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Where do we go from here? Seeing through the tears

Love trumps hate
Love trumps hate Photo: Stephen Melklsethlan / Stephen Melklsethlan via Flickre CC license

This morning, I’m noticing that “tear” and “tear” are spelled exactly the same. I cried tears (salty liquid secreted from eye glands) in 2008 as I watched the Obama family enter the stage after victory. This morning I cried tears (salty liquid secreted from these same eye glands) as I woke at 4:30 to face the reality that I had tried to smother with my pillow at midnight, ‘oh, just let me have a few hours of sleep’ – defeat. In both momentous occasions, my tears carried emotions tied to possibility – joyful and fearful possibility.

But why must we have these tears?

And then, there is tear (to rip apart by force). Yes, this is what I feel this morning as I hold my stomach tight with crossed arms. But, for months, I have been saying that these are times when the veils are being more than lifted, they are being torn away – from Sandra Bland to Brexit, from Kaepernick to the buffalo at Standing Rock.

But why must we have these tears?

The tearing of the veils, though sometimes romanticized, is actually quite terrifying. It is no easy thing to be in the midst of - especially when we’ve been trained up in the illusion of separation - Trained up in the story of bad guys and good guys where the good guys always win, or the good guys never win. Either scenario carries the deep illusion that folks fall solidly in one group or the other. Once the lines have been drawn, we imagine ourselves to stand on…well, on the good side of course. We give ourselves over to a story of what will happen if “the other side” wins. (The issue here is not that we face the likely reality of what they will do if they win. The issue is that we "give ourselves over.")

The greatest invitation I feel this morning (as I did the morning after the Trayvon verdict and after the Miami club shootings) is to see through the tears. At every moment, and particularly at a time such as this, I must keep asking, “What is the illusion here that I/we must recognize and see through?” “What is the lie of separation that is trying to pull me/us in?” Then, choose to SEE!

Why must we have these tears? Beyond the tears we find our liberation!


Chorus: I can see. I can see. I can see through illusion. I can see. I can see. Oh, I can see through illusion.

There’s a way to see more clearly. It requires choosing love.
Not the lies that keep us fearful Thinking we can live above Thinking we can live above. Chorus

Raise your voice, refuse the message! Look behind that corporate line

Bigger, better, great protector. Don’t you think that we’re just fine? Don’t you think that we’re just fine? Chorus

Earth and breath intertwine all beings
Blasting / fracking - they must go. End this mass incarceration Stop denying what we know. Stop denying what we know.

See the earth and all she brings us. Look into each other’s eyes. Lift the veils and see connection.
Spirit, help us to be wise.
Spirit, help us to be wise. ~ Niyonu (2012)

About the Author

Niyonu Spann is the director of the music group Tribe 1 and creator of Beyond Diversity 101, a five-day intensive experience grounded in faith that brings people together to acknowledge and manifest oneness.