For this issue we asked Lexington’s Leadership to question Samuel.
Recently Lexington had a Sunday-night meeting at which some people were triggered about sexual abuse so strongly it necessitated a public apology. Sadly, then the apology triggered other people in the larger group who don’t like public apologies.
Please give us your perspective on these particular triggering processes and how they can be avoided in the future.
Everybody is triggered by something, period. And if you have lived long enough you have a lot of “triggers.” Triggers as I see it are only a portal into a memory that might not be very good for you—or it might. Nobody mentions the love-filled and joyous triggers. Every day at the Daily Focus you are asked to trigger your most loving experience.
Triggers are as varied as one’s memory is, so the first thing that you need to think about is where your memories are focused, because you’re going to be sensitive according to that focus. Suppose, for instance, you were in a car wreck a couple of months ago in which you were hit by a drunk driver and somebody you really loved was greatly injured or killed. Probably any time you read about a drunk driver hitting somebody, you’re going to remember that experience, and it’s going to bring up the feelings you had at that time. As you adapt to that first layer of memories, you’re going to remember more about that experience, and it’s going to give you more triggers. So, besides just drunk driving, you might add to it car accidents, teenage drivers, or even any drinking at all, or anything that you associate with this person you love. The more you have worked through that initial experience—however it is you worked through it, be it with a therapist or just sweeping it under the rug—however you have dealt with it, it’s going to open your memory to more of it. Your reaction to the more subtle triggers that come up depends upon how you have resolved the initial memory.
So it’s not really possible to guarantee a triggerless group meeting. Even if you’re really being careful because you know that this person was just in a terrible car accident with a drunk driver, and you’re really making a point not to talk about car accidents or drunk driving, you don’t have any way of knowing where they might be with regard to them. It might be that they are triggered instead because you mentioned the make of the car they were driving at that time. I mean, it could be anything, big or small, that does it.
So the first thing is you just cannot really cater to your audience’s triggers except for the most common ones. When you know that Cindy and Susan and the Form are in the audience, you wouldn’t crack jokes about a blind person walking into a bar, would you? And why is that? Well, first, you don’t because you don’t make jokes like that—and I’m very glad of that—but it’s also because you know they’re in the audience and you don’t want to say something that could possibly affect somebody you love in a negative way.
And that’s where Phoenix comes into this. You don’t want to say things that are going to trigger people in your audience with things that you know better about. So stop for a moment: disability aside, what are some things that you can kind of assume may be triggering for a typical Phoenix audience? And let me just say that you cannot possibly know them all and that this is a gross generalization.
There’s a high percentage of women in the Phoenix group, so sexual abuse will be a trigger.
And I think that we as an organization are trying to be more aware of racial issues so there’s probably shame, racial injustice, and things like that. And even though we don’t have many people of color in our group right now, I think white people are becoming much more educated on some of the implications of racially-charged language.
And that’s why you’re the Director. Two great big ones right there.
We have some gay people, so probably that would be a topic to stay away from.
And remember that you’re dealing with Guardians, and Guardians rarely had good childhoods. That’s not saying that their parents were bad, although they may have been, but Guardians have a natural tendency to feel different because they are different, and that is going to create a certain amount of separation from society’s expectations. So even as a child you know you’re different, and you’re not really sure where you’re going to fit in.
So you want to remember who is in your audience, and things that you know are going on with some of them, and things that, because you’re human and you know the statistics, probably have happened with people in your audience.
I consider that to be just living love. You do those things because you’re living love, not because you’re trying to check off all of the “woke” boxes. You are doing it because you are compassionate and loving, and you don’t want to throw a bucket of ice water on your audience and shock them and create a negative feeling about what’s going on. That’s just smart, and that’s smart in any situation or group, be it family, a large group of coworkers, or part of this tribe.
