Election 2016 II: What We Can Do
Our national Dark Night of the Soul sometimes feels like an explosive, dangerous and potentially violent cauldron of unstable energy. This is especially so when a main front running candidate, Donald Trump, predicts violence if he does not get his way and does this in a way that appears to condone and incite it. In the face of this it is tempting to want to retreat into the safety zone of meditational bliss or to seek the shelter of an island in the Pacific Ocean. But, it is precisely in this time that spiritual people are the most deeply needed and have enormous contributions to make. We can stand in the middle of the broken heartedness, hate, violence and demonization of so many groups as fierce disciples of the light. When we have the faith to do this every candle we light is an antidote to the toxicity of our time. We can stand forth with open hearts and loving souls not because we are more virtuous (we are not) but because we are graced with the awareness that strength arises from compassion and love.
It is my sense that we have at least two roles.
First, we see the contribution of spiritual practice. Activity such as meditation, self-inquiry, prayer, mantra and chanting are what we know best and are our strength. They are our unique contribution. Spiritual practice can be part of the political process not apart from it. It is one of the ways we participate. I will highlight two examples of how this contribution occurs. The first example is in our meditation we can seek to spread light and love throughout our country in general and to specific leaders, media representatives and especially every candidate. One way to do this is to use the traditional format of ‘Loving Kindness Meditation’ an example of which is linked at the end of this posting. Our meditation becomes more vital and crucial as the darkness becomes deeper. To keep sending the energies of love into our world no matter how dark the night is an act of spiritual purification, courage and growth.
The second example of relevant spiritual practice involves self-inquiry. Dark energy in general and specifically in our leaders does not arise apart from us. Through spiritual practice we can become more aware of our own inner demons, rage and potential to discriminate against others. Just as we all have in “inner child” so too we all have an “inner Donald Trump.” Everything he says, and those like him say, is within us and is part of our potential. Through this action we see the shadow in ourselves and shine a light on it thus decreasing it in ourselves and our culture. It often seems as though the dark energy or energy of low vibration has no interest in dialogue or greater self-awareness. Many times it is shocking how opportunities for dialogue and discussion become festivals of insults, bullying and threats. At times I am shocked at the utter lack of self-reflection and awareness evident in these events and am reminded of my own denial I described in posts of February 2, 2016 and February 16, 2016. In this time we may need to redouble our efforts at self-inquiry. This is a major contribution spiritual people can make to the process.
This is not work for the faint of heart or those who are squeamish about themselves or others. In this time many, many personal, national and corporate illusions are dissolving creating enormous angst and fears of annihilation. The response is often a cultural longing for the fantasied good old days and rescue of a powerful leader. It is our spiritual practice that gives us vision into the struggles.
The second role we can assume is that of direct action. For many of us this requires stepping outside of our familiar safety zone of spiritual practice and moving into the more public arena. There are many traditional ways of doing this including informally speaking to friends and neighbors, writing letters to the editors of local newspaper and volunteering for a campaign for phone banks and canvassing with literature. Our direct action as individuals is crucial for this election process. Organizations and spiritual teachers who have organizations cannot speak directly concerning political elections. To do so risks the tax exempt status of their organizations. We as individuals can speak without this risk. We can contribute in concrete practical ways by showing up out of love and compassion not fear and hate. Being grounded in the knowledge that strength arises from compassion and love we are capable of bringing special energy to the process.
In this posting I am obviously very partisan. I am not so naïve as to think that liberal and progressive politicians are saints or angels. They all have their flaws just as many of our spiritual teachers have their imperfections, foibles and quirks. But this is not a time for false neutrality or objectivity. The darker energies need to be faced and named directly and clearly. It is possible to find candidates who reflect relatively higher vibration without needing them to be perfect or angelic. When we find them it is important to give support in whatever way feels comfortable.
While much of this is unpleasant it is still a major unique opportunity for healing. The choice will be ours. Deep meditation of the loving kindness style, incessant self-inquiry seeking expanded self-awareness of our role in the chaos along with some of us getting directly involved are the strengths and blessings spiritual people bring. We are needed in this time to shine our light illuminating the darkness.
For loving kindness meditation script:
For a blog posting about this issue:
You tube video on sacred activism:
“Buddha at the gas pump interview of Andrew Harvey.”