August 5, 2016
In these times of political gridlock, heightened social and racial tensions and seemingly endless random violence and terrorism, having the willingness to be neutral can not only be a genuine act of courage, it may also hold the key to the next stage of our collective evolution.
For many, the idea of neutrality goes directly against traditional thinking, which maintains an imperative that we choose sides, take a stand, especially against something or someone deemed to be detrimental or dangerous to ourselves, our families or the collective soul at large. In his Night Trilogy, Elie Wiesel wrote:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”
Given Mr. Wiesel’s experience as a Holocaust survivor, he makes a compelling case, challenging to resist for even the strongest or most evolved among us. However, as Dr. David R. Hawkins points out in his essential book, Power Vs. Force, choosing sides and defending positions “creates polarization, which in turn creates opposition and division.”
Choosing sides creates more sides.
Generally agreed upon laws of physics hold that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Stated another way, when we choose sides, someone else chooses another side, setting the stage for inevitable opposition, resistance and potential conflict. As momentum for our side grows, so does the opposition’s grow, which further entrenches us into the positions that maintain our loyalties to the side we have chosen.
The more the opposition grows, the more rigidly attached we become to our positions, which leads to an inevitable escalation of force to defend our positions. At some point, we become committed to being right, rather than happy or at peace. Of course, the other side is doing the same thing. Unless someone chooses differently, everyone is headed to an inevitable showdown, fueled by fear, pride and rigid attachment to being right no matter the cost.
Power is creative. Force is destructive.
In Power Vs. Force, Dr. Hawkins offers a helpful tool for evaluating the relative energies humans are capable of manifesting from shame at the lowest end of the scale to enlightenment at the top end. Hawkins’ scale is vertical in orientation to acknowledge the elevating ascension of power from 0 at the bottom (complete absence of power) to 1000 at the top end of the scale (pure enlightened power). As energy ascends from no energy to pure energy, humans demonstrate a progressive series of dominant emotions that resonate with the calibrated energies on Hawkins’ scale.
For example, ascending from 0, humans demonstrate the energy of shame at about 20 on the scale. Emotionally speaking, shame is the lowest form of energy human’s manifest. It is a destructive, rather than a creative energy. Continuing to ascend, we generate more and more energy as we move from shame through guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger and pride before finally arriving at courage, the threshold where we begin to have access to creative power, the point where the destructive force of energies below the level of courage begin to wane.
Courage registers at 200 on Hawkins’ scale, just above pride, which calibrates from 175-199. Hawkins maintains that for centuries, the world collectively and predominantly expressed the energy of pride, until crossing the threshold of courage sometime in the late 1800s. At the time Power Vs. Force was written, Hawkins calibrated the collective energy of the planet at about 208, just above the level where courage first expresses.
Pride is greater than shame, but still destructive.
Compared to the energy of shame, pride is an exponentially greater demonstration of creative energies. Pride is an essential gateway that one must pass through on the way to courage. However, pride also justifies and sustains a belief system that supports a rigid attachment to positions that we will fight to defend, even unto death if deemed necessary. Cleaving to the energy of pride keeps us stuck in a self-perpetuating and ceaseless cycle of conflict where peace is as elusive as a butterfly.
As the martial arts teach, a rigid position or stance is a point of vulnerability. If one does not bend, one tends to break. As the proverb goes, pride always comes before the fall. Calibrating below the threshold of courage at 200, pride is still considered an energy of force rather than power. Ultimately, force is destructive, not creative. While pride is a more advanced demonstration of energy than is shame, it is not yet true creative power.
Courage is the threshold of creative power.
As we ascend through the energy of pride, we begin demonstrating the energy of courage. At the threshold of courage, we first begin to access creative power, rather than destructive force. It takes courage to lay aside the energy of pride. It takes even more courage to accomplish neutrality, which is the threshold beyond courage, where true creative power really becomes available.
On Hawkins’ scale, we first manifest the energy of courage at 200 and it is the dominant trait humans express until we achieve the energy of neutrality at 250. Hawkins calibrates the power of unconditional love at 500, which means neutrality is halfway up the scale to unconditional love.
In between, neutrality and love, humans demonstrate capacities of willingness, acceptance and reason. Beyond love, the unconditional or Agape expression of it, which calibrates from 500-599, is peace, which begins at 600. Beyond peace is enlightenment, calibrating from 700 to 1000. At the very top end of Hawkins’ scale would be pure enlighten power, demonstrated by ascended masters like Jesus, Buddha and maybe even Gandhi.
Neutrality is greater than courage.
So, what does this all have to do with our individual and collective evolution? What are we to think about Elie Weisel’s seemingly rational imperative that we must choose sides to oppose oppressors? How is being neutral courageous?
The first thing to know is that the neutrality Hakwins is speaking to is far from being passive and is actually a quite active creative power, allowing for flexibility and nonresistance. Neutrality is not the same as passivity, and it is certainly not the same as silence. Consciously active neutrality embodies the quintessential wisdom inherent in the Eastern proverb: Be like water.
Maintaining neutrality allows for a “non-judgmental, realistic appraisal of problems” and a relaxed attachment to outcomes where not getting one’s way can feel like the equivalent of a tiny death. Being neutral means one is open to new options, which creates a sense of inner confidence and buoyancy in one’s consciousness.
Demonstrating the energy of neutrality, humans exude a sense of general well-being; a “confident capability to live in the world.” Experientially speaking, neutrality helps to create a sense of inner safety, an inviolable space in one’s consciousness beyond the appeals of fear that the world and its ceaseless conflict daily attempt to bring to our experience.
Neutral people are not interested in conflict, competition or playing the guilt card. They are amiable, emotionally stable and have no need to control the behavior of others. Neutral people value freedom, including the freedom to decide for themselves, and are therefore impervious to persuasive appeals founded in fear and guilt.
In its finest expression, the courage to be neutral is the willingness to resist persuasion by any appeal that uses fear, guilt, shame or forceful intimidation as a motivator for behavior. Regardless of the stakes involved, any appeal grounded in these qualities encourages separation, judgment, criticism, divisiveness and sustained conflict.
These expressions are limitations on the full range of true creative power available to us. We can either stay stuck individually and collectively in energies of pride, insisting on our right to be right, rather than happy. Or, we can become willing to be neutral in our expressions, withdrawing our rigid attachments to positions we have to ceaselessly defend. Being defensive is reactionary and never leads to peace.
We can’t fight for peace.
If we are to evolve, we must move beyond the energy of pride and the need to be right. We must actively resist choosing sides and, most assuredly, we must resist vilifying the opposition. If the idea of neutrality presents a challenge to your consciousness, consider that, in oneness, there are no sides. In unity, there are no lines. Knowing this, it is incumbent upon each of us to choose the path most likely to lead to peace.
Having the courage and, more importantly, the willingness to express neutrality will set you on a course to accessing more of your true creative power, demonstrating more of your capacity for unconditional love and ultimately towards experiencing peace in your consciousness more of the time, until you experience peace all of the time.