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The Spotlight Versus The Flat Light Consciousness: The White Light Versus The Black Knight Experiences.

March 21, 2024
Ahmadou DIALLO

From Focused Attention To Expansive Awareness: Illuminating The Spectrum Of Your Existence.

"The journey from spotlight consciousness to flat light consciousness is a journey of awakening to our true nature."

Alan Watts

I am cursed. Let me explain. I left Senegal, West Africa, in 2000 and have lived in France since then. I have blended to the best of my abilities. 

From where I sit, French culture is all about integration. By that, they mean a total alienation of any differences in the surface. After all, their motto is: “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,” which translates into Freedom, Equality, and Fraternity. 

If you dig deeper, that motto is misleading. Freedom: yes, but not free from the oppression to blend in if you are different. Equality: yes, but not if you are a citizen of a third-world country of a former French colony. Fraternity: yes, but only if you accept that mutual respect is a one-way street if you are not the norm.

I am cursed as a Black French citizen. I am cursed because I know that there is no difference by law. Yet, I can feel that there is one in the society. Here is why.

I know that I will never reach my full potential in France. No Black person will ever. There is one question that is hunting me right now: 

Am I a low performer because of my lack of competencies or because of my black appearance?

First, I invite you to explore Alan Watts’ theory of spotlight versus flat light consciousness. Then, you will see the link with being black in a white world.

1. The Spotlight: A Fragmented Perception Of Your Reality

You are sitting quietly in your living room. Suddenly, there is an energy blackout. You have your brand-new Tesla Cybertruck in your garage. You want to use the car as a backup generator. 

You are on the first floor. You must get to your garage safely to plug the car into your electrical system. You reach for your phone and turn on the flashlight. You start your journey to your garage.

You have a big house. In the pitch black of your home, your vision is restricted to the lighted area of your flashlight. 

Now imagine that that big dark house is the universe. That flashlight is your consciousness. In other words, you can only experience what you see. 

That is the spotlight consciousness. It provides you only a fragmented perception of your reality.

2. The Flat Light: Embracing The Panoramic View Of Existence

Today is your birthday. Your friends decided to organize a surprise trip for you. You wake up in the middle of the night. You open the door, and all your friends are there. There is only one rule: you have to accept being blindfolded to get your surprise gift. 

You get into a car. Then, you recognize the sounds of an airport. Your aircraft just landed in what seems to be a freezing area. You can feel the cold in your skin. You are both excited and tormented by the unknown. 

After a journey that felt like an eternity, you open your eyes. You are amazed by all the stars shining behind the Northern Lights. Then, you can see the Milky Way in the background. What a beautiful panorama. 

It is not only the beauty of the stars. It is also the beauty of the dark background with flat light. 

That is flat light consciousness in a nutshell: the beauty lying in plain sight. That is sunlight in the background of a landscape, the background magnifying the foreground. 

If your spotlight highlights what you perceive as different, your flat light consciousness highlights the profound unity under the surface of apparent diversity. 

3. The White Spotlight Shadowing The Black Flat Light

Living in a white-dominated environment, I feel like I am underneath that flat light. The spotlight is naturally given to people who are like the majority. They speak like them. They share the same values. Those people can quickly answer the question about their low performance: it is more because of their lack of competencies. 

Indeed, they are wrapped in the fabric of the white flashlight. They are given the spotlight more often than I am. 

And the flat light has their back. All their privileges are woven into the fabric of their flat lives. They are not even conscious of the existence of such a flat light. They call it talent, hard work, or having a network. 

They cast a shadow on my spotlight as I struggle with my net worth. 

They don’t see why I am not working as hard as them. They say that by working hard and showing up every day, I will increase my luck surface. I face challenges that are dissipated by their flat light. 

As I sit back, they are ready to go on stage from backstage. Their spotlight blinds me as a black man sitting in the darkness of their showroom. 

As they finish their performance, the room is lit. Like many black people in the white environment, I am just there to feed their spotlight. I am even lucky to be a Black person sitting in one of the spots not designed for me. 

Don’t complain. You are lucky to be among the happy few of your kind who have been invited to our show. 

Lights fade back to black. 

Final Thoughts

You can navigate your whole life only with a spotlight consciousness guiding you from your cradle to your coffin. In your flat light, you can take the forces conspiring in your favor for granted. You might not see that your spotlight casts a shadow on other people’s existence. 

Only your experience matters. Only your perception of the world is reality. If you can do it, then anybody can.

Ensure that your spotlight consciousness does not blindside you, that you are not full of your privileges, and that you reexamine your perception of light.  

Dare to explore the flat light, see the darkness in your light, and venture into the uncharted territories of your consciousness. Where there is light, there is definitely darkness.

I know that I am worthy of light. I know I can live in my flat light more than in other people’s spotlights.

I am not Black, after all. That is a dark spot if I choose to sit there. They are not White either. That is just whitewashing their darkness. 

I am my spotlight, and I am my flat light. I am both because one cannot exist without the other. 

You are my flat light, and I am your spotlight. You are dark, but I am bright, and you are light. We are both right.

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Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash

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