This month on Highest Self Podcast we have been diving into anti-racism and doing the deep inner work and we take it to a whole other level with our guest Devi Brown. I ask her all of the questions I’ve heard people too afraid to ask and Devi delivers it with poise, wisdom and fire. We discuss the root cause of racism, the whiteness of the wellness world, why your yoga class may be surrounded by people who only look like you, educating yourself on anti-racism, generational trauma, spiritual bypass and more. This is such a powerful episode to listen to and share to educate yourself on the deep anti-racism work.
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Episode 299: Anti-Racism, Spiritual Bypass + Generational Trauma with Devi Brown
By Sahara Rose
Namaste. It’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to the Highest Self podcast, a place where we discuss what makes you, your soul’s highest evolvement.
We have made it here to July. June has really brought so many of the shadows both within ourselves and within society to the surface. And this July we finally have made it past the 6-month point of 2020 – YES! And we still have six months left, but I do sense this tipping point that has happened that we are really reaching that peak of seeing everything that is not serving us (which I think is going to continue to unfold) but energetically, within ourselves learning how we can best serve, how we can best share, how we can best be involved.
For a lot of us, and myself included, with everything that has come to the surface (particularly with the Racism issue) it has been really hard on us; it has been difficult to see these nonsensical murders and the incongruence in our laws and just how much lack of regard there has been for so long on the disparities within our countries and it has been really painful and really challenging to look at, but so important and long overdue. And in a way it is the greatest thing that could ever happen to us right now because it is setting up the rest of the paradigm of what it’s going to be like and everything that could not come with us to the new paradigm – Racism, Fear of the Other, etc. – needs to be addressed right now. We can’t just slip it under the rug, we have to talk about it whether it is in our yoga studios, or in our judicial system, or our police force, or anywhere else where there are racial discrepancies. It is so important to bring it to surface and I know I have been doing a lot of research myself – I have been interviewing guests throughout this month on Highest Self podcasts who are black, of African origin, and understanding their history, their her-story, understanding deeper into how we have been overlooking this Racism so far to this point and how it has even gotten to this level that is so heartbreaking to look at and why we didn’t pay attention sooner.
So, I needed to bring on Devi Brown on to the Highest Self podcast because I first heard her, her and I were both doing the Deepak Chopra Retreat which has been postponed, but we did a virtual retreat – she was hosting it and I absolutely just loved her energy and then I heard her on another interview and some of the this she was saying were so like, brain-popping for me, like third eye blasted open – like, “Oh! This is what the world needs to hear.” So, I knew I needed to bring her to the Highest Self podcast to share with all of you.
She is a wellness educator specifically helping women of color find their Truth through meditation, self-discovery and mindfulness. She’s a Deepak Chopra certified teacher; she used to work in the music industry and transitioned into spirituality; she’s the author of the best-selling book “Crystal Bliss” and founder of the self-discovery brand Karma Bliss. And what we really dive into in this episode is a deep-dive into why we haven’t been paying attention this now – the spiritual bypass which we spoke about on my solocast a couple of weeks ago – how we have a difficult time looking at the things that don’t make us feel good and we think that’s what spirituality is about – but it’s actually not – so, we speak all about this. We speak about the burnout that you may experience in activism which you know, her and I, we definitely are going through (I’m sure a lot of you guys are going through). We talk about common things that people say, you know, Oneness etc., but how it actually could be misconstrued when you don’t have this anti-racism lens that you’re looking at it. We speak about how, you know, like, textbook examples of how this sheer Racism exists in ways that are undeniable and also the generational trauma that, you know, someone being sentenced to 30 years in prison does for the entire family, the entire lineage generations afterwards, so, this is such a great episode for anyone looking to do more anti-racism work which is every single can benefit from regardless what your background is. For anyone that wants to understand this and how it intersects with spirituality – how spirituality and activism are really hand-in-hand and how most of us have gotten caught in spiritual selfishness and that’s okay, you know. We can call ourselves out on that, of thinking spirituality is only about taking care of us, but it’s also about you know, connecting ourselves to the well-being of all other people because we are not free until all of us are free. So, we really dive into that spiritual activism in the 21st century – what it looks like and how to not burn yourself out doing it.
So, this is an incredible episode, you’re going to have so many gems of insights available for you. Be sure to have your notes out because she’s so intelligent, so inspiring and really hits it home with this episode.
So, without further ado, let’s welcome Devi Brown to the Highest Self podcast.
And before we get started, I have an announcement for you.
Are you ready to channel your full embodied Goddess; to work that spiritual activism; to stand up for the causes you truly believe in; and embody your highest self? Well this is calling your name.
I invite you to join us in my membership community Rose Gold Goddesses – the Sacred Sisterhood collective, all about embodying the goddess within.
This month, we are working with Sekhmet, the lioness Goddess who is all about transformation, and using that sacred anger towards change. We are drumming; we are dancing; we have my full four-hour healing and embodiment workshop available for you, teaching you how to use your body as an instrument for healing; for transformation in a divine feminine way.
We also have so many other workshops and master classes available for you. From my “Awaken Your Powers” master class, with shaman Durek to my “Sex, Money, Magic” master class with Alexandra Roxo; my “Discover Your Dharma” – a 10-day audio course, and dozens of other workshops, including many from guests on The Highest Self podcast and member-led workshops.
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Welcome Devi to the Highest Self podcast, it’s so good to have you here.
It is so great to be here, thank you so much. I’m so excited to dive in with you girl.
Yes! Because last time we were face to face, you were introducing me for the Chopra Retreat, which feels like a lifetime ago, but was like a month ago.
I know what is time anymore, anyway, right?
We’re in the 5D, time doesn’t exist. So the first question I’d love to ask you is what makes you your highest self?
What makes me my hightest self is my commitment to investing in my spirit. I think that has been the hugest differentiating factor in me being, you know, low-frequency or high-frequency. It’s really about how much time and care I take with myself to really check in with both my shadow and my light, and then stand in the fullness of whatever my current embodiment is.
And you embody this so beautifully because you are someone who is not afraid of talking about really the darker parts of the situation that we are in; the generational trauma; the unfair prison sentences between white and black counterparts who did the exact same crime; the experience of Racism and lack of diversity in the wellness community, but also you show your children and you embody joy and you talk about how you’re doubling-down on self-care.
