I have been feeling into this topic for a while. As an immigration lawyer representing illegal immigrants I have daily opportunities to observe first hand the many sides, angles and circles of this complex situation. My mind has some answers but they always fall short of capturing what my heart knows. My writing is an offering: from my heart to your heart and thank you for reading this blog in this spirit.
The mass exodus of Central-American children and women to the US border has inflamed the spirits of many, leading to another political and ideological battle between right and wrong, good and evil and some scant shades in between. It goes from Obama and the blues telling the reds to stop hating and the blues hating the reds for being so hateful. And the rainbows being absorbed and randomly pulled to each side in outrage and disbelief about the human tragedy. Slogans and outcries from immigration advocates and patriotic saviors alike are flying all over, and many involved in the immigration field literally flying across, over and through the country to deal with this humanitarian crisis. Congress and state governments are in the midst of a national hysteria and in the ping-pong game of right and wrong are desperately searching for solutions. Does this all sound familiar? Here we are again, witnessing a well-intended, yet tantrum-like, reaction typical of a society that has not quite reached maturity. If we have the courage to pause for a moment we might feel compassion for everybody involved: the victims, the perpetrators and the rescuers in this collective drama.
In this collective triangle the three roles are continuously shifting: the victims become the ones to blame, the rescuers become both the victims and the perpetrators, and the perpetrators act as if they are the victims or the rescuers. These roles continually shift between the red and the blues, the rainbows, the children and the women, the immigration advocates and those acting in the name of patriotism. The roles are shifting fast and flipping from one corner to the other, creating much confusion. It is no surprise that no sensible solution has emerged. It cannot. As long as we are operating in this Bermuda triangle of consciousness – also called mind-based consciousness- we will continue to point fingers at the other missing that it is our very consciousness that has created the situation in the first place. Here we are again swimming in the same circle spinning in the same vicious cycle wanting to escape the responsibility of how we have co-created the situation, forgetting how to be compassionate while having the courage to have healthy boundaries, forgetting how to empower instead of rescuing. The good news is that this all becomes available when we enter collective heart-consciousness. This is still new territory. When dealing with a crisis our default is still to go into overdrive and overwhelm, blame, guilt, judgment, self-judgment, hopelessness, rage: a mambo jumbo of emotions in the name of reason and with little clue how to disentangle and find wisdom. If we are going into freeze mode, control and numbing in our personal crises it is likely we respond the same way in our collective crises and that is what we are mostly seeing in this new episode.
Illegal immigration around the world is a side-effect of the root cause underlying our mind-based society: the scarcity and fear premise of a mentally ill collective body which heart-logically feeds corruption, poverty and organized crime. This is not only a Central-American and Mexican issue, it is pervasive across the globe and the children at the border are a simple reminder that we are sitting in a bubble of delusion thinking we are living in a disconnected world and then reacting with civic engagement and news-reporting that is simply another form of entertainment. While we are all interconnected, it is also equally true that we are separate and hold separate fields of responsibility. While our organized crime-feeding economy is intimately intertwined with Central America and Mexico, it is equally true that these governments and its citizens hold the very same responsibilities for their situation. The same goes for corruption and poverty. Our collective responsibility is both shared and separate, a paradoxical premise that the mind rebels against and struggles to reconcile. In this black and white collective thinking, the same finger pointing we are witnessing within this country is happening between countries: the Honduran President and First Lady blaming the Americans for the mass exodus of their own children or the Americans and Russians blaming each other for the situation in Ukraine, Hamas blaming Israel and the other way round. The list is infinite. The truth is that both and all, countries, groups and individuals, carry their share of responsibility for co-creating and feeding corruption, poverty and organized crime: when we consume illegal drugs, when we buy weapons, when we eat avocado, when we drink coffee and chocolate, when we buy fruits and countless other examples. From an economic standpoint there is no longer a way to differentiate what stems from corruption and the organized crime and what does not. It is like a collective cancer that has become so big that is now undetectable and treated like the big elephant in the room that few publicly speak about.
Within the framework of the mind it is quite inconceivable that to a degree we all share responsibility. The mind gets outraged at such proposition as it is convinced that it must be the other’s fault or – when blame is internalized – the mind gets so ripped by guilt that it runs out to try to rescue everybody while forgetting to attend to its own well- being. Thus, no sustainable approach or solution can emerge that genuinely serves and attends to the needs of everybody concerned. This is what is happening with the border crisis.
