Question: Getting sexually harassed is not being “hurt in love!” How can this horrible occurrence be equated with being “hurt in love” when it doesn’t happen as an act of love? It’s an act of lust, abuse of power, misogyny. I get angry when I hear people say “everything is love.” How can sexual harassment be loving?
Michael Richardson-Borne: I’d go along with your line of thinking if we were here to focus on the short-sighted view of the separate self and its addiction to streamlining reality into a narrow culture of separation. What you say makes perfect sense – but there is an assumption you are missing that ensures the problem you speak of will continue indefinitely. No amount of righteous anger or justified discontent about human pain will ever be enough to find a cure if you continue to plant your worldview in the assumptive soil of the separate self.
Sexual harassment is lived by love but not acted out as an expression of non-separation. This is the crux of all that I point to. All behaviors transpire, whether perceived as good or bad, in love and as love – but not necessarily in alignment with the wisdom of this effortless unfolding. Being “hurt in love” is a metaphor – a metaphor for how the separate self can be hurt as an individual in relationship with another individual, even though neither of these individuals exists in the way they think. Both perceived individuals are being hurt in love because love is not recognized from either side. This is what happens in a world where division is accepted as the norm and non-separation is forgotten. Being hurt in love points to the understanding that what you think of as your self is inside of love – not the other way around. Love is not inside of what you think of as you.
But again, the way you are interpreting “hurt in love” is perfectly logical. The question is this: Do you want to continue our use of separative logic? Or would you like to explore non-separative logic?
Q: Let’s try the latter. But first, what is the culture of separation?
MR-B: The culture of separation is the global culture that has emerged from humanity’s attachment to the primary assumption of a separate self. From this assumption, a culture misaligned with your true being defines your existence and creates the game rules by which you live. It’s the limiting air you’re breathing this very moment. Even though you don’t recognize it, you are very familiar with the agitation of this limitation that underlies what you think of as your individual life.
Q: But what does a culture of separation have to do with conflating being “hurt in love” with sexual harassment?
MR-B: You ask this question because you do not understand how the love and sexual harassment you speak of are the very same thing.
The culture of separation creates a framework where worries about the conflation of separative love with separative sexual harassment feel urgent enough to demand attention. In the culture of separation, these kinds of issues seem important to speak out against so they don’t become ingrained in the lexicon of the culture’s accepted illusion. This is what the media calls “culture wars,” a battle over concepts – which is the violence you are demonstrating with your current line of questioning. Battling over concepts is a favorite pastime of the separate self. You can continue to play this game for a lifetime – or you can realize the source of all concepts and be lived as this realization.
I can tell you’re ready to pounce – but hear me out for one more second. From non-separation, it is seen that when there is a conflation of concepts, a pre-existing conflation lives in the background that confuses the story of a separate self with that which is aware of and living it. Notice that it’s not the conflation of love and sexual harassment that you find confusing – on that topic, you have clarity about your point of view. It’s the realization of non-separation that you find confusing. You have yet to understand how two concepts can live in non-separative love as expressions of separation.
If you understood this, which amounts to understanding the true self, you would immediately recognize the innate confusion of your inquiry and instantly alleviate your worry about surface features that all have the same separative root.
Q: But haven’t you noticed the recent climate change in the United States in regards to speaking out against sexual harassment, mainly in the workplace? An emergent ecosystem seems to have developed where women are more empowered to speak out into an open space where we are actually taken seriously. There are now real consequences for sexual harassment. Basically, everyone has heard of it by now – it’s called the “me too” movement. The women who spoke out were named Time’s “person of the year” as “the silence breakers.” Don’t you see this as a positive movement for us?
