I was awoken this morning by two school children in the courtyard below the apartment complex chasing and yelling at each other in German. The harshness of the German language cuts like a blunt knife when the emotional intensity behind it is raised.
This morning it dawned on me that I am a radical in the realm of spirituality and social change. It dawned on me that yesterday, I wore a Dirndl (the traditional dress for women in South Germany) and stood on a German Stage in Berlin (North East Germany) on the Day of Liberation and provided a brand new perspective about Hitler and the social conditions that created the Reich. For some, this decision was celebrated, it made others uncomfortable.
Ever since I made the decision to write about the dominant negative and dominant positive vibration of each city I visit, I have become aware of just how identified people are with the place they live. Identifying with the place you live makes it really hard to see that place objectively. And when I write about my impressions of a city and a demographic of people, people who identify with that city or with that demographic take it personally. They feel criticized. It is tempting to think that someone like myself does not mind upsetting people. But the truth is, I do mind upsetting people. I dislike the idea of traveling to a place and making people feel bad about themselves or bad about where they live. The problem is, I am internally called to create personal change and social change and to do that, awareness of what is calling for change is the principal ingredient. In this line of work, the universe does not send me to the highest vibrational places on earth. Instead, I am lined up with areas of the globe that are calling for some form of social change.
After having been in Berlin for a while now, I am convinced that the main reason Berlin was the place I had to come is because Berlin is the city that will lead Germany’s progression. Like a heartbeat, the change that is initiated here resonates outward and is eventually adopted by all of Germany. I can feel such a readiness here for a change in the social dynamic; especially related to the emotional aspect of relationships.
Never have I been more aware of how necessary it is to demolish the traditional concept of the ‘guru’ within the human race. Yesterday’s workshop proved to me that one of the strongest expectations people have of spiritual teachers is Omniscience. This expectation is especially strong in Europe, where people are more identified with education than anywhere else on the globe. People who value education to this degree dream of being all knowing, only because of the fact that they have learned that this would exalt their value socially. Having the capacity to see beyond the physical dimension gives you the capability to “tune into” specific frequencies. It does not mean that you are a walking, breathing Google. I am frustrated that so many Indian gurus have reinforced this falsity for the sake of their own social exaltation.
I have been thinking in bed this morning that education is only as good as it does. So much of what we learn, there is no good reason for learning. We learn nothing about life skills that could actually help us to thrive as an adult. We learn no relationship skills. We are given no financial education. We are not taught about how to live a healthy lifestyle. I was in math class every weekday for 13 years of my life. And I have only ever used a calculator, counted on my fingers or hired an accountant since I graduated. Being raised in USA, I took one class for 4 months of Geography. Today, if you handed me a map of my own country, I couldn’t list all of the states by name. I had one single elective class for 4 months of History. The information was about rote memorization. For the sake of getting good grades, I was expected to pass tests which were purely about remembering specific dates in history and locations. Which I promptly forgot because it has no practical application. There is no good reason to remember exactly what date in history a battle occurred. I took science for 13 years too. And I have used almost none of what I learned in my adult life. It is all information that is getting washed away by time. My education feels like a waste. Almost the only thing I have used every day of my adult life is English. Learning how to read has enabled me to learn anything I want to learn about. It is the reason I have been able to teach through the written word. And I will tell you that the reason that I, personally got so much out of English is because it is a part of my career. Other people wasted time in the same English classes I took for years because the things they learned do not apply to their life.
Every time I am in Europe. I am a match to being teased about Americans and their super poor knowledge of geography and history. And I laugh because it is true. Americans are on the ignorant side of the scale due to our school’s priorities relative to education. However I am not convinced the over education that occurs in Europe is any healthier. To generalize, Europeans know so much. They are extremely intelligent. They are well educated. But so much of the information they are crammed full of serves no purpose. It’s just that everyone is expected to know it in order to be respected in the social group. It is a strange feeling, almost like the weight of the purposeless knowledge, bogs them down and prevents them from taking action towards a sense of purpose.
The main goal of education is to fit a person into a system so they can fulfill a specific role within the machine of society. But purpose cannot be contained to a box (which is what society is). And many people are born to create new roles rather than to fit into ones that already exist. So, society has as much capacity to prevent a person from finding and fulfilling their purpose as it does to enable a person to find and fulfill their purpose. The education system worldwide must change. It must change into a system that is designed to give a child all the tools to learn and the encouragement to seek out information that interests them. It must change into a system that is designed to uncover and develop the unique potential inherent in every child rather than to cram every child into the same mold.
The social molding in Germany is overwhelming. This is a culture that is so heavily identified with right and wrong. If you step out of line by half of an inch, someone is always there to angrily remind you to get back in order. I have never seen people go so far out of their way to tell other people what they are doing wrong and shame them into conforming with rules and expectations.
Yesterday, I experienced the extent of this dynamic when I was driving around the city. I was in the lane that goes straight and no one was behind me but when I did not go forward when the light turned green, the people in the turning lane to my left started honking at me. NONE of them were being inconvenienced by the fact that I wasn’t moving forward. They became infuriated that I wasn’t following the rules. The famous German punctuality is just one byproduct of this social atmosphere. After two days here, I was already emotionally feeling like the only acceptable thing to do here and the only way to avoid being yelled at is to stand in one place with my back against the wall and to not move a muscle while not looking at anyone in the eye. I can see why there is such a counter culture of complete rebellion here. The inflexible and strict social control that citizens impose on one another is overwhelming. After trying to make no errors and feeling like it’s impossible not to, a part of you just wants to scream enough and impulsively graffiti red spray paint all over people’s houses and cars and faces. I feel that in the future, I will be here in Germany again and I will be working with people to transmute the pervasive and destructive conditioning of perfectionism. As someone who has struggled and who still struggles with perfectionism myself, I am the perfect person to initiate this kind of conversation. However I am aware that the first trap I will fall into with the German people relative to healing the perfectionism complex is that many will then try to become perfect at being imperfect.
Since landing here, I have felt just how much this area of the globe needs softness. I have felt how much people need their uptight nerves to be soothed. If you are raised in harshness, you acclimatize to it. You do not even consciously recognize the need to be treated gently and with care. But the need is there. I wish I could get a group of thousands of the most nurturing, loving and soft mothers to gather in a park here at least once a week to hold people in their arms with soft blankets. Then I wish I could get the average citizen here to break down to the degree that they would actually let themselves be held. The Germans brace themselves against tenderness to the exact degree that they in fact need that tenderness. The same can be said of people in general. We tend to brace ourselves against what we desperately want to the exact degree that we in fact need that thing. We do this because we have been conditioned to believe that getting that thing we need leads to pain or that needing that thing is not ok in the first place.