“If we do not understand that the enemy is within, we will find a thousand ways of making someone ‘out there’ into the enemy, becoming leaders who oppress rather than liberate others,” writes Parker Palmer in Let Your Life Speak. What does it mean to confront our inner enemy, knowing we can never truly be rid of those shadows? In the article below, facilitator Rick Bommelje offers an illuminating story about embracing the both/and of our inner worlds.
For me there are three enormous obstacles to exiting empire, all of which are related to the internal dynamics of empire programming, and they are so profound that, on one level, radically altering one’s living arrangements may be the least daunting facet of making the break.
By and large, mental health professionals in the modern world are able to connect the dots between the explosion in the number of clients suffering from addictions, depression, anxiety, attachment disorders, learning disabilities, and other illnesses with world events at large. Most fall somewhere on the liberal side of the political spectrum and support efforts to maximize the quality of life for humans and the quality of the environment for all species. Yet I believe that most clinicians who are not familiar with the “Three E’s” of energy, environment, and economics as converging crises signaling the collapse of industrial civilization, will be emotionally challenged in working with a client who embraces this perspective.
What I’m exploring here is not so much the exact structure of a community, but rather, the deeper sense of community that humans crave and create as a foundation for the literal manifestations of community they may ultimately devise. In other words, what does community mean to the soul, the psyche, the deeper self within us? If we do not attend to this aspect of community, for all of the ostensible successes the community may have achieved, its members may feel vaguely unsatisfied or in some cases, may divest their energy from the community and move on.