Having said all of that, it’s also very important to remember that you’re not going to catch it all. And if what you are talking about is going to be a subject that could trigger and there’s no way you can get around it, all you need to do is to put out the warning: “Part of this teaching may be triggering to some.” What I say is, “Do what you need to do to be able to hear this, to function as the observer. Do not put yourself in that timeline, in that time and space. Otherwise you won’t get the teachings that come with it.”
Now, I can work with the energy within the group, and while I’m provoking eighty triggers in a thirty-minute conversation, I am also stimulating different levels of the individual and putting out a very healing energy. So what I can get away with is not what you can get away with, and that’s important to remember.
Do your best to be sensitive, to be compassionate, to be love-filled. And let it be known, if you think you might be approaching triggering territory, because those three triggers—abuse, sexual issues, and racial issues—are going to be present in any large audience. So you say, “You might not want to read this part; you might not want to listen to this part.” Or, if you think you can manage the energy well enough, then say “Try to step back from it, but I’m here for you afterwards if something I have said has created a triggering situation.” Make sure there is a helpful presence just in case.
Do you think you need to have somebody there who can deal with it? Someone who is doing a facilitation might not be the person who will be able to help someone who has been triggered.
It depends on who the facilitator is, but certainly in the situation in which this came up that could have been possible.
What is the responsibility of the one who is triggered? The first thing I want to say is I think an apology is one of the most wonderful communication bridges that there is. Apologies are very uncomfortable. I have talked a little about this in past interviews so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it here. Just let me say that if you hear somebody practicing apologies—because it is as much a spiritual work as practicing meditation—recognize that they are working to release their own ego. They are working to be of service to others. They are working to be more vulnerable.
Your being reactive to the apology makes you part of a whole different problem, because an apology is a gift of loving service, and your resistance to it is saying “I cannot be vulnerable as well.” I see this as a power issue rather than a personal issue. It says your ego is doing a right-wrong polar-truth thing, and you cannot be doing that.
There are different kinds of apologies, for sure. There are apologies that are pretty insincere and performative, but a case can be made that even they can be helpful. But generally speaking, if you are hearing an apology from someone in this work, it is a spiritual practice they are using to help slay the ego. And the appropriate response to it is “Thank you.”
When a Guardian is called in or out regarding either race- or gender-related comments or actions but denies it, how much responsibility does another Guardian have to keep trying to help them see the harm that is done, for example by continuing to call them in or out for their behavior?
[Laughing] That’s pretty funny.
[Plucking at Lea’s yellow shirt] This shirt is blue. It is such a beautiful color of blue. I really like it. I think that it’s a color that looks great on the Form. This kind of blue is so good on her. That’s my truth. You’re not going to change my mind. Everything that I see will be seen in the light of this blue shirt.
So you say to me, “But Samuel, I see it differently. It doesn’t look blue to me at all. It actually looks kind of golden yellow.” Or you can say, “You’re wrong! That’s not blue. That’s yellow, and you’re just wrong!” and I will have to defend my position that it is a lovely blue.
Becoming defensive at some point doesn’t even mean that I still believe it’s blue; it just means that you spoke so offensively to me that I just had to defend myself to the death. Whereas if you say, “It doesn’t look that way to me. What I see is …,” it gives me the opportunity to say, “Well maybe there is a kind of blue cast to it,” or even, “Oh, did I say blue? I did not mean to say blue. My brain and my mouth are not coming together well these days. It just popped out. I meant to say yellow.” It’s all about the way you communicate.
Once you have made your statement, stop! It’s not going to be very effective to keep making your point. At that point, you are arguing just so that they will understand your point, and your point is that they are wrong, and you keep going because you’re hoping that they’re going to see it your way. You are wanting to be understood more than you’re wanting to create a healing in the communication or the understanding of a situation. And that’s not good.
If I continue going around insisting that I am wearing a bright blue shirt, and someone has very kindly pointed out to me that they don’t see it that way, as a Guardian they’ve done their bit insofar as messing with somebody else’s life.
