Race Relations & Tunnel Vision with Kodak Black

Question: At the beginning of the video, a stereotypical white man from rural America is wearing a red hat that says “Make America Hate Again.” Do you think President Trump is making people in the United States hate again?

Michael Richardson-Borne: Is he personally forcing people to hate? No. That said, his election seems to be activating most identities to feel a little friskier than usual. His campaign messaging, cabinet selections, and executive orders could be seen to send a message of racial and religious division. Also, using the slogan “Make America Great Again” points to a time in the past that was better– and Trump isn’t very specific about what he means by this. The open-ended nature of this phrase allows a lot of room for interpretation, which hate groups seem to be using to validate the expression of their worldviews.

But the hate in our hearts existed long before the election of Donald Trump. Whichever way the election went last November, the result would have been the same– a country with policies rooted in separation. Both candidates ran on platforms that assumed a separate self to be the basis of their reality, which is a violent and hate-filled assumption. Every president the United States has ever elected has run on this exact same hateful platform– one that reinforced the illusion of a collection of millions of self-authoring individuals. Solutions to America’s problems with various forms of hate do not exist on this platform, no matter how much we try to preach a message of hope or a return to greatness. Real hope and greatness are giving people a glimpse of non-separation– to empower them with a narrative that provides them a path to their birthright of freedom from the separate self.

In order for hate to exist, there must be an other, a target concept, or group of concepts, to be differentiated from what you call your separate self. But, also, what you call the separate self must be differentiated from its own absence as well as what is aware of both the entity and the absence. This is something that happened to you unnoticed, an occurrence that left you encapsulated in a contrived experience of self. The separation of your identity from awareness is the seed of hate. This seed sprouted an other– and others to this other were simultaneously born. Belief in separation has left you relating through layers of division that aren’t there when you take a closer look. All hate transpires through an imaginary filter of self and other. Can we blame Donald Trump for humanity’s inability to recognize this simple occurrence that seeds hate in all of us by casting the illusion of a separate self? If no, then who are we to blame?

Q: I don’t know if I understand what you mean by “the separate self.” Can you explain it?

MR-B: Sure. The title of the song is a perfect lead-in to answer your question as the separate self has a very bad case of tunnel vision.

The separate self is a tunnel within consciousness that is filled with a story viewed by the mind as absolute. At the foundation of this story that fills your tunnel is the assumption of separation. This assumption makes it appear that the shifting story in your tunnel is happening to someone rather than just happening. Believing the former is tunnel vision, surrendering to the latter is non-separation.

Looking solely through what you think of as your personal tunnel to the exclusion of the greater tunnel of consciousness is what the separate self experience is like. The personal tunnel you are in believes that you are an autonomous decision making entity and uses the memory and continuity of story to further entrench the belief in separation.

Outside of your tunnel is a broader consciousness that holds everything within it, including your personal tunnel. Can you see the trivial nature of your separate self? Seeing this will help you break free of tunnel vision. You will see how an ocean of light moves through a tunnel with an opening the size of a pinprick. You will begin to experience the ocean. And as the pinprick opening begins to grow, more and more you will experience that you are the light, not the conceptual and physical products of light. You may even see that the light and the products are not separate and that the personal tunnel and the greater consciousness is being lived by something impersonal. This is what I call non-separation.

So, the separate self is a personal experience that is being lived by an impersonal beingness. When one does not see the impersonal, that is tunnel vision or being lost in the separate self. When one becomes the impersonal, the personal tunnel remains but the vision around it is total.

Q: In your estimation, what is race? And can race be a tool for awakening?

MR-B: Race is a peripheral aspect of tunnel vision, a story within the tunnel of separation, a shadow of the separate self that isn’t real.

But let me say that I don’t want to diminish the pain people who undergo discrimination experience. The suffering is real. But the suffering is caused by a belief in the unreal by actors who can’t see the pre-existing unity of non-separation.

