African Meditation Preamble: Spiraling Cognitive Flex
One thing that hurts us a collective is that we’re able to see whites as individuals. We all have white people – friends and/or family members who we can’t honestly distance ourselves from, regardless of how hard we may try. Through our acceptance of these people as ‘individuals’ we have to simultaneously take on ways of thinking that reinforce their will to oppress us.
There’s a process that underlies this, and while relatively few whites completely understand (and revel) in it, next to none of us do. It’s important for us to know.
Reification is a concept in “western” (white) psychology that describes how their brains fill-in what they perceive as a negative space of something “concrete” with something “abstract” or illusory.
White people, in their practice of racism, employ this concept in understanding everything – themselves included. This reification – which is in truth, insanity – has an effect that creates an illusion of spiritual distance and separation. As African people and spiritually aware non-whites know, our day-to-day spiritual decay allows whites to make these illusions become “real” experiences for us, and by proxy, them.
However, what they don’t reify, or ‘make real’ in their life, is the “nothingness” or seamlessness of spiritual life that allows us to resist their utmost destructive compulsions.
A simple illustration.
For a white person, it’s accurate to say that right now, they’re standing or sitting on some type of surface, reading this article on their smartphone, laptop, or other device. They may be eating, or undertaking any other number of actions while they do it. They might feel a certain way, angry or sad, happy, nervous. The description of these interacting elements, to them, represent “facts”: the deadening or contraction of reality to what is measurable for a specific instance in space and time.
The spiritual reality, on the other hand, goes beyond simple facts and weaves together deeper understandings.
Take something innocuous- a pair of shorts for instance. They may or may not be comfortable, eye-catching, affordable, or any other number of descriptive terms. Beyond that reification however, what they’re beholding is expansive spiritual energy. Phenomenon not truly bound.
Composed of thread and fibers from plants and animals attempting to live in balance in nature -each sacred, woven by non-white humans – each sacred, with names and families – each sacred attempting to balance and integrate their lives in a way that reaffirms nature’s order. Their struggles woven into fabric. Machinery – hardened, deadened metals, powered by circuitry formed from earth and ores stolen from our motherland, helps automate the process.
The forces of the earth – the “elements”, also under white domination, are forced into submission on their journey across the water. The water, once pure and clean, is now polluted as barges and tankers move “product” from coastline to coastline. The air, polluted, its direction and power tracked and monitored just as slyly as they do to us in this area of the world.
After the physical journey, soulless marketing executives concoct entire campaigns of deception, and trampling businessmen distribute this processed, condensed energy in exchange for submission to a system that demands a one-sided form of thought. As we acquiesce to this process, we continually reinforce its efficiency, and therefore, its “rationality”.
All of this – in what we mistake as a simple “object”.
In our living under their domination and defining reality on their terms, we see all of this as normal and create an African self-denying prophecy. If our “objective” is to break that domination we have to learn how to redefine, which is difficult. We run the risk of being labelled crazy by those we care about. However, risk is something we have to get more comfortable with.
Many of our scholars, such as Marimba Ani, have described the “rationality” of white’s desacralizing process – the positioning of reason over emotion. “Yurugu’s” mind. The positioning of their detached reasoning over our emotions which would say something much more expansive.
Such disastrous ways of thinking take time and effort for us to defuse, a part of that defusing is recognizing the limitations of these words even as we read them now. All language is an abstraction so it can’t get at the heart of what we need to convey to each other, only spiritual connection can.
African spirituality is based completely in reciprocity. Our “sin” was accepting white deception for material gain. In order for us to regain what we’ve lost, we have to be willing restart and continuously uphold a spiritual connection with nature, our creator.
With the meditation tomorrow, what we seek to bring into our lives is spiritual communion with our ancestors and with nature. As you step through the elements in going “outdoors”, and as you nourish your being in cleansing with water, look deeply inside yourself to remember the connection that every step and touch carries.
For many of us it’s been long, harsh, and silent decades since we’ve felt that connection. It used to be as common for us to uphold as it is for a person to check their phone in these unforgiving days. So tomorrow night, as you construct your altar and make ancestral communion, the most important thing you can do is to remember that presence. Remember that despite our enemy’s ireful gaze and deadly touch, an undercurrent of spiritual power lies untouched, waiting for us to reclaim it. As the impulses guide you tomorrow night, speak the words that resonate with your reclamation of that power.