So, how are you able to kind of have, like, one foot in both doors being an activist and also just being an embodiment of your highest self at this time?
You know what, I’ve really come to know, in this moment in time, how intrinsically linked spirituality and activism really are. And, so, like, surrendering to that actually makes it so fluid and normal.
I think, you know, something that runs really rampant within people that are on the path to spiritual awakening or can mimic spiritual awakening. There is a lot of spiritual bypass and a lot of spiritual narcissism, so much. Bypass and narcissism run so rampant and often it is packaged as being very positive, right? Like, “Oh, I don’t want to talk about that, I try to stay positive, I don’t want to talk about stuff” and what that really is, is just you continuing to run from your own discomfort, and often times you trying to break down and ignore another person’s experience. But we’ve given it more fancy language that feels good to our spirits and so, often times people think that’s the right direction to be in, but to be in this moment of time and to be an activist, to call-out injustice when you see it is the most spiritual thing you can do – this is what’s actually required of us. When you’re awake and aware the only way to really utilize these gifts are in service to other people, and to be in service of other people is to hold space for them in their most difficult moments, right? You try to aid them when they’re hurting, or challenge people whose systems in place to do service to humanity. So, you know, I am very overwhelmed right now, to be quite fully honest there’s so much happening, like, we collectively we doing so much deep processing in a multitude of ways, right? Like, from conversations we’ve had over the last three years regarding the MeToo Movement; conversations we’ve had about the rights of all our LGBTQ brothers and sisters; and you know, all of the people that are now just starting to get their stories heard and get their voices heard, which has never happened in the history of humanity. And then moving into now, there being real shifts happening regarding racial inequality and social activism. And those conversations have been happening for hundreds of years; those screams and cries and brutality has been happening for centuries, but we are just now in this moment probably (in large part, due to some of the self-awareness that Covid has given more people) we’re finally in this moment where there is shifting happening, and we’re really being heard and there are changes being made. And with all of that comes exhaustion. There is a lot of emotional exhaustion going on (myself included) and so, I am absolutely trying my best; I do realize that it is a gift to be alive at this moment in time.
Like, for us to be on Earth in 2020 (as chaotic, as transformative, as humbling, and as heartbreaking as this year is) it’s really a gift. I mean, I think it says so much about each of our collective souls that we would even decide to show up right now, to serve right now.
So, I’m balancing as best as I can, having a wild, amazing, super-yummy two-year-old, has made life so much better because the days get heavy, life gets heavy, and then being able to see magic in his eyes and be able to see, you know, his development, and be able to feel his joy, ignites it in me too.
I love that. And it’s even a good reminder of why we are doing this for your 2-year old and it’s for all of the children out there. And you know I go on TikTok and I see these generation Zs who are teenagers right now and just how awake they are, like how much they care, like, they made this funny video of about someone who says All Lives Matter, and like “Oh great, All lives matter, so do you want to talk about the trans people who are being killed; or do you want to talk about the kids at the ICE border” and they are so aware of everything that is happening, but they still remain so light-hearted and playful and I think that most of us have never experienced that dance, So we’re like “Oh my god there’s all this shit happening, we’re so overwhelmed” and like you know, it turns very Facebook where everyone’s just like fighting against each other and if you’re happy in this moment you’re like, the perpetrator right? But what I love, these kids just intuitively, maybe it’s a part of this soul’s, they know that this life is, you know, the dance of duality. They are like these baby Krishnas coming forth, and they’re like, “I can be blissful in this moment play charades, and then the next moment be like dismantling patriarchy. And it’s all part of the dance.
Yes, oh my God, that’s so true. You know, it’s so funny too because it’s like, it definitely to me feels like so many of the most ancient souls chose to be embodied in this lifetime, so we are really seeing this like ushering in of these divine beings that have a lot of wisdom, that have a lot of grace, that have a lot of ease, and their ability to teach and learn coming into form right now, so, it’s a crazy time. I mean, as chaotic as it feels sometimes, I am also like, wildly excited to see how the next 5-10 years unfold, like where we’re able to get cause we’re on an accelerated path right now. You know, there is a reason why we are being thrown into forward motion (not even nudged or pushed, but we are being like, sling-shotted into processing and dissolving, so it’s going to be incredible to see what we are be able to manifest in the next 5-10.
And I love how you said that it’s probably partially because of Covid-19, everyone having like all of their, you know, sensory withdrawals taken away from them that you are taken back to barebones then you look at things a little bit longer, and maybe if we were moving at that pace that we were previously moving at, we would say “Oh another black guy killed by the police, another this, another that” and it wouldn’t have phased us so much. So do you see that peoples’, right now, maybe their hearts are opening to a greater capacity that this conversation is even happening?
I think it’s a couple things. I think it’s a mixture of also… Like for me as a black person, and also for the black community, it’s really gotten to the boiling point of being utterly fed up. And also recognizing our own worth in this world, and then being able to stand in the fullness of who we are, and stand in the fullness of our story.
You know, I think, like, there has never been a time for the people who this affects that someone dying, or someone being brutalized, or someone experiencing systemic Racism has not been just absolutely crippling and devastating. And I think for a long time it was like, anyone who was not black, or you know, not to generalize, but a large enough group of people that are not black. There was not a depth of understanding experiences outside of their own. So for them, they are thinking that all of these little blips, all these little new stories that might catch their attention because they are underreported in mainstream media, but that might happen to make it through. They are thinking that these are the exception, and for the black community, we have recognized that this has actually been the rule. You know, so I think, I do think social media has played a huge part in that, and the fact that it’s like, most people spend their whole lives avoiding themselves, most people spend their whole lives not knowing how to spend time with themselves or not knowing how to accept themselves, and part of the gift of, you know, some of the social isolation and quarantining of Covid-19 has been – you don’t have a choice anymore, you know, like, this is the new normal, self-awareness is the new normal, choosing personal evolution is the new normal, or being forced to personally evolve is the new normal – that’s being required of all of us. And I think that gift of a lot of this alone time, a lot of this boiling point frustration, or emotional break-downing that has caused people to now have to seek out other methods of care and help aside from like typical distractions.
