"Why do you identify with the victim?"
You know, it's funny, over the years, I've been asked this question in so many different ways. It usually comes up during discussions about some pretty important stuff. Like that time when I was trying to explain why it's not cool for a celebrity yoga teacher to keep teaching a class while someone in the room is having a seizure, waiting for the ambulance to come. Or when I speak up about human rights, how our tax dollars are spent or the need for fair wages, only to be told that I need to work through my own issues.
There's this narrative that's way too common in Western spiritual circles. It says that if you feel the pain of others, you've got some personal baggage to sort out. Like, I was actually told that going on a surf trip in a politically unstable country was a form of tantric practice. Seriously?
But here's the thing that's always bugged me: why should we be numb to the suffering of others? It just doesn't sit right. The whole idea that we should strive for this middle-ground apathy in the name of spirituality feels like a betrayal of our humanity.
Empathy doesn't mean you have to walk a mile in someone's shoes, but it does mean you've got to recognize their pain. It's about acknowledging our interconnectedness and allowing ourselves to feel the full spectrum of what it means to be human.
But feeling isn't enough. It's just the first step. The real work is what you do next. How do you channel that empathy into action? We've got so much power at our fingertips. Our choices, our spending, our advocacy, our votes—they all have a massive impact. And right now, we're facing some serious challenges, from the climate crisis to social injustices that have been swept under the rug for way too long.
So, no, I don't identify with the victim, but I can sure as hell see the world we're living in. And I'm not about to turn a blind eye just so a few folks can stay comfy doing nothing. We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for and we’ve got work to do.