By Susie Ekberg
Q: There seems to be a lot of bullying in the world right now. Shouldn’t we just punish all the bullies and make the world a better place? Haven’t bullies always been around? Why so much talk about them now?
A: I agree that bullies have most certainly always been around. I can only imagine one caveman dragging home his dinner, only to find two others waiting for him to push him down and take it away. You may call that violence, but I think that all of these actions originate from the same place – lower energy. Think of our emotions, actions, and feelings as being the air in different levels in the atmosphere. Air that’s close to the earth is the heaviest, densest and coldest. Air in the higher stratosphere is lighter and warmer. So lower energy is denser and colder. It’s violent and impatient, resentful, fearful, and judgmental. It’s close-minded and hypocritical. It resides in the duality of right and wrong, us or them.
Higher energy is lighter and warmer. It’s loving, gentle, kind, patient, forgiving, trusting, hopeful, calm. It’s open-minded. It resides in the space of knowing that we’re all connected, all part of the One.
Nobody’s perfect 100% of the time. That’s where the phrase “we’re only human” comes from. Human means imperfect, or not able to be fully in our conscious soul state 24/7/365. And that’s okay. But if you never venture into that higher energy place, or more than likely have no idea what I’m talking about, then you may be dwelling in that lower place. Again, I don’t mean to sound judgmental by using the terms “upper” or “lower;” those terms are just in conjunction with my atmospheric locations I was using for ease of understanding.
I also compare the lower energy to imbalanced masculine energy. It’s not about men or women. Everybody has both masculine and feminine energy within them. Otherwise all of the men would be no-necked neanderthals and all of the women would be mute, meek mice. That polarized picture would not be cool. So we strive for balance. Masculine energy that’s out of balance sees the world as a battlefield, a rat race. They spend their waking hours trying to destroy others, or at least conquer them. They seek to acquire things, whether those things are houses, cars, possessions, companies, status, prestige, or other people.
I think at the base of all of that imbalanced masculine energy is a frustration borne out of the fact that there’s some sort of acknowledgement that something’s missing. How do most of us deal with frustration? By snapping at others, blaming them, taking it out on them. We also usually deal with frustration by seeking to soothe it. Usually the soothing things are not the most healthy or loving things.
Learning about higher and lower energy is helpful in helping us understand where other people are coming from, and where we’re coming from, depending on how we’re feeling at the time. But it doesn’t necessarily help us figure out how to end bullying.
I think there are different types of bullying, and they need to be handled in different ways. I’ve heard people say, “We should just teach the kids how to stand up to the bullies. That way they get stronger.” And that’s fine for some of the cases where the people being bullied CAN stand up for themselves. They have the physical and mental capabilities to strategize ways to balance that overly masculine energy that’s coming their way in the form of bullying.
But what about the young children, or the mentally or physically challenged people? What about the elderly? Or those in institutions? All of those scenarios (and more) represent an imbalance when compared to that bullying energy.
Those are the times that there needs to be something in place that can balance the scales by saying, in no uncertain terms, “NO! You may not do that, and here are the consequences for your actions so that maybe next time you will choose another action other than forcing yourself on another.” Whether that message comes from a parent, the schools, friends, church, or society in general, there does need to be protection for the vulnerable.
A few years back my family and I were at Buffalo State Park. We came upon a man kicking a woman, who was curled up on the ground. Two children and a baby were nearby. There was a circle of people gathered, but nobody was intervening.
Someone had gone to call the police. I went over to the family and sat down right next to the woman. I started talking calmly to the man, telling him his baby was beautiful, and what a beautiful day it was. The man looked surprised, but stopped kicking the woman and started talking to me. We sat there like that until the police came.
Would it have been better if someone had started yelling at the man? In the state he was in, it probably would’ve made it worse. I chose to use love to balance the hatred, and I saw how it diffused a very volatile situation. But lest you think I’m always a gentle namby pamby, also know that another time I came upon a group of young boys kicking a mentally retarded boy, and I DID scream at those boys.
The difference? The screaming me was 25 years ago, when I was more in the black and white mode, and the gentle me was more recent, when I understood more about the power of right action. Knowing when to scream (maybe it’s never a good idea to scream, but remember the story of the father getting onto the bus and screaming at his daughter’s attacker? I admit I can understand that emotion, but I don’t know how effective he was at changing the situation), and knowing when to calmly speak, and knowing what you need to do to bring balance to any given situation.
There is some reason that the issue of bullying is ‘up’ right now, and I think it’s the world wanting balance. You can start with yourself. In any given situation you can strive to be centered and calm. That way you will not be a bully, even if it’s just a little bully. No bullying at all is good in my world. But that requires everyone to be awake, and willing, and if someone isn’t, then it’s our job to help them however we can. Just punishing the bullies doesn’t make them go away. There are other ways, and we will keep working on it, for sure.
[Susie’s Note: I wanted to let you all know that I will be taking the next two months off to work on my newest book. November is National Novel Writing Month, and I’ll be writing at least 1000 words every day. Then I’m taking December to keep writing. My children are all avid readers, but I’m dismayed that there aren’t more good young adult novels out there, so I decided to write my own! It’s going to weave my favorite subjects of spirituality, love, and mystery into a book about faith, magic, and the belief in things unseen. You can follow my progress by reading my blog at http://www.susanekberg.com. I will miss you all, but know that my hiatus is for a really good cause.]
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