I think that that has created ‘The Perfect Storm’ for all of the other dismantling that is going to be happening now societally.
So beautifully said. So, you told an amazing, well amazingly horrible, but a beautiful example of this Systemic Racism that is in our judicial system, and that was two boys who had committed the exact same crime on the same day and were treated differently. Can you share a little bit of what happened?
Yes, so that, oh my gosh, that to me is one of the most perfect examples of the systems in place that changed family structures for generations. And I think, for a lot of people, again, because they are not acutely aware of what’s going on, or it’s too painful to really believe that it’s going on. I had shared this on Instagram and I thought it was such a perfect example where it showed that in this State there were two men, they were roughly the same age, I want to say roughly between 19 and 21; one of them was white one of them was black. They committed the exact same crime of burglary, the exact same crime. Within the court world, there are like points, there’s like a points counting system of how you come up with sentencing sometimes depending on what the charges are, depending on your priors, depending on, you know, so many different factors. Let me just stress I am not a lawyer, if I have lawyers listening give me some grace, I’m trying my best to explain that process. So two boys, one white one black, same age, same crime, both went in front of the judge on the same day, both had the exact amount of points, same exact judge. The young man, who was white, for his burglary, got sentenced to 2 years. The young man who was black got sentenced to 29 years. So one of them is going to get out of jail still early 20s, the other one is going to get out of jail at around 50.
So when we talk about the effects of Systemic Racism; when we unpack the impact of generational trauma that perfectly illustrates it. This has now shattered a family’s entire system right? Like, this person will no longer be an active member of their family or community; they won’t have the opportunity to impact the world; their family will mourn their loss; their family will now be broken and dismantled because of that loss of him. And that will affect generations to come because we all pass down trauma, even when we have the best intentions and when you add Systemic Racism on top of the spiritual curriculum that you have already come to this Earth to explore, you are buried in a hole that takes hundreds of years for your ancestors and for your lineage to get freed from. And so there’s no real way to actually look at that situation and to not see the inherent oppression that has taken place throughout the history of the United States.
You know, there’s absolutely no rationalizing that, you know. And I think before things were really documented, before we were getting clear examples of things, so many people, to avoid some these really inconvenient and painful truths, especially ones that might require them to do something, have just been rationalizing it, acting like “Well, if you don’t resist arrest this wouldn’t happen” or “Well, if you don’t commit a crime this wouldn’t happen.” I mean yeah, you got 29 years but you shouldn’t have done the crime. But now when we are able to see in real time, while someone else that looks different did the same thing will be out in 2, what’s the real issue? What is the real system and who does it actually benefit? Who does it destroy?
That is such a prime example of this and I love how you showed that just systemic familial issue that is going to be caused from this because now that’s, however many brothers and sisters they had, my brother is in jail, you know, essentially for the rest of his life, you know; my uncle; my grandfather, my son, my cousin. This is like, everyone who has had a sibling that has ever gone through something knows how connected you are to your sibling’s pain, so, it’s not this one guy is gone in a vacuum and no one else is affected by it. It’s every single person, and as you share before, whoever knew him and whoever loved him that is affected by it. And I think that this is such a beautiful example of that because then we can see that it’s not about “O well, he did a crime” it’s (a lot of people are doing crimes of all colors, why was he treated differently?) and I also did some research that the man who killed George Floyd, Derek Chauvin’s wife has actually gotten in trouble for the same thing – for a fake around $20 check, and is she dead over it, you know.
So, when we see this we like what is the difference here? It’s skin color!
It’s skin color period! Period point blank. It is what it is; we have to call it like it is. And I love that you brought that up about the officer’s wife because there was this other thing that I saw on Twitter that was so perfectly illustrated. It was like a 30-year old-ish white guy on Twitter, lived New York, shared a story how he used a $5 or $20 counterfeit bill to pay for something, and now it’s the funny story, the icebreaker story that he tells at parties about – “Oh yeah this one time I used a fake bill and I got this…and hahaha” right. And for a black man, who actually, it was proven – it was not a counterfeit $20, for a black man it ended in his life being lost and his child now not having a father, and all that we see happening in the world because there was a thought that the bill was counterfeit and it was not. And even if it was counterfeit, he would have got a ticket right? Like, he would have got something small, it’s, there’s no reason why his life should be taken. It’s funny to see some of the arguments that come from people right? When they don’t want to accept what is; When they are in fear of this reality or when they are so filled with shame at their own behavior or at their lack of knowledge, and so instead, they move into a space of defensiveness; they move into a space of just and self-righteousness instead of surrendering to what they don’t know and create space to evolve, and ascend, and become better.
It’s funny because there’s so many big debates that happen regarding the death penalty, right? Like, we hear people talking constantly about eradicating the death penalty, which I am 100-percent, I stand in alignment with that and many States have gone through that and repealed that, and then you have people who also argue about pro-choice, being pro-life, being pro-choice, right? And what a woman can or can’t do with her body and demanding that every child, every embryo has a right to come to term and a right to be in this world. And you’ll see those same people that argue for those things, come up with rationalizations of how or why it could be ok that the police used lethal force in a situation against a black person. And where is the alignment in that right? Like, it’s ok that someone, because you’re assuming they resisted arrest, have their life stolen from them for an offence that wouldn’t have even brought about jail time, but then you can fight for people to not be on the death penalty (probably people that look like you), and then you can fight to try to force women to bring to term children that they would wish to do otherwise with – where is the sense in that, right? Like, that, and I think that it’s so important for us to call-out moments like that in very specific terms and in very rational terms because we have to dismantle this defensiveness; we have to dismantle this internal shame that people have about being wrong or that people have about not knowing more about the world, or not knowing more about themselves. And I think when we can really get to that point where we’re able to find the mechanism or have perfected more of some tools of dismantling that inner barrier and all those barriers to healing that we all have, but especially the types of barriers to healing and personal growth that racists have or clausative racists have, I think when we get to that point we’re really going to see some incredible shifts happening.
It is so crazy because this morning I had the exact thought. I wished they cared as much about black people as they do about unborn fetuses. And what’s interesting enough is they’re trying to get rid of planned parenthood which a lot of times is black teenage moms, often times in rape situations or in situations that could compromise her life and her livelihood, but “No, no, no, this unborn black baby must be born”, but this full-term 15-year old (who is still a child – no, they’re not worthy of a life anymore). Like, I just don’t understand, so where do you think this comes from, this like discrepancy that is in so many peoples’ sub-consciousness?
