Decolonizing the Mind

Continuing and finalizing the topic of cultural appropriation and how to transition to cultural appreciation. People of all ethnicities, races, creeds and cultures have been in one way or another, products of yesterday’s colonialism.

In the western parts of the world, we are. as a collective, traumatized by our ancestral need to usurp power, and we continuously traumatize other cultures, diminish other cultures as “primitive”, “savage”, and make a cultural appropriation of customs, traditional garmets or even traditions and rituals, in order to incorporate some sort of fashion into our every day living. We don’t do this with the heart out of place, most of the time is a simple way of finding what we enjoy doing and labeling ourselves with, in order to cope with the hardships of life.

One guide that was given to me in order to appreciate the studying of something:

  • Be the student rather than the teacher

  • Buy artifacts, statues, or other related objects from original sources

  • Recognize the damage done to said culture by colonialism and appreciate the originality it still contains.

  • Broaden the mind to a different yet inclusive way of thinking, instead of victimizing or glorifying cultures into being “better”, “worse”, “savage” or “civilized”

  • Be willing to follow the spiritual development to it’s conclusion, being prepared for the experience to be lifechanging.

  • We should not seek to incorporate deities as an identity, items or traditions as simple “acessories” for our daily life or spiritual practice

It’s inherent in us to want to discover the new, and want to be a part of the different. It’s a natural human trait of inclusion and recognition. But we must also be aware of how we are doing it and how it influences our way of life, our choices and the consequences it brings to the psyche.

Every culture is rich in itself and by studying them, we learn deeply about ourselves, and how we inherited our own culture. Being happy one is alive and born in a certain place, and learning how to appreciate the culture of it, from the back of it’s origin to today’s reality — without denying or accepting anything besides what resonates with our moral compass — is a life enriching experience of understanding and appreciating our place in the world. We can adore deities from all over the world, and learn about them as we go along, but we don’t need to incorporate and deturp their vision and cultural aspects in order to do so.

We can learn sanskrit and understand Buddhism, and call ourselves a Buddhist, but there will be a gap in understanding the core elements of the esoteric and mystical belief system because it is not our own. We can understand and study Egyptology and believe in the deities and structural belief system and not usurp or distort the message it means out of clear misunderstanding.

It’s of the utmost importance we understand this in order to be a part of a transition to a regenerative culture in which we value and respect all the differences in cultures, countries and ways of life. It’s from this respect that appreciation and reverence is born, and we find our own authenticity.

The globalized aspect of culture only benefits those who make money from said appropriations, the reciepients of the knowledge are often left confused and not feeling entitled to a healthy approach to spirituality, which is definitely not the case. It also comes with the aspect of being able to learn the genuinity of things without the need to make it our own, or colonialize it. Shedding this colonialist idea that we can be proprietors of all cultures is one of the most fantastic things we can do for an ecological spirituality.