Now, it needs to be clear—not just some sideways kind of “Oh well, not everyone will see it that way. By the way, did you see the new film?” That’s not a communication. But if you’re honest—“I didn’t see it that way; for me, it’s like this,”—then they’ll hear it, and maybe next time they put that shirt on they’ll think twice about it. But from there, it’s not up to you. It’s up to everyone else in that person’s life, or nobody else. You did what you needed to do. If you keep at it, it’s not to mend. If you keep at it it’s for you, and that’s important to realize.
Is it the same thing if you’re a Guardian approaching a non-Guardian?
Being a Guardian does not make any difference. Karma is going to have an effect either way. Perhaps I could go so far as to say if you have an expectation that a Guardian should be handling something differently, remember that is a mirror of something you’re not handling efficiently, because who but you cares that I think this is blue? And why do you care so much? And eliminate the first three reasons that come to mind, because that surface stuff is all going to be about defending your position and it won’t be about why you care.
I went to a restaurant with my family for a meal, but we were left unattended by the servers for half an hour even though others were given attention. At that point, we decided to leave, feeling that it was a racially-charged experience. As a person of color, I felt ashamed that my family was treated this way.
There are so many different reasons for shame—shame that we feel when we have not acted at our highest and best; shame that a person of color feels after a racially charged incident; and even shame some white people feel about the way people of color have been mistreated. Please discuss these different kinds of shame and how best to overcome them.
I think shame is given way too much credit. It is an indulgent emotional expression. Shame is something that will carve up your life, but it is just a societal construct.
What are you ashamed of? A child is not ashamed naturally; it must be taught to be ashamed. And there are much better ways to teach “this is the right thing to do in this situation, and this is not going to serve you in this situation,” rather than shaming. There are people within this group whose whole business is built on shame. So sort of like—what is the expression, to a hammer everything is a nail, or something like that? You can “market” shame so that everything is going to be about shame, and you’re told that there are all kinds of different levels and different types, just as an indigenous American living in Alaska has twenty-three kinds of snow. I’m just not going there.
You may feel guilt, and you may use shame as a motivating factor, but that is not healthy. Shame is not the vehicle to ride through your journey.
Can you explain a little bit further about shame being used as a motivator?
If I say, “Shame on you for doing this! You did this, shame on you!” I am hoping this will motivate you not to do this. It’s motivation not to act. On the other hand, if you do not behave a certain way, if you do not do certain things, you might be shamed by society as a motivation to do them.
Shame is really fear, so call it fear. Shame is society’s manipulation. The more experience you have in the world, the less shame you’re likely to carry with you because you’re higher on the mountain, you have a wider view, and you realize that “That was just my parent’s belief system,” or “That was just the church I grew up with,” or “That was just that person’s way of thinking, not mine.” There is nothing that has happened to you in your life that should bring you shame. It might bring you guilt for doing it, but if you let it bring you shame, then you have bought into the system that’s going to eat you up and spit you out for the rest of your life. Don’t go there.
I may have thoughts or activities that are frowned upon by my church. I am not ashamed of them, but I won’t make them public knowledge at my church because of the reactions I might get.
That sounds smart. It doesn’t have anything to do with shame. You’re just saying that you’re not ashamed of it.
But some people say that if you’re not ashamed of something you should let it be known.
Some of that goes back to paying attention to your audience. Pay attention to where you are as well. You know, I could get on a real soapbox about religious PTSD. I think a lot of people have religious PTSD because of the whole shame thing, their whole community shaming them for not having conformed. Some religions shun you so you’re kicked out of the family. It’s very unhealthy. But that’s a soapbox for a different time.
At a meeting recently, you mentioned that not only were changes going on with our planet and the life force on it, but also throughout the galaxy. Please explain further what those changes are and why they are affecting more than just the earth.
There is a lot of nuance in that question. It could be the foundation of a retreat. But this is going to be really basic, all right? What I’m going to say covers none of that nuance.
