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Guiding You Towards a Life with Less Suffering


Nurturing Holistic Awareness & Growth

10 Questions I would like to ask the 'spiritual community' in Ibiza

Hello Humans,

When speaking about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, a 'white' bodied friend of mine asked; what more can I do other than sign petitions and make donations? I told her that having conversations within the 'white' community about racial oppression and inclusions is a great way to explore collective blind spots that allow any dominant culture to marginalise and disempower a group of (ethnically different) people.

So as a minority individual, I feel like sharing a glimpse into my inner reflections concerning the effects of cultural oppression and inequality.

When I sit with the question; how could my life have unfolded, and how could I show up for myself differently, if not for the deep wounds inflicted by racism in a world where inequality persists, I connect with a deep heartfelt truth.

I continue to ask myself: How can I align my life today with that uninterrupted version of myself?

Despite being privileged in many ways, I've encountered significant setbacks due to my 'white' working-class education and conditioning, which has limited my emotional, cognitive, and social communication skills. Now, at 46, I find myself finally able to observe, understand, and articulate my marginalised experience—to show up in the world in a way I could have only dreamed of if racial oppression hadn't interrupted my development.

Witnessing empowered voices and narratives standing up against oppression not only brings me a sense of liberation but also reignites hope within me. Helping me transcend the apathy and low self-worth that many men of colour, myself included, often grapple with due to the pervasive conditioning of systemic oppression. The weight of racism and cultural oppression adds extra layers of complexity to the already challenging journey of self-discovery and finding a purposeful place in the world.

Confronting the lack of community space available and needed to address emotional healing as a person of colour during my time in Ibiza, has been a setback in my personal growth, at times even re-traumatizing. It's only when I immerse myself in communities with other men of colour, away from the confines of Europe, that I begin to glimpse the true potential of who I could be without the constant weight of oppression and marginalisation hindering my creativity and expression.

A dominant (expat) spiritual narrative of Ibiza has created a culture that marginalises the perspective of the racially oppressed, along with others who chose to think alternatively. At some point during my time there, I realised even close friends struggled to navigate conversations around race, further contributing to my overall shutdown on these issues and the trauma of living there at a time when the rest of the world was marching under the BLM banner.

During my time in Ibiza, discussing my racial experiences often elicited dismissive and avoidant responses that denied me the space for co-regulation and healing. Comments like "You sound too attached to your story," or "Being mixed-race is just an identity," were common, along with statements like "You sound like a victim" or "We are all the same; we all experience things the same." People resorted to various forms of spiritual bypassing, from the Buddhist notion of detachment to therapists suggesting I shouldn't be angry at the system because everything is Love. How can any man process the pain of living if there is a lack of opportunity for genuine compassionate connection?

When I attempted to confront racism in Ibiza and call it out, I was labelled a 'Firestarter' and faced backlash. In spaces where a sense of belonging is crucial for healing collective wounds, I found a glaring lack of awareness about inclusion. For anyone with a different ethnic and cultural background, engaging in conversations where there is no space for their voice, simply adds to the problem.

Beyond my personal experience, there are regular instances of racism and microaggressions on the island, reflecting Spain's historical racialized mentality. I've encountered other people of colour on the island who also experience inequality—from witnessing a Brazilian friend who was a qualified architect being slurred as she worked as a cleaner, to the members of the African community who consistently endure racism and inequality on the beaches or the Easter parade where the traditional head-dress is the same design as that worn by the KKK. Witnessing such ignorance and injustices can be deeply painful.

Overall one of the most challenging aspects of marginalisation, for me, has been the loss of friendships and connections with family members who lacked awareness of the challenges being faced by people of colour. The neglect relating to my own struggles and the need to feel supported to process my racialised reality creates isolation and confusion. Hindered by my inability to articulate these experiences until now, I've slowly witnessed this disconnect, realising that I cannot make people see beyond their racialized limitations or cultivate within them a mindset of curiosity to understand the multifaceted layers of my life experience compared to their own 'white' lives. This is something that needs to come from them and I have painfully come to terms with this.

The loss of these connections, coupled with the realisation that my past addiction served as a substitute for genuine connection, weighed heavily on me. I often struggled with the question 'How do I approach old friends and 'white' adoptive family members, explaining that any perceived connection was superficial because I couldn't share the real truth of my experience as a queer man of colour?' I longed to be seen, heard, and, most importantly, held and loved but I never knew before now how to unpack the impact of the marginalised/oppressed experience. It's a sorrowful, unconscious catch-22 situation where my unmet needs went unrecognised because I was too busy trying to fit in with people who were never taught how to include the personal experience of minority individuals.

Even now, it can feel like speaking to someone who is behind a closed door, and honestly, it takes me a lot of energy to keep my mind in a positive space. I struggle so much with relationships, and marginalisation is a huge piece to explain the 'why'. Yet, in a lot of therapy and even advice from friends, the lean-in is for me to look at my own stuff. For such a long time, I have been struggling with finding a solution within; what could I change about myself to shift this experience? All I had words for was to say to the world that I have anxiety and speak openly about the truth of being a person who has been struggling with depression. What I really needed to say was; a lifetime of feeling ignored at this level has been killing my spirit, and I have felt so defeated and hopeless because I just did not know what the problem was or how to change it. I just needed someone to help me with an issue I was blind to, and my own ignorance has literally sent my mind crazy.

I am relieved that I can now see what has been affecting me for so long and step away from it. Through education and reflection I am able to feel a deep empathy for all people who suffer as a result of racial inequality and oppression. In my mind, everyone involved is either in pain on some level or experiencing inner mental disruption. Having more open, heartful and honest conversations could hopefully, in the long run, shift the mindset of the younger generation as they potentially learn from our mistakes.

Conversations about spirituality, racism, and unconscious biases can be sensitive and complex. It's important to approach them with empathy, respect, and an open mind. Here are ten thought-provoking statements or questions you might consider to engage someone from an expat community in a reflective dialogue about equality, spiritual blind spots, and understanding diverse perspectives:

How do you think our spiritual attitudes shape our understanding of equality and justice in society? - This question invites reflection on the connection between personal spirituality and societal values.

In what ways might your spiritual community benefit from embracing a more diverse array of perspectives on race and culture? - This encourages thinking about the benefits of diversity within spiritual circles.

Can you think of any moments where your spiritual teachings might inadvertently overlook the experiences of people from different races or backgrounds? - This question helps identify potential blind spots in spiritual teachings.

How do you think your own cultural background influences your understanding of spiritual truths? - This can lead to self-reflection about cultural biases in interpreting spiritual messages.

What role do you believe spirituality should play in conversations about social justice and racism - This probes their views on the intersection of spirituality and social justice.

Could your belief in the superiority of your spiritual system be impacting your ability to fully empathise with others’ experiences of injustice? - This directly addresses the issue of superiority and its impact on empathy.

How might we use our spiritual beliefs as a tool to challenge, rather than reinforce, existing prejudices within ourselves - This suggests using spirituality as a means of personal growth and overcoming biases.

Do you think it’s possible that your spiritual community might have its own blind spots regarding race and privilege? - This invites the consideration that no community is perfect and all have areas to improve.

How could we incorporate learning about other cultures and histories into our spiritual practice to broaden our understanding? - This encourages integrating multicultural perspectives into spiritual practices.

What steps can we take within our spiritual community to ensure that we are not only discussing but actively promoting racial equality? - This question aims at shifting from discussion to action.

These prompts are designed to encourage introspection and dialogue, helping individuals explore how their spiritual beliefs interact with broader societal issues.



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