Another way is available at this very moment with no need to wait for the next government rescuing us from the crisis. From within the frame of heart-consciousness there is no conflict between needs; there are no victims, no perpetrators, no rescuers, only responsible co-creators. To determine what responsible co-creators do or not do is not always easy to determine. The heart-based response is anchored in a moment of collective stillness when we embrace our emotions, when we embrace our racing minds, when we compassionately embrace those who are suffering, when we determine what we can say yes to and what we need to say no to, in a healthy balance. This process of entering collective heart-consciousness requires an act of listening: to ourselves, to each other without dismissing, blaming and judging. It requires slowing down to the pace of wisdom which can be attained even in the urgency of a crisis. It requires the courage to question our assumptions. It requires our ability to surrender control and trusting that being in the unknown will birth a sustainable answer.
Both the reds and the blues have valid concerns and ideas about how to approach the mass exodus of children and women. The reds are –even though unskillfully- hinting at the importance of healthy boundaries, at the limits of rescuing and need to have each Central American country take on its separate share of responsibility. The blues- equally unskillfully- are hinting at the importance to embrace our shared global responsibility and act compassionately. Both sides are still only hinting at heart-consciousness because the reds turn healthy boundaries into rigid walls and the blues turn their compassion into blame and judgment for the reds thus further poisoning the borders.
As long as our countries and us operate from within the framework of the Bermuda triangle we will be chasing our own tail and the flow of illegal immigration will steadily continue as it has for the longest time. In our mind-based paradigm we are continually assuming that we are capable to solve the problems created by our very own consciousness even in the blatant evidence of the opposite. And illegal immigration is a perfect example. Regardless of both stringent and liberal immigration laws and enforcement the stream continues and it will until we move out of the Bermuda triangle of victims, perpetrators and rescuers anchored in the premise of scarcity. Yes, we can embrace all of the children at the border and yet that does not mean that we can sustain a continuous mass exodus. Each nation is its own collective body and while we are all interconnected we also have to remain in tune with our healthy boundaries. Both a full yes and a full no to this mass exodus are unsustainable, and this for everybody concerned including the children at the border. While we compassionately approach this crisis and embrace the humanity of those involved, our focus is to support and take responsibility in changing the conditions at the root, in healing the collective cancer of organized crime, in taking our share of responsibility, in creating the conditions for children and women in the future to safely live in their own countries and empower and fund the local communities to co-create healthy living conditions and eradicate corruption and poverty. We also have to take responsibility to raise our own ethical standards: how are we contributing to violence? how are we treating children and women? And how are many illegal immigrants treating their own women and children in this country? As an example, I deal daily with Hispanic women and children abused by their very own compatriots living in this country. Healthy boundaries to stop the immigration of patriarchal abusers are very much needed. Yet, how much abuse is tolerated and perpetrated against women and children by our very own people in this country? We are credible and supported in raising our standards in the name of our collective well-being when we are genuinely committed to walk our talk and contribute to a heart-based collective field in our own country.
There is no magical formula, no quick fix to illegal immigration. Yet, for a very long time we have been applying quick fix remedies while – in our delusion- stubbornly refusing to tackle the root causes. Yes, we can continue to apply the band-aid approach we are currently witnessing. But without healing the wounds the bleeding will continue and everybody soon or later suffers.
The heart-based response is available, moment to moment. We simply have to still the noises of our righteousness, feel out feelings, move into the collective body, listen to the whispers of our collective wisdom, trust that we are guided step by step and held by the sincerity of our intentions even when we cannot assure the “right” outcome, move beyond our surface differences and connect to the fundamental needs of each of us, the children, the women, the reds and the blues and the rainbows, in this country and around the globe. We mostly have to unleash our fierceness to take radical responsibility for our collective co-creations. All we need is to focus on what is in front of us, moment by moment, step by step, and listen to the integrated solution to seemingly complex situations that naturally emerges when we reside in the collective body and listen to the collective heart. Let’s stop engaging within the insane collective mind, stop whining in powerlessness, step in our heart-based leadership and have the fearlessness to hold the tension between the “blue-yes” and the “red-no” at the same time. Let’s have the courage to be in the creative unknown and generate the answers from surrender rather than an obsessive need for control and predictability. As long as we are insisting for control and the “yes or no” and the “either or” answers to the illegal immigration issue, we are dwelling in insanity and the heart-logical result is what we fear the most: unpredictability and conflict. Within a heart-based paradigm the individual and collective, the yes and the no, the good and the evil, the right and the wrong, separation and interconnectedness are integrated into balance and capable of breathing health into our living collective body.