Essentially, there has been a shift in the Source Field. This occasionally happens as a natural process because everything evolves, even the Source Field, but like when a pebble is thrown into a pool, it makes ripples across the water. The frequency has shifted, and that has created a wave affecting all hierarchies, all councils, all evolutionary processes, of form. This universe is the experiment of form, more or less, so everything is affected.
Now, the way everything is affected is unique, and has a lot to do with the filter that’s being used for that energy within each functional body of life force. So how earth is experiencing it is different from how multiple galaxies over space might, because perhaps they’re not love-based experiments of form. You see?
In terms of the antiracism work we Guardians are doing, individually and as a group, what does the paradigm of racism look like at this time, and what more can Guardians do to make this effort effective?
Would it make sense if I said that you “yellow-Volkswagened” it? That’s the illustration that I often use in which, once you are familiar with something you begin to see it everywhere. You buy a yellow VW because nobody else has one, and then suddenly you realize that actually a whole lot of people have them.
If I tell you not to think about a pink elephant—No, stop it! No thinking about a pink elephant!— all you can do is try to shove that image out of your mind, because there’s a pink elephant and it’s right there. I’m sure that your science has a word for that. It’s the way your brain works, but it works that way because you are tuned to recognize patterns. So if you look around yourself you will realize you are hearing more about racial equity, seeing more racial awareness in the news, because the paradigm is now like a yellow VW within society’s consciousness. If you look around, you will realize that you are seeing more racial awareness in the news and in other people. You are hearing more about racial equity being planned into a system, or the lack of it being recognized and changes brought about. Everywhere that you have been sending energy with regard to the racism paradigm has developed cracks in the stone, massive fault lines.
Remember that what you as a high-frequency Guardian are thinking about and acting on is opening the doors. Ultimately Guardians are the filter from Vesta-Helios to mass consciousness in the same way that Vesta-Helios is the filter within this galaxy for high-frequency energies from the Source Field.
Guardians open the doors; they make it possible. So what you are doing to break the paradigm, first within your own self and then within the circle of your world, is going to open up more and more and more. Should racism be the only thing you’re working on? No. But should it be one of the things? I hope so. It plays a very big part in the lack of unity that shows up in multiple other areas of your world.
Several years ago, you asked the Lexington Leadership not to discuss Phoenix business outside of its meetings unless it’s a project or event that has been approved and finalized. This seeming secrecy has led some in the larger group to feel that those in leadership positions are some kind of “elite” with special access to you. Please give your perspective.
[Laughing] I’m sure it has. I’m absolutely positive that it has. People who want to complain are always going to find a reason to do so, so no matter what Phoenix does there will always be squeaky wheels who say it’s not enough or it’s too much, or it should have been done this way and not that way. That is particularly true if they were formerly a part of the Leadership, because they know that while it is a tremendous amount of work—and it is—and they’re no longer part of it because they did not want to do that tremendous amount of work, they still want the rewards of steering the organization without having to be a part of steering the organization. That has been the case for thirty years and it will continue to be the case.
People want to say to me “Everybody is saying…,” or “There is a good-sized group of us…,” and who they really mean are those people they are personally recruiting with their negative spiel about things that nobody else would have thought to talk about ninety-nine percent of the time. That’s why I do not listen to squeaky wheels. In fact what I ask every time is, “Who is saying this, and exactly what is that about?”
So I think it’s a pretty hilarious question, but there is a really good reply to it: get involved. Take part in the committees and task forces and work up to a leadership position. If you are the head of a committee or a task force, you are a part of Leadership.
Now, there is a lot of work involved, but you may consider this a bonus: once a quarter there is a Leadership Meeting in Lexington where I yell at the group for about two hours. [Everyone laughing]. And if that’s your thing, maybe you want to work up to leading a committee or task force, and then you too can be a part of the overworked, yelled-at group.