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.