Oh man, ehm..ha ha ha. I think it’s so layered. You know, I do think to a certain extent, and sometimes this is even hard for me to reckon with as we’re in some of the more painful facets of this time, but we all come to the table to learn whatever we’re meant to know, right? Like, we’ve arrived at Earth, these souls having this human experience, to be in the human condition and to learn whatever opposites we needed to know, to learn whatever lessons it is that we ask to be revealed to us. Obviously in human form that can manifest as a ton of different things to teach you the same lesson, right? So, I think to a large extent there’s this overall spiritual shedding that is happening but that has to happen for everyone. You know, there’s this advancement that has to happen and maybe it comes down to, you know, I believe even in reincarnation, maybe it comes down to these are the people that spent lifetimes avoiding themselves and so they’ve arrived at the same moment, right? The lesson repeats is needed. I consider myself to be a transcendent spirit, so I know that when I arrive at Earth I’m checking things off my list and I’m transmuting karma, and I’m going back up and I’m coming back down for more, right? And that’s kind of how I’ve always gone after my own personal growth and my personal healing. It’s like, if I recognize what the pattern in my life is, I now run into that pattern anytime it shows itself instead of running away. And, so, I think we have a lot of people that (in human form and also in spirit form) have been avoiding themselves for lifetimes, and so they’re stagnant and they’re stuck, and they sometimes feel unmovable, and I think they’re very scared. I think it’s mostly a fear of themselves and a fear of the unknown and a fear of knowledge, and an internal laziness, perhaps. You know, to be awake and to be aware, it can be exhaustive, it is your life’s work once you become awake and aware; it does require something of you; it is challenging that’s what it was designed to be. I think, to a large extent that could be a part of it – I’ve got to be quite honest, I have no idea the way a mind of a person who thinks and behaved that way fully works, because it’s so foreign to the way that I live and to the way that I express. I do, even in, some of the people that could be considered worst-case scenarios; I do try to find a thread of compassion so that I can better understand, so that I can better serve. You know, I think it is important to really look, to not only as we study the mechanisms of race and how it plays out in our lives and how it’s played out societally since this country was founded. I think it’s also important that to dismantle, we have to do a lot of investigation and study on the psychology of the minds of the people who live racist or bigoted lives, or very epithetic lives. We have to investigate that, there has to be some research and some funding put there because none of this is going to be fully dismantled until we can understand it, you know, just like, it’s not a matter of just choose love, right. Like that sounds good but love is a verb, love is an action, you know, love is a movement, a divine dance, an embodiment, and so I think that we have to keep that same energy of excavation and understanding that we apply to our own selves as we heal and as we transform in order for any of us to rise to higher levels spiritually, or to become our highest self. We have had to understand ourselves; we’d have to understand the narratives that we’ve created; we’ve had to understand our experiences in order to dissolve them and move into a space of acceptance – love, joy, peace, and I think the same is true when we look at what are some of the processes for dismantling. We can no longer put a band aid over it; we can no longer spiritually bypass; we can no longer weaponize positivity – we have to look at it with honest clear eyes, in the fullness of its shadow, in the fullness of its light, call it out for what it is, call the emotions by name, call the experiences by name and then dissolve them.
I have some friends who, and there’s a group of a lot of people who call themselves ‘Recovering Catholics’ and this friend of mine is super, super spiritual, but used to be, you know, think meditation was satanic, thought abortion was like you were basically a murderer, thought gay people were horrible until he found out that he was gay himself, and basically had to just go through all of his thought processes, and I think that we’re passing this point of just organized religion because these organized religions have been distorted, they’re not even their pure, like the mysticism of Christianity is very seldom there and what we’re being taught in a typical church in the United States specifically. So, I think a lot of times we formulate our beliefs based off of what our caretakers and our community told us. So, if we’re told “You’re a pro-lifer, anti-gay, anti-immigrant” you’re like “Okay, this is who I am! And I think we also have it normalized change in our minds, we think that if you change your mind about something you’re a failure, you’re not reliant anymore, so even with this new information, we’re so congruent to how we grew up that even if you shared this story with me, I’m like “But that means mom and dad and the stranger were wrong and I can’t let that be because that’s going to shatter my entire belief system.” But I see this happening so much and so beautifully from within the communities of people, you know I think Agape is such a great example of this, of reverend Michael Beckquitz saying “You can have the beauty and the mysticism of Christianity and have it be inclusive to all other world views and life choices.”
Yeah. Yes. Yes. You know, I think there’s so much beauty in all belief systems, right, at their core.
They’re all saying the same thing – it’s the hero’s journey, right? Like, they’re all getting to the same point of us coming into a space of self-realization connectedness to source and then being of service. Every religion ever created, every story ever told has that common theme.
Now, the thing about, and I can only speak to America because my understanding is as someone that grew up here. As we experience religion here, it’s such a, religion has also become a tool of oppression, right? Religion has also in many areas become a tool of avoidance, for many people. And you get told that you’re better than other people or somehow more righteous if you belong to one of these collectives, and so then you think that just because you say you’re something, that that means you are and that you are superior to other people. And so, then you start being in judgment of everyone else, and in no way, shape or form work to understand everyone else’s experience, have compassion or have empathy, right? So, it becomes kind of like this system of ranking; it becomes its own hierarchy, you know. I hear so many people say that you know, if you just say that you’re a Christian, then that’s enough, and it’s like no, you’re still required to do the work. None of us can avoid the work that’s called on our life for us to experience ourselves and experience God. And I think religion, for a lot of people is more so used as a tool of avoidance and as a tool of control, you know. And so, when you see those systems in place, like those religious systems and also those family structures where everyone just blindly parrots thing that they’ve heard or regurgitates large amounts of information that they haven’t even intellectualized let alone embodied, it creates this co-dependency of sorts. It’s like a religious co-dependene; it’s like a narcissist and its victim almost sometimes, you know, and you don’t really understand how deep it goes until you get on the other side of it, or until you invest in yourself, some more excavating and some more adventure, and some more curiosity and finding other pathways to yourself, you know. Religion, just like everything else, it can be weaponized. Our families, our sense of loyalty, all of those things – everything has a light and shadow aspect you know, so there is opportunity for there to be aspects of even the best things that are not actually serving or healthy for you.
