Kansas City Protest Rally Eric Garner

A protester holds up a sign at the Kansas City Protest Rally. Credit: William Douglas, Jr.

When I went to the protest rally in downtown Kansas City after Eric Garner was strangled to death in New York City on camera, the gathered crowd was still and silent, until suddenly the constriction I had felt watching the video of an innocent man being strangled by a system commissioned to protect and serve him roiled through my soul. I began to wail at the walls of the skyscrapers surrounding me, “I CAN’T BREATHE! I CAN’T BREATHE!” The crowd was at first stunned, and then electrified, all beginning to wail from their souls, “I CAN’T BREATHE!”
After returning home, I watched on television as people of all races had gathered in cities all across America, watching them howl, “I CAN’T BREATHE!”
I felt this was larger than that poor man, a father and grandfather, being suffocated by the institutions meant to protect and serve him. I felt this howling wail issuing across the country was an expression of something deeper we have felt, but remained unconscious of. We had felt the tight constraints of a mental and spiritual straight jacket we had all been wearing for a long time.
The tight straps of a confined consciousness that tells us we have to destroy our children’s planet in order to have energy to power or society, the idea that shocking and awing a civilization by reigning the hell of war upon their land was the solution to anything, the idea that children must endure a lifetime of soul crushing debt in order to get a university education, the idea that workers must live on poverty wages in a land where corporate profits are higher than at any time in human history … we cannot breathe … the straps of lies and distortions fed to us by a corporate media that is employed by the massive profits of the same corporations that feed us the aforementioned lies are so tight … we cannot breathe!
The root of the word spirit in Latin is “spiritus,” which means “the breath.” In Chinese, the word “Qigong” (chee gong) means both “spirit or energetic nature exercises” and also “breath exercises.” Ancient cultures all around the world understood that breathing is our connection to our spiritual nature, the nature of our being that exists beneath, behind, and all around the confining mores and laws and distorted realities that can be bent to greed and inhumanity.
When we breathe large and open we feel our power expanding through us, our soul force as Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King called it. We become liberated when we breathe fully and let go of our mind’s limiting constrictions by realities that are not really real, but created through propaganda just as surely as the spikes of the iron maiden are forged with iron.
We feel the solutions to the large problems we all face in this modern world are shimmering just behind the house of sharp shattering mirrors that cut us away from our pure knowing. Our pure knowing is kindness and compassion for ourselves, our fellow human beings regardless of national boundaries or color or religion. Our pure knowing is our sacred connection to all life, we are connected to everything and everyone.
In a world nearing eight billion people the things of power we hold when enclosed in our shackles, the power of military might, grand halls of congress, bloated glass encased corporate headquarters, and police badges … become withering illusions … WHEN WE BREATHE. For In this world of EIGHT BILLION PEOPLE, the ONLY true power is held in our breathing open to our spiritual nature which NOTHING can control. When we breathe fully and openly, we release our fear in the knowing that nothing can harm our soul, and that truth and love are the ONLY currency in the real universe … and we become instantly liberated.
There is no military force or corporate control that can overpower a soul shining in its unleashed brilliance. Nothing can hold back eight billion people from demanding a clean renewable energy economy and a world and nation that does not terrorize others with the threat of Shock and Awe carpet bombing. Four hundred Americans who control more wealth than half of the country cannot control those 150 million people when those people breathe, and open to their soul force, and demand a society of compassion, fairness, and justice.
The war is not “out there.” It is not Satan who is holding us back. It is not the military, or police, or corporate America that is holding us back. They are straw dogs, paper tigers, puppet shadows whose power disappears the moment we find our souls, the moment we breathe so powerfully that we burst through the constraints tethering us to the table of illusions about who we are as human beings.
This battle is a spiritual one, won when we breathe and open and feel the force of our soul expanding through us to join the rippling souls of others worldwide who are now realizing that I CANNOT BREATHE!
Something is happening worldwide. It is not organized by anyone and cannot be blacklisted, for it exists everywhere and nowhere, in between matter’s seams. It is young and old, meek, yet bold, walkin’ paths so far past the tiny roads we’d been sold. No preacher preached it. No president decreed it. But if your soul had a hunger, this is the trough where you’d feed it. Deep inside we all see it. In simple truth, we all be it.
So be it.

One thought on “I CAN’T BREATHE!

  1. Thank you for this, Mr. Douglas. The entire article is beautifully and truthfully stated. You have used the power of poetry, philosophy and the Word of God to describe and to support your opinion in this piece. I am seeing points and truisms that I never would have connected to or thought of in trying to understand the human and societal implications of what has happened in this terrible crime – has happened before too many times and, unless and until we change how we view humanity and our place in it, will occur again and again.
    Peace. God Bless You!

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