Ben Kreilkamp: “Awake in the middle of the night I’m subject to frightful imaginings.”

My cousin Ben Kreilkamp, in Minneapolis, also wakes up in the middle of the night. He half- imagines his imaginings are real.

Well, yes, I respond, and so is everything else! And, as the Buddhists would say, “dependent co-arising“: all phenomena arise and fall together, as the great breathing undulation of a vast conscious being.

So let’s just NOT choose to zero in on the narrow, and yes, indeed yucky and potent, current of hatred now coursing — once again — through the fearful body politic. Let’s instead consciously witness our noticing of this hatred, as well as the fear it stems from, while we continue to center within our own open hearts, radiating waves of caring and compassion into the atmosphere.

Granted, it is not easy to open our frantic, panicky minds enough to entertain this double movement internally. For me, the key is to hold both the awareness of awfulness AND to generate a space within which it is held. Thus we neutralize hatred and fear. Thus we create beauty and harmony wherever we go! Morphogenetic fields are not just for fools.

From Ben, in the middle of last night, on fb:

10382629_10152511996963112_6956909415438520263_nAwake in the middle of the night I’m subject to frightening imaginings. This is in fact how nightmares form, from the random thoughts of a mind not conscious enough to dismiss them as “unrealistic.” Before sleeping I was reading Half a Yellow Sun, terrific novel by Adichie about the Nigerian civil war in the sixties. I was remembering hearing about it as a teen and how far away Africa seemed to me then, unconscious really, and how much closer the world seems now. In the novel (excellent) she recounts, in convincing, frightening detail, how hate and slaughter is unleashed in a population of normal people living their lives. I was thinking these thoughts as I woke in the dark, how Trump’s racist message was finding root in our national psyche, the fear and hate of our history still alive in the imaginings of the dispossessed and those eager to exploit them. I was imagining a nightmare where an actual race war was ignited by his incoherent ramblings (have you watched one of his speeches? He just goes on, and on and on! as I’ve heard of Hitler and Mussolini speeches, revving up their crowds) as he encourages hate and violence among his supporters, feeding their sense of lost privilege and betrayal, saying ugly false things of all sorts. My mind, still mostly unconscious, was merging Nigeria’s times of tribal slaughter with today’s US, constructing a belief that we were in it now, already in the right wing nightmare, the Nazis, der Fuhrer, il Duce, all that horrible state of unspeakable acts of wholesale massacre. Then I tune in to my internet and see the reports of shootings at the 4th Precinct, the peaceful encampment demanding justice for Jamar that I witnessed, the quiet determination to have justice for the police shooting of another unarmed black man. He was unarmed. They shot him in the head. And now the protesters are being shot at by white supremacists. I’m trying to wake up, shake off this nightmare. Locally we need to have a way to vet and fire cops, independent professional oversight of police to hold them accountable. Nationally we need to repudiate Trump and the R’s and their racist message. How do we do that?
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3 Responses to Ben Kreilkamp: “Awake in the middle of the night I’m subject to frightful imaginings.”

  1. laurabruno says:

    While we’re at it, we need to repudiate the race baiting that happens on the left, as well. I grew up studying revolutions — French, Guatemala, American, Russian … . One thing all that non-childlike reading taught me is that we need to bridge gaps, watch our own blind spots and not blame all the vitriol on one side.

    I’m always heartened by a story told by Marjory Wildcraft, who hails from Austin, TX, home of Alex Jones, et. al. She tells of a lively town hall meeting or court case (sorry, I forget) in which one Alex Jones listener was badgering and baiting the police. He got thrown out of the meeting by the Judge, and refused to leave, so the police needed to escort him outside. Marjory says it was very loud in the hallway, and then a strange thing happened: somehow, the police and the disruptive activist discovered that they all gardened. They started discussing their favorite heirloom tomatoes and other plants. When the judge came outside, he was so surprised to hear them talking together that he dropped in on their conversation, only to discover that everyone who had been at each others’ throats, including the judge, gardened. They ended up all exchanging addresses so they could mail saved seeds to each other.

    True story. Everybody eats. Food and Mother Earth can be the great connectors in these troubled times.

  2. Kieron says:

    Well, I live in Minneapolis as well, and I find myself wondering if the “white supremacist” being referred to was an agent provocateur. Nothing surprises me anymore.

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