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I think it is so important to have like, this conversation because so many people are afraid of even, you know just like we have been so afraid of talking about politics, now we’re into politics. We also need to talk about where the root of these beliefs come from and if we don’t talk about religion, then we’re never going to understand the full picture.
A question that I have, is a lot of the black community grew up Christian and there is a quite large amount of homophobia too. How do you see black communities, gay communities, Mexican communities, communities that have actually you know, in a way have their own divisions amongst themselves come together and actually go, you know, against the oppression that keeps everyone back?
Yeah, well I think first thing’s first – you have to dismantle white-sist supremacy. Because the effect that colonization has had, has affected all of us and has also turned us against each other in so many ways. We’ve only been allowed to exist in relation to what white supremacy has allowed for us, right? So, first, that’s what has to happen. First we have to stop and dismantle those systems and create a space of equality and then heal from all the other stuff that you never wanted to be in the first place, or that we never wanted to have. All the other biases that were a byproduct of the systems in place that structured our lives, you know. And I think all of those things will kind of work themselves out, you know. We’ll be at a point where we can have a more expansive conversations and hold more effective space for one another, for our differences. But the common denominator for all of us, in terms of systems of oppression, is White Supremacy that happened the second we decided you know, the Founding Fathers of this country (or so they’re called) decided to leave Europe and come here, you know. And from that moment forward we were all at the mercy of white supremacy and the structures in place, and it’s turned us against each other, you know, it’s turned us against ourselves; it’s created this inability sometimes to accept different things because we haven’t been accepted in any way, shape of form, you know. So, when you’re taught self-denial, when you’re taught not to hear or see another person’s pain and when that is held off as true because your own pain is never seen or heard, we’re just human beings you know, you can’t hold effective space for everyone else or stand in the fullness of your authentic self or operate as your highest self when someone’s foot is constantly on your neck. You know, so, I think that that would definitely be the next stage as we dismantle these systems, we extend so much more grace, so much more openness, so much more love into all the facets of our life.
Yes. And this ‘divide and conquer’ method is you know, the oldest plan in the book that’s why it’s created arbitrary borders in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, put opposing religions or tribes against each other, handed them both tons of AK-47s so they would wipe each other out and then the colonizers can take the spices, take the diamond, take the oil, whatever they want, while everyone is so focused on the Shias and the Sunnis, the Hutus and the Tutsis putting together these people who are essentially the same, but making them think “Oh that’s your enemy”, like, and it’s happening again, and I’m seeing it even happening today in social media. A lot of people who are on the same side are so focused on making that other person, like, the perpetrator, when it’s not, and I’m seeing this division happening which is causing a lot of our burn-outs, so.
I would love, if you’ve had any experience, you know, being an activist with other activists of like “You’re not doing it right” or “It should be like this” or “It should be like that” and people more focused on like tearing down each other’s forms of resistance rather than the actual oppression.
You know, and that’s so tough and you’re so a hundred percent right. I think those are just, I try not to get too invested in any of those narratives either because I think that that’s just a further byproduct of things that are unhealed inside all of us, right? We can’t fix everything in a day.
We’re not going to get to everything in this lifetime. So I think that, you know, we have to recognize the biggest gift that we have is the ability to be in observance of ourselves and the ability to shift our perspective when needed. It’s the closest thing we have to a magic wand; it’s the closest thing we have to attaining world peace, right? It’s continuing to look at ourselves, to observe ourselves with non-judgment and so, you know, I think unfortunately we are all walking around as wounds sometimes, and we’re all unhealed in so many ways, in so many was, not just with the systems in place but all the complex trauma that that has caused on each of us and then add in our own spiritual curriculum, add in our egos, add in our insecurities, add in our very flawed human forms, you know I think that we are always going to experience that to some degree (at least throughout my lifetime, I’m sure) but you know, I think t’s just important that we, when we’re in experiences like that, where ego begins to take over, it’s to get really centered and grounded in what are we fighting for? What do we want to change? What is the way that I can show up and feel seen and heard, and extend that to someone else, even if I disagree? You know, I think it’s, in this moment especially, we also have to do a lot of ego checking – what is ego and what’s real? What is the coping mechanism of self-sabotage? And what’s real? What can we actually and effectively change and heal right now? And what can we promise to look at a little bit later when we have the emotional capacity to hold space for it?
And I think it’s so important for people to recognize that there’s so, there’s hundreds of years of trauma that is re-surfacing right now, so a lot of people are like “I’m trying to help, why are they so angry at me?” And you know, the tone-policing comes, and so.. Can you share with us, you know, some people feel maybe attacked, like they said the wrong thing, they’re feeling attacked, and it can further perpetrate the stereotype of the angry black woman and then the white fragility also gets further because they’re feeling like “I can’t get it right” and then the white tears come and then we just keep replaying the same narrative that existed since the beginning of this country. So, how can white people feel like not so attacked when a black person’s expressing their sacred anger for what has happened?
Yes. So one, you have to get over yourself. You feel attacked because you’re uncomfortable with your history, and you’re uncomfortable with your placement in the world, but that is a beautiful opportunity for you to see how other people have experience being alive, that are not you and that are not your friends. So, I think, you know, to be quite honest, I don’t have any space or capacity to worry about a white person’s fragility, or a white person’s defensiveness in this moment. That is not my job, and that is one hundred percent your own stuff which you need to heal. You know, the saying goes “Hit dog will holler” right? If it doesn’t apply to you, if this is not who you are and who you’ve been, then you shouldn’t be offended by it. And you should just use it as a further example of what you are helping to fight for and break down. You know, I think when we think of white fragility – white fragility and white defensiveness has come to be because of the trappings they’ve put in place. You know, because of the systems they’ve put in place and a fear about those systems, a fear about the truth of self and a deep discomfort about the affect it has had and a deep discomfort about the amount of privilege that you may have experienced because of it. When we think of a stereotype of angry black women that is not actually real; that stereotype came about to further help white people not engage with things that make them uncomfortable. You know, the whole idea process behind an angry black woman is so flawed and it’s so dangerous because what it really is, (it’s also a feminist issue and a race issue), what it really is, it’s saying that “I want to keep hurting you but I don’t want you to have right to feel anything about it and I don’t want to listen to you. So, I’m now going to give you a negative title that somehow (it’s very narcissistic in process for people that are familiar, like, with this system of sociopaths-narcissists).” It’s like you villainize someone else and then judge them for being upset or hurt by something you did to them. So that’s where that stereotype comes into play, you know, and that was, I think it’s very, to be angry is valid, you know. If you are a black woman who has not just experienced Systemic Racism, but you’ve also experienced sexual oppression, collectively, you are in a system where you are the most seen and most unheard in this country, and you are dying at a high rate by just giving birth; you’re denied medical attention because people are assuming that you are over-exaggerating. And also, there was this stereotype that black people could endure more pain than white people.
