A few years ago I was in a women studies class at Naropa University and felt oddly numb as we talked about race, gender, and sexuality. There was nothing I wished for more than to overflow with emotion- but there was nothing. I knew the numbness was intelligent and it was a signal I had some inner digging to do. I realized how apathetic I was because I never explored my social location and was not educated on privilege or oppression. I was unaware of how I was oppressed as a women and still was in the phase of ‘I don’t see color’. I didn’t see the depth of injustice within the intersections of marginalized folks lived experience.
Apathy is an emotion-less emotion a lot of people don’t want to admit feeling. Apathy is a lack of care or concern. Apathy might feel embarrassing because no one wants to be judged as someone who ‘doesn’t care’ or ‘isn’t a good human’. But let’s get real-many people are apathetic. The initial somatic experience of apathy is okay, it is information. Humans unconsciously protect their hearts so they don’t have to feel discomfort. It makes sense why people don’t organically explore heavy charged topics- but that shit has got to go. Humans have to be willing to change the course and be okay with getting uncomfortable. Apathy is not a place to land. It is not a space to take refugee. Instead of resisting apathy or claiming it as who you are, the invitation is to befriend it and offer it for spiritual transmutation- alchemy.
Some of the greatest breakthroughs in my life have happened in moments where I feel as if I were on anesthesia about to get my wisdom teeth taken out-numb and sedated. These moments are a flashing signal when I am disconnected from my heart space. Becoming aware of apathy creates movement in the psyche. Apathy has aliveness within it if we choose to befriend it and take counter-intuitive action.
When it comes to social injustice, I want to feel sacred rage. I want to feel other’s pain. I want my heart to feel ripped open so I can lead from a genuine heart space. Apathy is a friend telling me I must invite in a spiritual force greater than my human self to show me how to love and show up as it would. Throughout my journey I have realized it is not this human character who knows how to love unconditionally, it is the higher Self. The higher Self is illuminated through spiritual practice. I discover this Self by connecting to my spirit guides, angels, and archetypal deities.
A deity I work with for overcoming apathy is green tara. Buddhist teacher, Lama Palden Drolma states,“Tara is the Mother of all the Buddhas, the essence of compassion in action.”(Lionsroar) When I experience apathy what I really want to feel is empathy. Through empathy emotions such as sacred rage and compassion begin to flood through my nervous system. Invoking green tara helps me nurture the seed of empathy which lies deeply within my subconscious mind. This seed is always available but it needs tender love and care to germinate into conscious embodiment. Invoking green tara is what begins to wake up empathy from the rich dark soil and bring it into existence above the earth, like a lotus flower emerging from the mud.
Three ways to work with green tara:
Intention through Invocation:
Intention is potent medicine because it is a declaration to the Universe you are ready to awaken Divine energetic frequencies within Self. Intention is an invitation for forces greater than the human will to intervene and guide your path. Saying a morning and evening prayer/invocation opens up a compassionate surge of energy and portals of inspiration. I encourage you to keep a picture of green tara on your alter and as your screen saver so you can be reminded of her throughout the day.
Dear Green Tara, please enlighten me with your heart qualities. Please drain any poison of apathy within me and replace it with empathy and compassion. Please help me put myself in other’s shoes- especially the black community. Guide me to the recourses I need in order to open up my heart space. Please download your strength and courage so I can lean into my heart when I want to run out of discomfort. Thank you for your support. And so it is! (say this every morning and evening at your alter)
Green Tara will most likely encourage you to practice compassion meditations everyday as you work with her energy. Meditation is the energetic work where perceptions shifts. Meditation trains you see yourself differently and show up more consciously in the physical realm. One of the most popular and effective meditations to invoke green tara’s heart energy is called metta– or loving kindness. I suggest working with this meditation and green tara for 21 days and journaling about your experience.
Scholar and psychologist, Barbara Fredrickson, conducted a study on loving-kindness meditations. Fredrickson, “Tested the effects of learning on self-generated positive emotions through loving kindness meditation. She tested 140 volunteers with no previous experience in meditation and randomly assigned 70 of them to practice loving-kindness meditation 30 minutes a day for seven weeks. She compared the results with the 70 others subjects who did not follow the training. The results were abundantly clear. In her words, ―When people, completely new to meditation, learned to quiet their minds and expand their capacity for love and kindness, they transformed themselves from the inside out. They experienced more love, more engagement, more serenity, more joy, more amusement – more of every positive emotion we measured. And though they typically meditated alone, their biggest boosts in positive emotions came when interacting with others. Their lives spiraled upwards. The kindheartedness they learned to stoke during their meditation practice warmed their connections with others. Later experiments confirmed that it was these connections that most affected their bodies, making them healthier.Interestingly, an individual’s personality didn’t have an effect on how they responded to lovingkindness—that is, lovingkindness worked regardless of how mindful or narcissistic a person was to begin with.”(Fredrickson 2010) The results are nothing short but miraculous from this practice.
Teachings around compassion :
Green tara might also guide you to listen to different podcasts, read spiritual teachings, or consume heart breaking news articles (yes it is ‘spiritual’ to read the news). She will feed your consciousness with material which breaks you open so you can discover the raw sincerity of the heart. Some outstanding teachers who speak about the topic of compassion to begin with are: Pema Chodren, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Thich Nhat Hanh and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The magic of working with green tara is her ability to help you unlock sacred heart codes. Remember her energy is really just a personified image of the enlightened consciousness which already exist within you, she just helps you access it. Speaking from my personal experience, I don’t naturally access it unless I put in the spiritual footwork. My human self doesn’t know how to love unconditionally. My human self isn’t the most compassionate being on the block. But- my human self is radically devoted to awakening my Divine Self. My human self is on a mission to live from my heart space. My human self will go to any lengths to make this an embodied reality. This is where human will comes in. How bad do you want to feel compassion? How bad do you want to create a world where humans care about their human family? When the will is there anything is possible. Healing this planet will not happen from the human will alone. It will happen from the determination of the human will yearning to live in their highest potential and asking for spiritual help to do so. The more footwork you put in the more it becomes organic. This requires the awareness and humility to admit to yourself when you are in apathy so that you can awaken the sweet nectar and qualities of goddesses such as green tara, so she can teach you who you really are.
If you need further guidance on how to work with spiritual practices and create sacred rituals for yourself I would be honored to be your 1:1 guide. Please reach out to me about my coaching packages love.
Dolma, Lama Palden, and Lion’s Roar Staff. How to Do Green Tara Practice. Lion’s Roar, 6 Dec. 2019, www.lionsroar.com/how-to-do-green-tara-practice.
Post, Steven. “Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to Be Good.” https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/Post-AltruismHappinessHealth.pdf. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine Copyright 2005 by 2005, Vol. 12, No. 2, 66–77 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.https:// greatergood.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/Post-AltruismHappinessHealth.pdf