MR-B: Who is the “us” you speak of? Do you see how this use of language and believing the reality it presents is the architecture of separation between genders? Can you see how belief in the unreal pins the results of the unreal onto the real? Can you see how attachment to the unreal keeps you from noticing a smoothly swinging pendulum? Instead of seeing the easy motion, you attempt to hold the weight of the pendulum to one side, you attempt to obstruct a motion that is impossible to obstruct. You feel this weight in every moment, but believe it is the only way to experience life. You believe you must maintain tremendous effort to make your distinction of gender more powerful or more equal – not understanding that a concept can never hold true power or true equality. In a culture where one is encouraged, dare I say demanded, to focus on external features rather than the deep feature, can you open your story enough to allow the light of what is prior to and unifying all features to enter the shadows a belief in gender casts?
Even if the movement you are pointing to is considered positive by some in the culture of separation, it still will not suppress the pain of the “us” you define. As long as there is an us rather than a singular I, there will continue to be a painful roller-coaster that manifests in relationships between separate selves and conceptual groupings of separate selves.
Please note that what I’m saying does not mean I am in agreement with sexual harassment – it’s just not where my focus lives because agreeing or disagreeing does nothing to align the problem with its solution. This is not a dismissal of the hurt and invalidation felt by women – that would obviously be a lack of compassion for the self. What is being provided here is a space for the recognition of who these harassing scenarios are actually happening to and the mechanism by which they unfold.
What I’m saying is that I don’t magnify the problem, I magnify the solution and invite you to see the enlarged image. I don’t get locked in the drama of separation and instead point to where the problem of harassment can be solved. I am pointing to an experience where sides disappear and behaviors become naturally aligned with the self. I am pointing to a recognition that the whole is the cause of the whole.
Can you now see that you’re starving with an apple in your hand? Instead of continuing to try to polish the apple into brighter shades of red – just eat it.
Instead of designing kites that won’t fly, realize the wind.
Q: But don’t you believe that politicians who are accused of sexual harassment are unfit for office?
MR-B: Nobody is fit for office in this country if sanity is a pre-requisite. Being labeled “unfit for office” in the culture of separation should be a given – as being fit for office means being fit to perpetuate the culture of separation, a skill that requires insanity committed to insanity. Leading an illusion from the belief in an illusion may make one fit to lead the continuance of illusion – but no amount of “character,” trustworthiness,” “intelligence,” or “political acumen,” can erase the belief in a separate self and the destructive baggage this belief drags with it.
Kicking one political leader who is lost in separation to the curb and replacing them with another addict of separation is not a win for the people and does not demonstrate any kind of moral authority. Replacing the unfit with the unfit is just another movement of the insane. Only those who know the self are fit to govern – which leaves the process of self-inquiry at the unexplored center of both national and international politics.
One last comment. Just like nobody is fit for office, nobody is ever guilty of sexual harassment. Assigning blame for the movement of the whole is non-sensical while we constantly remind ourselves that we live in a world built on rationality and common sense.
Q: So, is there a place for morality and ethics in non-separation?
MR-B: The division the belief in a separate self initiates creates the conditions where morality and ethics are useful. As long as the assumption of a separate self remains in place, there will be a need for ethics and morality – which are conceptual guidelines for the concept of the separate self. Without an overarching ethical story meant to control the divisive desires and impulses of the separate self, there is an intuitive concern that humanity would go even further off the tracks than it already is.
That said, protecting our world from sexual harassment does not live in the story of morality and ethics. The solution to misogyny, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual discrimination does not live in the rules of morality and ethics. Only healing the confusion of the separate self can get to the foundation of the problem.
True ethics and morality are those that come from the recognition of the prior unity living all of us. The current witch hunt for sexual violators is a hunt for abusive individuals who are assumed to be self-authoring. Behavior is viewed as a choice made by individuals separate from the movement of the whole. Seeing through this illusion and understanding the applications will be the end of morals and ethics – which will, one day, be viewed as outdated just like the theory of a flat Earth is today.
Q: In non-separation, what would the rehabilitation process look like for all of the men that have recently been accused?
MR-B: The same rehabilitation process is needed for sex offenders and non-sex offenders alike – which is the transition from belief in a separate self to being a living embodiment of non-separation.
This is the blind spot of the “silence breakers.”