I heard that – by the founder of gynecology. He was doing tests on black women without any anesthesia because of this stereotype that black women don’t feel as much pain.
And the stereotype came about in slavery when you are looking to subject people and treat them as animals and treat them as not human. It’s the same thing when we burn cows, right? Like, when you are hurting cows and you’re using electric shock or doing any of the things that we do to our animals, you do that because you can’t hear them when they are in pain; you do that because they don’t have a voice or the ability to speak, so you tell yourself “Well, they’re animals, they don’t really hurt” right? It’s the same thing, the same mechanism was put in place during slavery because you would treat human beings like animals and then you wanted to be able to do anything you wanted with their bodies – amputate pieces of them as punishment; whip them as punishment; rape them for pleasure and for punishment; rip away their children, right. So, that is what began first, that narrative that has become racist rhetoric and then led the person who invented gynecology per say, to have that same stance and push that narrative forward. It’s so layered, it’s so layered, but it’s like, think for a second, right, like, even if that stereotype were true (which it isn’t), even if that stereotype of being an angry black woman were true, to take a moment and sit in compassion for how that narrative came to exist. You have been dominated and oppressed and broken for hundreds of years, would you be angry? Would you be frustrated? Would you be at your emotional capacity? Would you be numb inside, right? You’ve seen, you potentially grew up in a broken home because of these systems in place; you most likely experienced daily micro-aggressions about your existence, and you are under-valued and under-paid in every sector, in every field; when you go to the doctor, you’re not believed; there’s a high percentage that you can die while having a child – historically, people in our community people have been tested, right. Like, you think of the Tuskegee experiments and syphilis being injected into black men and they were watched slowly dying instead of helped. You think about all of those gynecological experiments, you know, there’s so much, there’s so much. And so, for anyone that tries to make light of the anger or the pain of black people right now is for you to be living in a very shallow space and really not have a full understanding of yourself, let alone the rest of humanity. And I don’t say that as a judgment but it is very specific, it is very real, you know. And so that’s not to vilify anyone that feels that way, but that is to say “Hey, this is your moment in time to step up and become more of who you’re supposed to be.” This is your moment in time to get out of your own ego and to get out of your own experiences and expand and stretch and become more, you know.
So beautifully stated, thank you so much for that. Like, download from source and I read this quote “Black lives matter more than white feelings” and you know, we have to temporarily get out of our Kumbaya circle where everything is great and talk about the fact that some people in the circle have been raped, brutalized, oppressed and things that I think are so hard for people to fathom, as you said, that they’d rather pretend that it’s a story, that there’s overreaction, or use terms like “Oh, well, you’re playing the victim card” or “Well, if you keep repeating that narrative, then isn’t it going to keep showing up for you?” or “What you focus on persists and let’s not talk about it.” And it’s just such a way of gas-lighting, it’s truly gas-lighting someone’s experience and say that “Well, because I don’t know how to handle that, we might as well just ignore it because it’s too painful to go to the depths of it” and the uncertainty that I think a lot of people have or I don’t even know how to fix this.
So, what can people do right now who are, maybe they’re yoga teachers, healers, they’re in the wellness space, and they really want to be allies-activists but they don’t know how and also they’re afraid of tokenizing black people right now of like, you know, I think a lot of people (I’m sure you’re getting calls left and right; and I’m sure part of you is like “Where were you at before?” you know). And I think a lot of people feel like that they don’t want to be jumping on the band-wagon, they really want to make a lasting difference. So, how can people support right now?
You know, I think it’s important to really spend some time doing some gut-checking, you know.
Really checking in on what is your purpose; what’s your Dharma; what’s your mission; and how can you use those unique gifts to be of service in this moment of crisis. Not everyone is meant to be a scholar about this right? Like, not everyone is meant to be a protester in this. But what are the ways that you can help move the world forward and specifically, if you’re coming from a spiritual community and you know, you believe that we’re all spirit and that, you know, all of these social constructs are not real in the spirit realm, then it’s important that you also act that way, right? That you don’t separate yourself in this moment as, in your human form, as being other or being different from what’s happening. You have to take up the cause of humanity, you know, I think, obviously there is a lot of tokenism happening, I haven’t had that experience because this is my work. These conversations we’re having are conversations I’ve been having before this happened. So, this is the space that I occupy and that I feel very grateful to be of service in and to continue growing. But I think it’s very, it’s important to educate yourself; it’s important to self-check. If you are in the spiritual world, there are a lot of tools that you have access to. So, use them for yourself right now; use them for your own self-care; use them for your own measuring tool of like “Where can I heal and grow right now? What is this triggering in me and why? And, can I heal it; can I dissolve those walls?” because the more whole each of us becomes, the better we all benefit, you know. The more whole each person becomes who is having a difficult time understanding the world right now, the better for all of us. So, I think, dive-in, be of service; I think it’s also important to do your own research on things that you want to learn about, you know. Something that happens a lot is everyone is rushing to their black friend, rushing to a black person and saying “Show me, teach me, how!” right. It’s not a black person’s job to now, as they’re fighting their own fight, also give you a Master’s degree in something that you’re just looking at for the first time. And I say that with love you know, pace yourself, you’re not going to amass all of the knowledge that we have about what’s happening in a weekend. This has been our life; this has been the stories passed down from generation to generation so we could protect ourselves, you know. So, give yourself some grace with that but also, like, be diligent. This is human history, this is not just black or white – if one of us is unseen and unheard all of us are at the end of the day. No system can really flourish unless everyone has opportunity, and unless everyone is treated with dignity, and with respect, and with love, and with value and worth, you know. So, I think it’s just important to start looking at the experience that we’re all having from a more spiritual standpoint, really understanding, like, those levels of transformation and really understanding that cycle that we’ve applied to ourselves for growth and for healing. And looking at the world through that lens and applying it to us all; applying it to this particular moment and the dismantling that’s happening and the shedding that’s happening.