When you attach stories of race to the foundational assumption of a separate self, you are further restricting your tunnel, filling it with more plaque, constricting the opening. Do you see this? So as life flows through your tunnel, the more identity stories present and attached to the assumption of separation, the greater the pressure becomes. Which means the greater the suffering becomes. And with every new layer of attachment that narrows your opening, you are heading towards a spiritual heart attack, because the flow of life always moves in the same direction and at the same velocity.

In our world today most people are still locked in various forms of tunnel vision and are having spiritual heart attacks every day. Our society is sick from identity stories like race, national allegiance, political affiliation, gender, etc. clogging up the veins of non-separation.

Healing is not scraping this plaque away while leaving the opening the same size as it started. Healing is leaving the plaque exactly where it is while the tunnel expands exponentially remembering the vastness of what it was all along. When this happens, the plaque of the former identity remains, but it’s seen in its natural context– a few grains of sand at the bottom of the ocean.

Racial tension is an opportunity to get curious enough to discover who “both sides” really are. This doesn’t mean gaining a complex understanding of the different surface features of all races but rather understanding the deep structure that is animating features like race as expressions of non-separation.

As far as race being used as a tool for awakening, try to understand the progression below.

1. I am this colored body.
2. I am not this colored body.
This new identity subtly removes one from the old identity of mind and body but is still rooted in separation.
3. I am this colored body, but it has no independent existence of its own.
The latter half of that sentence is where freedom lives (and the solution to racism).

Q: Why is what I’ll call “black culture” viewed as offensive by so many whites in America?

MR-B: “Black culture” is viewed as offensive because “whites in America” have tunnel vision. In a word, it’s separation. They’re busy hating a forgotten reflection of their self. Anything that seems foreign in this tunnel is automatically viewed as something to fear, a threat to break their attachment to a long established story. This includes talk of non-separation, the pre-existing unity that is who we are before any stories of race came into existence.

The separate self is like an immune system that detects and attacks conceptual pathogens that are considered an other. What the separate self doesn’t understand is that all human struggles with hate, including racism, are autoimmune disorders where the self attacks its own body thinking it’s fighting a pathogen that, in reality, doesn’t exist.

What’s it feel like to be considered a pathogen in your own country?

Q: It fucking sucks. How can the racial divide be healed?

MR-B: Heal yourself from the story of race, totally– which is healing the assumption of a separate self. Without this level of healing, the foundations of the racial divide will remain present because the assumption of a separate self will remain present. There is no other way around it.

Healing implies the presence of a sickness or a wound. How can you heal something when you don’t know what the sickness is or where the wound lies? Find the source of the wound inside of you. Looking outside of yourself will be an endless masquerade, a continuation of a lineage that has never found a cure for separation. The lineage you are currently part of still doesn’t know where to look– it’s on an ego arc of development that thinks it will evolve to a place that is already here.

I hear there is hope for the new generation as they are much more relaxed about things like race and gender. I urge the younger generations to recognize that the attention-energy to race will transform into different divisions in the future if the root identity of separation remains the same. Separation will find a new place to fester in their emerging context. Non-separation is the deeper answer they are searching for.

Q: How is non-separation different from what Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. taught about non-violence?

MR-B: Non-separation is neither violent nor non-violent. Practicing non-violence has nothing to do with inquiring into the self. Non-violence is an end prescription for a concrete diagnosis for an autonomous individual. Non-separation is an end prescription for a concrete diagnosis that shows an autonomous individual does not exist to receive a prescription or a diagnosis.

Both Gandhi and King still imagined a separate self who was making the choice to be non-violent. This proved to be a respected message and band-aid for certain situations, but it could not reach the source of the issues it was trying to address– the assumption of a separate self. Neither could see that it is impossible to practice non-violence when the assumption of a separate self is inherently violent.

This is why there have been small translational changes to the world of separation, but nothing lasting and total. The problems fought by both of these men still exist because neither had the realization of non-separation in their lifetimes. King wanted freedom for race rather than freedom from race. Gandhi wanted freedom from the British empire rather than freedom from the notion of India.

Non-violence, if practiced by an individual, is still separation.