Indeed, Michael. And it’s often made even more difficult by the lizard-brain orientation of the culture at large.

        Even though emotional ties tend to get the better of me at times, I’m beginning to see that we can’t change anyone into anything but extensions of our own egos. Instead, we must walk our own path to en-light-enment, and pray that the ripples it sends out will effect creation for the greatest good of all…

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