But specifically if you’re working in a space as a yoga teacher, as a meditation teacher, what I really can say is do more of that; keep doing that as you’re informing yourself; as you’re learning about people’s barriers to healing; as you’re learning about your own barriers to healing. Like, you have the skills, you have tools, a lot of people in this space have the credentials and the certification programs, so now, expand yourself and say “How can I extend all of this vast beautiful knowledge I have to also be of service to people I’m not that familiar with?” You know, I don’t want to vilify anyone for working for the community that looks like them. I work for the community that looks like me. All of my work and business is in service to women of color, all of it. That doesn’t mean that I’m not also plugged in to the rest of the world and to other people’s experience and that I don’t also have deep friendships with people who are not black, you know, like, and it doesn’t mean I can’t also be of service to people that are not black. So, I think it’s important that, for all of our healers, all of our light-workers, to just sit in your gifts, really explore your gifts and say “How can I use them more fully? How can I share them with people that I don’t know or don’t look like me, or whose stories I’m not familiar with?” That’s the true art of being a teacher, being a guide, being a Guru, you know, whatever you consider yourself. You’re for everyone, these healings-teachings are for everyone, and you just find new translations of how to connect them with other people.
So beautifully stated, thank you for that. And I think a lot of people struggle right now looking at their communities and it is mostly white. If they are white, and it’s interesting because in my membership, where over 50% women of color, and I’m like, people ask me why is that, and I’m “Well maybe because I am a woman of color that they might resonate or feel more safe.” But I think it’s a price-point thing, you know. Like if things are super, super expensive, you’re actually going to marginalize and cut out a lot of people of color, but I think it’s also energetic.
So, what advice do you have for white teachers of any sort who want to have a more diverse audience and community but don’t really know how to begin that?
So, like, the issue of like the whiteness of wellness – it’s pretty layered, it’s pretty layered, I’ll start there – it’s pretty layered. I think that there is a myth to some extent that price-points are out-pricing black and brown people; because black and brown people make money too, you know, like it’s not now within every racial group there is that socio-economic hierarchy, right?
So, you have rich white, you have middle-class white, you have poor white, same thing with us, you got rich black, you got middle-class black, you got poor black. Every race has these kind of structures in place. I think what it really is, what’s keeping, excuse me, black and brown people out of a lot of these white spaces – it’s just when you walk in you know this healer and this teacher has not educated themselves on experiences outside of themselves. So, I think the more that teachers can really invest in other people’s experiences and learning about how to translate their tools, their healing and their skills to be of service to sometimes more complicated healing, because the thing is, if you are black or brown in this country, your healing is, to a large extent, at a higher percentage more complicated than your white counterparts, which is not to say that white people don’t struggle and suffer – not at all. We all come to this Earth with some crazy spiritual curriculum and you know, there’s no hierarchy for pain. The difference is, if you are black or brown you have that spiritual curriculum, sometimes those awful experiences, those really terrible traumas, and then you also have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD). Which means that your pain is renewed daily, which means that, every day, on top of the pain that you already carry and the life experiences that you’ve already signed up for in a spiritual way, you also now have the systems of oppression in place that keep you stuck in this space of under-value and worthlessness. And so, it’s a lot harder to climb out of that right? Like, at a lot of times as we’re doing our spiritual healing and our spiritual growth, like, we come into an understanding that we are worthy because we exist. No other reason, not because of a job title, not because of this, not because of that – we are worthy because we are the essence of God and the frequency of love, right? And that’s what’s really helped set so many of us free, helped set so many of us on such a deeply spiritual path.
If you’re a black or brown person, especially in this country, is what I’m speaking to, you also then, you’re trying to get to that point with your healing, but then everything about life and its systems are systematically continuously telling you that you are less valuable, that in fact you are not worthy, that in fact you are not safe, right; that in fact you cannot trust anyone to care for you. Dismantling that is so hard; dismantling that is so stressful, and so I think what keeps so many black and brown people out of these white establishments is the fact that you know walking in that they don’t understand any of that, and you know that if you share yourself in some ways, you’re going to feel marginalized and you’re going to feel minimized because someone is just going to tell you “It’s mind over matter, think positive, let go of your narrative, let go of your stories, you have to choose to heal.” You know, they’re just going to tell you all of those things and regurgitate that information without actually seeing what your distinct and unique experience is. And I think that is one of the biggest barriers of why white teachers tend to have all white students. And so again, like, I really want to bring it back and really extend this with so much love to any light-workers, teachers and healers that are listening or inspiring people in this field – it’s not enough to just figure out how to heal yourself, right. That is the biggest part and my God, with full authenticity I say congrats to you, because as I know for myself, it’s been the mission of my life to heal myself. And through healing myself I’m able to help heal other people. But you also have to be continued education right, like, seek out, be curious, try to find answers to questions that you don’t know, and really enforce your teaching, really enforce your tools with that and I think that’s how you’ll be able to better connect to people who don’t look like you and keep them in attendance at your programs.
Uh! That was amazing, you are such a Queen. Thank you for that, and I think that that is really going to, like, open the minds of so many people who have been so perpetually asking themselves this question and I do know a lot of people right now are trying to make an active measure to have that diversity, but without that foundational education, you’re not going to keep them, you know. You might give a couple scholarships but do they want to keep coming back? Do they want to tell their friend? No! Until you understand and it’s so fascinating right now seeing how a lot of these spiritual truths are being revisited right now from this systemic oppression lens that it’s not so simple as “Oh, you create your story and it’s all in your mind” because now we’re seeing that we don’t live in this like perfectly just world that we live whatever is in our mindsets in a way (I wish we lived in that world) maybe in another dimension we do, but in this 3D plain that we’re in has had so much wrong shit happen, like, purely bad shit, you know. And I think that that, it kind of shatters a lot of people’s beliefs that “Well, if I just change my mind, everything in my reality will change, so if you just change your mind too, everything in your reality will just change.” And it’s going to be interesting to see what happens to a lot of these like, spiritual truths, when we’re looking at the systemic oppression that has literally been withholding so many people from actually living that.
