Act: Inspiration

Beyond the Divides of Black-and-White Thinking – Coming Together in the Heart of Our Wholeness: Part 3

July 29, 2020

Ed. note: This is Part 3 of Kavita’s series, Beyond the Divides of Black and White – Coming Together in the Heart of our Wholeness. You can read Parts 1 and 2 on

Beyond the Divides of Black and White: Wholeness and Whole-Systems Change

We must forge our power, and join our voices, as equals – even as whites listen deeply to blacks now, absorb their perspectives and ally with their directives – if we are to come together to forge a new world, of freedom, justice and well-being for all, where our strength is both our unity and diversity.

As long as we are creating an “other” outside us, that “other” will come back to haunt us, will eventually rebel. This is true when we “other” the other out of greed or aversion, or when we take revenge against those who have done that to us – either way, we keep the cycle of greed, fear and reprisal spinning.

The only way we can break this cycle is by coming back to our heart. We must fall between the opposites of “black and white thinking”, of opposition itself, and fall into the heart of our true Wholeness. It is from there we can make true reparations, repair the systems that have divided and harmed, distorted and fractured, us all.

Both being the aggressor and defending oneself from aggression are traumatic, debilitating and wounding. They make both sides so much less than they could be, than they essentially are. So it is time to end this vicious cycle, and enter into the heart of our true Wholeness, giving back, and taking back, what is rightfully ours. We are all exhausted, and our Wholeness is welcoming us home.

It is true that many people still seem far from this, but even as some dig their heels in, others are awakening, and each one that awakens, that falls into the heart of that Wholeness, has a powerful effect on the Whole, far greater than those who would divide us, because in truth we are that connected Whole. Those who act from Wholeness cause ripple effects in the quantum, energetic and social fields that connect us, that are ultimately far more powerful than the rifts of those who would divide us, who are acting from opposition and their self-profit alone.

That is why they say the critical mass needed to turn the tide is only a small percentage of the population – that small percent is incalculably stronger than those defending their own self-interests and the status quo, than those who are divided in themselves and divided against others. Divide-and-conquer is conquered by a much greater unity, still unseen but rising.

We are not used to thinking this way; the deeper dynamics of life are hidden to us. We usually just see the surface of things, and admittedly on the outside things are looking grim right now, but if we look beneath the surface, we see another story happening, and it is rising up now, coming forward, gaining momentum towards a breakthrough in this liminal moment. It is the story of our unity, the heart of our true Oneness, that is rising up today, like a force of nature, to heal and make whole our divisions, and it is far more potent than those divisions. In fact the breakdowns descending on us now, at break-neck speed, are making way for this Wholeness.

When we can see these hidden dynamics, we can put our energy behind them, and amplify these dynamics. That is why it is so important to look deeply, to see the layers of our crises and unveil them. We see that there, there is no cause for despair, but deep inspiration to lift us, and powers far greater than our own to carry us forward.

We are in a radically new stage of our evolution, where all of this is hitting home now. On the surface things may look overwhelming, and we may feel hopeless, helpless, but if we align with these deeper forces beneath the surface, we find they are on our side, with tremendous support and power – that side is not one side as opposed to another, divided and conquered, but the side beyond sides, our Wholeness. How could it be otherwise? The whole show is coming from there, and, like us, it longs to return to its Wholeness.  And how can it do otherwise, for it is us. We are no less one with it, than we are with each other.

To learn from our own suffering is one thing – to learn to see the sufferings we are causing others, and stop it, is far more powerful. That’s why the protests now, the shows of solidarity, are so impressive, impactful – we are breaking through the barriers of long-entrenched patterns of separation, domination and suffering, into the heart of our true Wholeness, the basis for our true reconciliation and healing.

But if we are truly to stop the sufferings, we must understand their roots deeply – again, it is not enough just to see the surface and, with all the best intentions, apply band-aids. The racial crisis goes far beyond the need to defund the police, end violence and mass incarceration, even to pay reparations, though of course all of these are included, and are essential starting-points. It demands a whole-systems change, from the bottom up, so that our systems truly represent us, all the people, and the planet.

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The racial crisis, like all the interlinked crises besetting us today, cries out for a whole-scale, whole-systems transformation to a whole new society – a just, egalitarian, cooperative, caring, regenerative one, of unity-in-diversity. It is time for us to come together, and work from, and towards, that Wholeness, the essence that connects us, in all our diverse colors and cultures.

In a Divisive Society, Privilege and Deprivation Inevitably Go Together

What many white people fail to get is that any privilege we have in society, whether by race or by class, is built off the backs of others it is depriving; in other words, anything “exclusively” available to us, inevitably excludes others, and, almost invariably, the very people it has exploited to provide it. This means any privilege we enjoy is not just our good luck or blessing, that we can charitably wish for others, but stands in a direct relationship to the deprivation of others, and their continued suffering.

Liberals have long liked to believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, that as the rich get richer, they bring up all the rest, and the same idea, applied to race, allowed whites to relax their conscience, on the assumption that as the rich (and whites) got richer, blacks were also making progress, that they would eventually “catch up”. As Hillary Clinton put it, “the American Dream is big enough to hold all of us”.

This idea, like many of the capitalistic assumptions, that have gone so long unquestioned, has now, of course, been blown wide open. The American dream – of freedom and equality for all — has been exposed for the nightmare it always was for so many, because its very foundations are built on self-deception and division, on divide-and-conquer, with the same privileged demographic always coming out the victors, always at the top.

The richer getting richer, with no limits, raising everyone else up – that’s not the way it works – there are limited resources on this Earth, and whatever race or class takes more than its share is depriving others of the same, and exploiting those others, often cruelly, to support their own privilege in the process. It is ridiculous to think that billionaires have the interests of those they deprive in mind; their privilege depends on that deprivation, of health, basic human rights and even often of lives.

That the rich and privileged can get ever-richer, with no upper limits, and raise up everyone else at the same time – is a perilous deception – and now the truth is coming home to roost, from all sides. There are limited resources on the Earth, and we are meant to share those resources and to respect those limits. Indigenous people, blacks and people of color have always known this, it is basically only whites – the adolescents of the human race – that have transgressed these limits and these natural laws, and brought us all to the brink of possible extinction.

Nature herself has granted all of us incredible privileges – the privileges of being alive on this bountiful, beautiful Earth, enjoying fresh air, clean water, oceans and forests, food to sustain and nourish us. But when privilege is exclusive, divided, between the haves and have-nots, we ultimately destroy those natural privileges for all of us and all life. We cannot maintain our privileges in a divisive system and hope at the same time to avert this – we need to come together and pool our wisdom, strength and resources to build a whole new system, a world where all are privileged, to live in bounty, beauty on this wonderful Earth we’ve been given.


Teaser photo credit: Courtesy of the author

Kavita Byrd

Kavita Byrd works to bring together holistic consciousness and whole-systems change, with an emphasis on evolutionary spirituality and sacred activism. This includes research on ecology, the climate crisis and new economics, integrating spiritual wisdom and radical social action for evolutionary global transformation. She is author of the poetry collection Love Songs of the Undivided, as well as the book Quantum Co-Creative Revolution: We Are All In This Together. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Princeton University.

Tags: building resilient societies, connection with nature, wholeness