Saturday, 29 July 2006

Consciousness Raising

In one form or another I have always been interested in consciousness raising, which is focusing one's attention on a particular belief or cause. This motivates you to join groups or organisations focused on the same belief or cause. What you focus on gets magnified and that's all you end up experiencing for as long as you are interested.

Years ago when I reached a crossroads in life and I didn't know what to do next, I did voluntary work for our local Women's Group. I met lots of women, some feminists others not, and was encouraged to join consciousness raising groups that would help me become aware of the role of women in society. I joined a Black Women's Group where we discussed what it meant to be a black woman in Britain. I even got involved in a project interviewing black women who had made a huge impact in the borough I was living in, which eventually led to a photographic exhibition. It was a fun experience.

Then I decided it was time to go back to college. Ostensibly, I was going to do a degree in creative writing but as I was still exploring my identity, I got side-tracked into studying theories of race, identity, gender and such. While at college a friend and I decided we needed a consciousness raising group for women so we set up a Women's Group. Out of that group emerged other sub-groups for women. (I was also a committee member of the society for black students). Then we decided the college needed more consciousness raising so we organised a women only disco. The guys wanted to join the party and couldn't understand why women should be allowed to have fun without them. We told them we felt the need to enjoy ourselves without men. It didn't stop them gawping at us though. Hehe. Blokes, don't you just love them?

You could say I spent most of my time in college in one form of consciousness raising group or another. What else was I going to do for three years, study? God forbid!

When I left college I lost interest in consciousness raising groups that focused only on identity because I knew I was more than a race, gender, or my past experiences. I explored religions and many spiritual groups. Invariably, I joined consciousness raising groups that matched my belief at the time until they were no longer appropriate and I left. I later realised that what I'd been searching for was a consciousness raising group that focused on love.

Life is love consciousness raising. In other words, becoming aware that every moment is love; and that we are love. And the more you are aware of Love the more of it you experience.

So I'm sitting at a bus stop waiting for a bus, naturally. I am chewing on some tissue paper. Don't ask me why I love eating tissue paper, I just do. Across the road is a traffic jam. The car in front of me has it's stereo blaring and the driver seems to be enjoying the music. A man rides by on his bicycle with a lollipop in his mouth. This is consciousness raising - being aware of love in every moment.

Note that being aware of the moment of love is not the same as judging the moment. If I was judging then I would be thinking the guy's music was crap. It doesn't matter that his music isn't my cup of tea; as long as he's enjoying it.

I could have judged the young man for sucking a lollipop while cycling. It doesn't matter if I like lollipops/bicycles or not; as long as he's loving it.

Someone observing me eating tissue paper could think I'm nuts. It doesn't matter if you don't like eating tissue paper; I do and I love it.

When you judge the moment you miss out on experiencing the love that is always present. Love is accepting what is. Love consciousness raising is about loving every moment as it is.

From time to time, I record moments such as the ones I've just described in my blog. My blog is an ongoing project of love consciousness raising.

I'm going to end with part of the lyrics from one of my favourite rap songs, Summertime, which describes the one moment of love.

Verse Two: Fresh Prince

school is out and it's a sort of a buzz
a back then I didn't really know what it was
but now I see what have of this
the way that people respond to summer madness
the weather is hot and girls are dressing less
and checking out the fellas to tell 'em who's best
riding around in your jeep or your benzos
or in your Nissan stting on lorenzos
back in Philly we be ou in the park
a place called the plateau is where everybody goes
guys out hunting and girls doing likewise
honking at the honey in front of you with the light eyes
she turn around to see what you beeping at
it's like the summers a natural afradesiac
and with a pen and pad I compose this rhyme
to hit you and get you equipped for the summer time
Summertime, D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince

All is Love.


Related article: Awareness