Yeah, God, that is such a beautiful and perfect point because even when we think of some of our, and there are all like spiritually universal truths for sure, right, but we have to create some space for new interpretations based on changes since they were written and said. American racism didn’t exist when the yoga sutras were written. It doesn’t make their teachings less real or less true, but then how do we also now, actively apply them to conditions that did not exist when they did, you know. Yeah, I love that point.
Yeah, I think it’s going to cause us to go much deeper to our beliefs and deeper into looking at like what is darkness? Like, sometimes I think how did people even let slavery happen? Like, how is everyone just okay with this? But I’m like “It’s the same people who were okay with the police brutality happening, you know; the same people – there’s so much war and suffering happening that we’re somehow okay with, so when you realize it in ourselves, we can realize that there is a big power of group think, right? If you’re not concerned with it, then I won’t be concerned with it. And now that we’re in a way getting rid of that and we’re all becoming more radical independent thinkers, then if you start to see “Oh, this issue’s actually really bothering me, then I’ll start to listen to you and then maybe that’ll wake me up too, so.”
It is going to be a very fascinating next couple of years on how this all unfolds.
Yeah, and it’s like that quote where, you know, it said “If you really loved and accepted yourself, you could never hurt another” right? So, I really think it brings it back to that collective consciousness ascend. I think it’s okay with people because they’ve never really valued themselves and they’ve put on this false show and this arrogance of being better than or being superior or supreme too, but it’s actually shown that they don’t care about themselves that much, right? And that’s why their hearts and their lives are filled with hate and unhappiness and they aim it at the people they think there will be no consequences for hurting.
Exactly, it comes from self-loathing, and it comes from it being a quick win, you know, like, “I don’t have my life figured out but at least I’m not that person over there.” And it’s just a bunch of people pointing the finger and pointing the finger, and that feeling like a little boost even though it’s a complete fabrication. So, there’s going to be a lot of tears coming forth, a lot of tears that needed to come forth of the people who just never truly honored themselves, so.
Even though it’s heavy I am excited for it. It is the shift that needed to happen.
Yeah, yeah, we’re blessed, we’re blessed to be alive right now. I feel grateful AF to be here in this moment and to be able to, in whatever kind of way, serve at such a monumental time in human history. Like, for hundreds of years they’ll be talking about this time that we’re alive, for hundreds of years.
Yes, and I truly believe that we will live in the New Earth, like it will happen in our lifetime and we’re going to go back to our grandkids and great-grandkids and they’re going to be like “There was Racism? What? How did you humans let that happen?” And we’re like “We know, it was crazy!” Crazy! There were a lot of social media fights because a lot of people were triggered at the fact that Black Lives Matter, apparently that’s a very, you know, a very out-there thing to say.
I saw this funny, I don’t know who it was, it was like a comedian from a couple years ago and they were like “We’re just saying black lives matter, we’re not saying black lives are superior, just black lives matter” you know. Would black life exist? Be a little bit more comfortable for you and it’s just so interesting to see the fact that this is even a triggering topic. That is what’s fascinating.
And I know you’re doing so much great work on this. So where can listeners learn more from you, connect with you and join your community?
Yeah. Hit me up on IG – devibrown and from there you can link to all my stuff. I have a website – devibrown.com; I have karmabliss.com which is where my community lives and where crystals and all of those beautiful magical tools, tangible tools live. And I have a podcast called “Dropping Gems” so you can hear my musings on all of the things.
Thank you so much for sharing, for doing this work for so long, for creating safe spaces and being such a beautiful bridge. I think this episode, and for anyone who’s listening, was an A-HA moment, please share it with anyone else who’s like been trying like to wrap your heads around these conversations and thank you for like, being so open and even allowing me to ask these things that you’re like probably having to explain so much. And I’m sorry on behalf of humanity that you even have to keep explaining this and I thank you so much for doing this on behalf of everyone who can now have that understanding and share it with someone else. So, thank you.
Thank you so much. Thank you for all the beautiful work that you do and thank you for extending your platform to me, and it was just really a joy to unpack some of this with you today. So, I’m grateful.
Wow! How deeply powerful were those words spoken by Devi Brown. This is such important and excavating work that we are doing now (long over-doing), but now is the time because if we don’t do this work now, when are we going to do it?
So, thank you to Devi for sharing her wisdom to us and continue the process of unlearning the false beliefs that have been implanted within you from Systemic Racism and oppression that we were born into; that we’re surrounded by; that we are finally dismantling within and without.
So this is heavy work. Continue to take care of yourself, but get back in, don’t give up because if we can dismantle oppression from its very roots and its very core, then we can so, so quickly create the new paradigm. We’re doing it right now by each and every conversation like this, so be sure to share this episode with any of your friends, family members that are looking to perhaps learn more about anti-racism; maybe they’re just opening their minds to it for the first time. I think the points that Devi made and going into the history of it will really help illuminate the path for so many people.
So, if you loved this episode, I would love to send you a free gift which is the first half of my unreleased book “Eat Right for Your Mind Body Type“. This is a different book than “EatFeelFresh“. My first book ever which is not released anywhere, and I am gifting it exclusively to those who leave a review of my podcast in the iTunes store. So all you’ve got to do is head over to iTunes where you’re maybe listening to this podcast and leave a review, take a screenshot that you’ve left it and email it over to me at [email protected] and I will send you back the first half of my unreleased book “Eat Right for Your Mind Body Type“, which goes all into Ayurveda, Doshas, plant-based nutrition, body types – all of the things in a really fun and engaging way. So this is my gift to you for free for supporting the podcast. Every single review I personally read. It really helps the podcast be listened to by more people so we can raise the vibration of the planet together, and I am soul grateful to have you on this journey.
Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you on the next episode. Namaste.
Episode 299: Anti-Racism, Spiritual Bypass + Generational Trauma with Devi Brown
By Sahara Rose