Every political season (does it ever end now?) for some years has felt a little ornerier and more contentious than the last. This time around I’m struggling to hold my space of peace in the face of the vitriol I run into every time I look at Facebook or turn on the TV.
Whatever your political persuasion, you do not contribute to peace by ridiculing, vilifying or angrily condemning the folks on the other side. And I get it. I struggle to keep hatred at bay when I contemplate Donald Trump. But as I look at the countless ugly remarks, snotty commentaries and general malevolence toward him I wonder if anyone stops to think about how hatred and malevolence destroy peace.
Every time I think those angry thoughts or see one of those snotty posts, if I direct those kinds of barbs and jokes at him, I have to ask myself how am I then any different than him? When I behave as badly as he does, I am basically being him. More crucially, when I aim those arrows, I am not staying conscious of the one true thing: I AM HIM AND HE IS ME.
I really like Deepak Chopra’s analysis of Donald Trump as being the representative of the Shadow. And his reminder that failure to face the shadow within us is always present when the Hitlers, Idi Amins, Joseph McCarthys and Trumps of the world step up and carry us into darkness. For me the key point of this reminder is the knowledge to which I always return: the only heart I can change is mine.
Anyone or anything I see outside of me and feel is bad or wrong or disturbing reflects something in me. So if I’m not happy with Trump (or substitute whatever candidate you abhor), then what aspects of him are in me? What am I not facing?
- What do I fear so greatly in the world? If I see him as coming from fear and working on creating fear, where is the fear in me that I’m not seeing?
- How poor is my self-esteem if I see him as lacking it?
- In what ways am I as hateful as I perceive him being?
- How am I “dumb” to the realities of life going on around me?
- How and when do I share fear instead of love?
Anything I can see in me I can heal. As I’ve noted many times, I love using the Ho’opono pono prayer for healing.
- For every way in which I allow fear to displace love and peace, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
- For every hateful thought I harbor for anyone, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
- For seeing anyone ever as “other”, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
- For any way in which I lack enough faith to know in all ways every day all is well, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
- If there is anything within me that blocks me from “being peace”, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
Yep, I haven’t issued a challenge for a long time, but here’s one I challenge you to do throughout this political season in the U.S. or, if you live in a place where no election is looming until you feel at peace with it:
- No matter who you favor and who you don’t among the candidates [if you’re not in an election cycle make it a politician you dislike], every time you catch yourself thinking with fear, animosity, or hatred about any candidate, stop and create a list of things that upset or disturb you about that candidate.
- Go deep within and ask yourself where within you does each thing on the list exist? What are the fears that create the anger? What’s going on with your faith?
- Do whatever healing practice you wish, whether it’s saying the ho’onopono pono prayer or doing Reiki or following a guided meditation for healing or???, about everything you discover within you. And keep doing it until you can look at all the candidates and only feel peace.