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Lions Roar : September 2016
The reason we can is the result of so many people— approaching a critical mass—living intersectional lives. Enough of us can feel beyond cosmetic sameness and experience the deeper interdependent relationship, moving the mutuality of liberation from theory to practice to praxis. The greatest potential outcome of embodied intersectionality meeting individual entitlement is transcendent movements. Embracing What Is, Throwing Nothing and No One Away These converging paradoxes are allowing for possibilities of human evolution that were not previously possible. We may initially experience this paradox as something to be resisted because we are deeply invested in right and wrong. We want to cut things off, throw something away. But in a world of multi- plicity, the path toward liberatory mastery—personal and social— can no longer remain rooted in a single ideology, discipline, or viewpoint; it itself is becoming intersectional and interdependent. Through practice, we can create the invitation to be in relationship with the reality of what is. Even when we disagree with it, if for no other reason than that our disagreement does not negate the reality. Simultaneously with our commitment to disrupting and dis- mantling structures that degrade humanity, a commitment to the practice of engaging the humanity of people wed to perpetuating those structures must coexist. Whether by arrogance, ignorance, or fear, we must bear witness to their suffering as our own. Challenge what is unjust. Invest in their basic goodness. Always move toward integration. Without this commitment and practice, we merely mirror the destructive forces of polar- ization and power. On the movement level, this allows for uplifted organizing at the highest common denominator, rather than the degradation of lowest common denominator. This is a huge evolutionary leap: to be able to see past same- ness and likeness as the lens through which we view our poten- tial to care for and love one another. We’ve done this on the individual level, but we are now organizing on the social level. In many ways this goes against—or extends beyond—the grain of how we have been evolving. Biologically speaking, we are programmed toward being tribal as a means of survival. We literally have to transcend an aspect of our own biology. This ability to disrupt our programming and form new cogni- tive connections based on direct experience that then becomes embodied through repetition—practice—is one of human beings’ greatest attributes. In this lies the potential to overcome our basest reactions for survival and manifest our highest evolutionary poten- tial to thrive. It is profound, and it is possible, and we can see it. ♦ Excerpted from Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah. Reprinted by permission of North Atlantic Books. LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2016 75