I am about 1/3 through Joan Tollifson’s Bare Bones Meditation, and am reading about her concerns with Toni Packer’s relationship with power and hierarchy. Apparently, Toni P. is ignoring it at that level and just asking people to look behind the stories they have about it.
This is of course sound advice, because there is a clarity and wisdom behind all the stories we get caught up in. When beliefs in abstractions vaporizes, what is revealed is the natural mirror-like wisdom and compassion of mind. But it also ignores the other side of it.
One is that we all have power, and the question is not if but how we abuse it.
The other is that even if something is created from the stories people believe in, it is 100% real. It becomes real through the beliefs. People act as if it is real, and it has very real consequences. And that must be acknowledged.
This is of course the relative aspect of it all, the messiness of everyday life and the lack of clarity most of us operate from. And it is as real as anything else.
Whenever there is one-sidedness, such as Toni P. brushing these concerns aside and telling people to look behind it, then there is a natural – and healthy – reaction against it. People intuitively react against one-sidedness, exactly because they know it leaves something out (even if we can’t always articulate it).
At a deep level, we want inclusiveness and views beyond and including polarities, because that is what we are. That is the way existence is – beyond and including any and all polarities.
So a more inclusive way to address these concerns is to include both, which is what she is doing for all I know. It is to seriously address the issues, at a conventional level, and admit that yes – there is bound to be abuse of power in any situation. And it is to look beyond these stories, and find the brilliant clarity of mind when it is not clouded over by beliefs.