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Baba Nam Kevalam is the Ultimate Expression of a Passion that has the Potential to Be Apocalyptic.
The beauty and simplicity of Baba Nam Kevalam is that “Baba” isn’t the name of an entity — it’s the name of a relationship. This is where the true power of the “ideative” meaning lies. Baba is a Sanskrit word whose etymological origins points to an entity that is “nearest” and “dearest” to us. It is a term of endearment ... Baba always changes and yet never does; Baba, ultimately, is us.
This is the relationship that trauma disrupts.
It makes it impossible to see the face of the Divine in ourselves; to identify with the Beloved, and to identify ourselves as the Beloved. In trauma, so long as its disintegrative norms have infiltrated our psyches, we cannot love ourselves, one another, or the Divine.
Trauma obscures. It keeps us trapped in a world of illusion whereby the only thing that passes for reality is exploitation and the despair, loneliness, and terminal, isolated, self-reliance that goes with it.
We have built an entire global system on this fragmented sense of ourselves and on the persistent illusion of exploitation’s totality. Exploitation now occupies more seats of power worldwide than not.
In fact, I can’t personally point to but about two possible exceptions to exploitation’s omnipresence worldwide (by possible exceptions, I mean “governments” whose philosophies (at least) represent a true challenge to the usurious system in which we now live): the Zapatistas in southern Mexico and the Kurds in Syria, and we see what 45 just did to them.
The illusion (and those who benefit from it) will do anything to sustain its universality.
Apocalyptic Passion is a doorway between this persistent illusion of exploitation’s totality and an entirely new experience.
Apocalyptic Passion consists of three key things:
- A passionate desire so strong that it sustains us through change;
- A means of challenging who we are and what we experience; and
- A hunger to touch and identify with the Beloved in ourselves and others.
Before I tell you why Apocalyptic Passion is a doorway, let me share my morning thoughts today.
As those close to me already know, I left a 7-year relationship with a Muslim (Moroccan) man in 2018. As I have admitted many times, that relationship was plagued with patriarchal power dynamics that were exhausting, but I chose to stay because I needed to work with those dynamics, and I hoped that one day, we would truly find, with each other, the intimacy that can only exist outside that space. We never did.
Every single time I tried to get away from those issues, they manifested again. So, I stayed until I had learned all I could; until I felt released by my work, personally, and professionally, to move on.
This morning, I found myself oddly nostalgic for that relationship. I dug into this and realized that I was nostalgic for what seemed like a simpler problem: the personal manifestations of these, often traumatic, power dynamics.
What do I mean by this?
There is truly nowhere left to go.
When I was in that relationship, working on those dynamics, I always knew I had the choice to leave. Even though, in 2013, I published a book, called Coming Alive!, about global domination and how to live passionately within a world riddled with its effects, I was still able to maintain the illusion of a refuge in the broader world; of a place outside my personal struggles where I could find true freedom. I was able to deny the rise of the very thing I was writing about, namely, the near universal presence of exploitation in the seats of power. I was able to do that because this rise of exploitative power was something I foresaw, not something that had come to its full expression (or full enough to be identified as more than an existential threat).
That illusion of refuge is gone.
Ironically, my relationship with my current partner is gloriously loving and deeply satisfying. But it is plagued by the external realities of exploitation as he struggles to make ends meet (for his children) in a vicious labor market where there is an infinite supply of bodies willing to take survival wages.
Our relationship is also situated in the traumatic times in which we live, times in which no abuse of power seems sufficient to call forth justice upon the White House, and in which right wing nationalism and fascist regimes are becoming the norm, not the exception. Open societies (e.g., the Kurds) are under attack.
So, my life is, for the first time in a very long-time, free of these power dynamics within my intimate spaces — work and romantic partnership. There is no threat, no hostile, patriarchal power, in either space, for the first time since I was just 16.
But the seeming totality of the external, hostile, exponential expansion of ruthless, patriarchal, authoritarianism is overwhelming in its implications for me, my daughter, my partner, and for the world writ large.
Apocalyptic Passion is a doorway through to something outside this systematized trauma because it is the ultimate challenge to its universality and its seemingly unlimited power.
I say this because this world is made up of habit as much as it is of structural challenges.
Those habits exist in the traumatic emotions, thoughts, biological states to which we have all become so habituated and which have manifested as seemingly intractable external realities.
Does this ignore the challenges we face on a practical level? Hardly!
Apocalyptic Passion seeks to stand in the middle of those difficulties and to challenge us to become the change, first within us, and then in the world we can only begin to construct as an alternative once we have internalized the mores of this new world.
Those mores are based on coherence.
At its core, trauma creates incoherence.
The new mores will be born from the evisceration (the depletion of vital force) of trauma’s norms, its perspectives, its thoughts, and its emotional renderings.
We deprive these things of vital force by imbuing something else with that force. Our methodology is two fold:
- Choosing not to know what we have always known (i.e. to stop believing, seeing, feeling, and doing as we have always done); and
- Choosing to know something entirely new, namely to believe, see, feel, and do according to heart coherence (which is the practice of creating coherence through breath and focus on consciously generated positive emotion such as gratitude, appreciation, and love).
At the end of the day, if we meet this challenge, we will create the relationship anticipated by Baba Nam Kevalam. We will identify so strongly with love and its ways that we will release entirely the illusory world of exploitation and its universality, and enter into a new world in which only the name of the Beloved stands as reality.
We will hunger for something new so powerfully that we are willing to give up who we have been (along with our familiar experiences) in the name of real change. This will drive us to implement the means of change as laid out here: a shift from incoherence to coherence.
In those spiritual traditions that focus on enlightenment, apocalypse is simply the illumination of the Beloved within is and our total identification with the essence of the Beloved. This is the essence of coherence.
The Beloved cannot be incoherent (expressing through the norms of trauma). The Beloved is coherence personified in a relationship with ourselves and the Divine.
This enlightenment, this illumination of the Beloved, is the “true meaning of life” in these extraordinary times.
It is all we have left.
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While you are at it, give yourself the gift of a powerful WHY burning in your heart, active in your soul.
- Discover what passion is calling you to contribute at this moment in history;
- Figure out what you must confront and overcome along the way;
- Get a clear understanding of where you are now;
- Activate your vision as purpose;
- Fashion a strategy for bringing your vision to life; &
- Find out whether or not we make a good team.
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