The thing about our relationships is that they’re omnipresent. We are relating constantly – so really our relationship to the Dalits, is part and parcel of our relationship to ourselves and to our partners, friends, family, work colleagues as well as the wider world.
You might find that by learning, reading and knowing about the Dalits, a certain feeling is invoked. You could find yourself full of emotion, or you might have a physical reaction to what you’ve learned. Taking that feeling and using it effectively on yourself will then allow you to help the Dalits, or indeed any other group/ peoples/ situation etc where you’ve felt that feeling before, just by helping yourself.
The feelings or reactions you have manifested can teach you many things. Firstly, they allow you to get in touch with the parts of yourself you are ashamed of. And secondly, they allow you to get in touch with those parts of yourself which you’ve battened down, stuffed away and denied. It is only by embracing the fullness of who you are, the complex, messy, sweet, kind, nasty, benevolent, cruel, loving, shameful, proud whole being that makes up you that you can truly be honest with yourself and those with whom you relate.
What is Dalit?
The term “Dalit” means “those who have been broken and ground down deliberately by those above them in the social hierarchy.” – (source: http://www.dalitnetwork.org)
Having read through much of the Dalit Network site, I have learned how deep, how far reaching and just how ancient the problem is. The solution therefore is unlikely to be a quick fix and will require much loving attention.
Helping yourself to help others.
We are constantly brought messages in our lives which allow us to address what we need to look at next. We know that there are lessons to learn about ourselves when we have a strong negative reaction to something or someone.
By looking at the part in yourself which is reacting, you will be able to release some of the emotion around the feeling. That release allows you to then choose to respond in a more controlled, calmer, loving manner.
I’m sure that you would agree that by loving yourself and others, you are able to make more impact than undertaking a course of action in a state of righteous indignation, anger or pity.
The Dalit situation is a fantastic one for you to learn more about the hidden aspects of yourself. What words might you use to describe what you have learned about the Dalits and their plight? What words do you use to describe the perpetrators of the problem? Make a note of each of these words.
It’s a strange truth that in order for us to be able to identify a quality or a characteristic or have a judgement we must already have that very quality/characteristic in us. By aligning yourself with each of the words, recognising that they are all part of you, to one degree or another, you will be integrating those parts of you which you have denied, hidden or been ashamed of previously.
Eg. My list includes words like:
Helpless, defenceless, oppressed, cruel, bullies, heartless, prostitution, weak, take advantage
Working through my list one word at a time, I look for where in my life I have been each of these words. If it isn’t now, perhaps it was some time in the past. If I can’t see it there, perhaps I can imagine it if I was in the Dalits situation. It’s important to be gentle with yourself and remember that by doing this work, you are allowing more of the ‘real’ you to shine through. This exercise is one which is used by Debbie Ford in her book ‘The Dark Side of the Light Chasers’.
Why Help Yourself First?
My own experience of this work has been transformational. I help my clients work with the parts of themselves they don’t like or don’t want. It is an ongoing process and one which consistently allows us to take stock of what’s going on in our heads, in our judging of others and what drives us to be better people.
The more of us who undertake to sort ourselves out first and foremost, the easier the job will be to make a lasting change to the world.