“It was so spiritual,” was the dreamy statement of one climber of Uluru, who despite the preference of the Anangu people to not disrespect their sacred space by climbing Uluru, decided to be part of the final climb anyway – like so many others. The return of Uluru to its original caretakers is a step forward in ending disrespect, but the behaviour and attitude of those who felt it was their right to take part in the last climb reveals the underbelly of a deeper issue that faces all humanity, including the New Age, spiritual community – our shared colonial past.
If you consider yourself to be ‘spiritual’ or ‘awakened’ you might stop reading at this point, but I invite your perseverance for a while longer to explain why I am calling out the New Age Spiritual community to ‘awaken’ to this truth. I had my own awakening a few months ago – as a person of colour and an Editor of a digital New Age magazine at the time, I saw the lack of inclusion of people of colour and people from indigenous nations and I wondered why in the ‘Love and Light’ community that celebrates ‘Oneness’ this was the case?
Then my second thought was, “Why would it not be the case?” We have all been conditioned by a society where racism and prejudice has been part of the norm. The historical story of racism and prejudice is in our very DNA, passed down by our ancestral past. Even if we are not consciously aware of this bias, our unconscious is still hardwired with it, and continues to influence us. The question is then: Are you brave enough and honest enough to accept it?
I find that so many people don’t want to accept that it lives within them. And who can blame them. In the New Age of ‘Oneness’, ‘love and light’, who wants to admit that they have a bias against people of colour – that’s so unspiritual! It brings with it a level of shame and vulnerability that so many in the spiritual community do not want to experience, far better to ignore it or deny it – who wants to be labelled a racist! I, as a person of colour, didn’t want to admit that I had this same unconscious bias against myself!
Yet if you look at the cultural appropriation of so many indigenous practices and philosophies by the New Age community, you will begin to see the truth of it. Look to the spiritual influencers, authors and New Age ‘gurus’, the depiction of mermaids, angels and magical beings and you might begin to wonder: why are angels white?
When I first approached friends within the spiritual community about this new awareness, eager to share what I had uncovered, I was greeted with denial, gaslighting, and spiritual bypassing. There was only one friend out of the many who really heard me, who was brave enough to journey to that uncomfortable place of truth. I am so very grateful to her for listening, without defending herself, without spiritual bypassing, but with the intention of hearing me. And so, I invite you to hear this uncomfortable truth – it doesn’t make you bad or unspiritual – it makes you human – a spiritual being having a human experience caught up in the cultural conditioning you were raised in.
I believe that in the current times we are living in, what is being called to be noticed and healed is the story of racism that lives in each and every one of us today.