I’ve grown to accept that I am not acceptable by most. I have never been black enough, Indian enough, or Muslim enough, and dare I say pliable enough. I speak my mind without permission because there is none to grant me permission. I don’t intend to give a voice to the voiceless, or a platform to the oppressed. Both are in the state that they are in because of inaction either on their part or the part of the collective to which they actively subscribe.

While I may not be able to resist the physical oppression that overwhelms any physical means of resistance I have at my disposal, it has never been a reason for me to remain oppressed in my mind. Far too many see the shackles on their wrists and assume that to be a denial of their freedom to think and to choose. I may not be able to choose my freedom of movement or association at all times, but I can always choose how much of that oppression defines me or what I am capable of contributing towards its dismantling.

I choose not to be oppressed by the self-serving leaders that I see around me. From government to community to religious structures. The contaminated ego has pervaded all such structures resulting in the stench of moral and ethical decay that I see. Tribal, cultural, and fraternal allegiances define the principles and values by which we live, rather than the common subscription to such principles and values that should supersede such allegiances being the glue that bonds us. As a result, I see leaders serving each other before they serve their subjects, and subjects aspiring to such stations of promise and praise because they wish for such self-serving worship as well. Service to their community rarely factors into that equation.

Everyone wants to believe that they’re the chosen ones. Some claim this through divine appointment, others claim it through association with the divine, but none appear to claim it through serving the divinity that they worship. Instead, they seek to be worshipped for the divinity that they believe resides within them. Their man-made titles convince them that they are morally, academically, and religiously superior while they fail to recognise the irony of using man to proclaim their divinity.

The contaminated ego has convinced many that they are superior by way of association and subscription rather than through action. I claim none of this. As I’m often reminded by the saying of a long forgotten scholar, if you knew me as I know myself, you’d throw sand in my face. A desert of sand. Each time I flirted with the idea that I was better than another I realised that such comparison confirmed that I was worse. The need to compare, even if inspired by a noble endeavour, is arrogance. I either aspire to adopt the ways of those I admire, or I choose to avoid the ways of those that I don’t. Better or worse must never feature because that will be a self-serving notion, not unlike the contamination I see in the leadership that prevails.

Leadership itself is misleading. To aspire to leadership is to court with worship. To have leadership thrust upon you through no effort of your own is a burden imposed by the divine. A burden is never a burden if deliberately chosen. A burden deliberately chosen is a need for validation or acceptance. The true burden is the choice to accept such validation through a rejection of the self. Any subsequent burden is merely a progression of that rejection.

The struggles I have chosen for myself only appeared as struggles when I lost sight of the convictions that I chose to serve. Any hardship or difficulty that resulted was often a result of misplaced expectations or self-pity, both of which faded from view the moment I reconnected with the convictions I held dear. Reconnecting with those convictions was never possible while surrounded by admirers but was only ever realised in the quiet moments where I found myself with no means to placate my failures or shortcomings. It is only through an accepting embrace of the same that I was ever able to rise above it. Denial always only tethered me to that which I hoped to ignore.

The ego itself is neutral. Like the body, it thrives with opportunity and benevolence when sustained with that which humbles it, and it crumbles under the weight of expectations and entitlement when fed with that which makes it gluttonous. Abdication for our choice of spiritual diet leads to the latter and quickly manifests in the unpleasant disposition and appearance that we develop on the outside.

Spirituality and physical wellbeing are not mutually exclusive. The one who professes to be spiritually enlightened will not be physically distorted from their natural proportions, and the one who exerts themselves in being physically attractive are most certainly not spiritually enlightened. It is the consequential balance of the two that reflects the true state of our ego, and not the contemplation of one or the other independently.

[This is an incomplete train of thought]

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