Politics as a spiritual practice. . .
Today I want to talk about the spiritual principle called Love. I’m betting that not too many people who read my blogs want to hear about Love and Donald Trump in the same conversation. But I’m not going to talk to you about “loving” Trump. I’m going to talk about Love as a spiritual practice, Love as a way of being, Love as a life path. Love is not a feeling or something you extend to someone else. Love is an internal state of mind that demands truthfulness, integrity, and profound courage.
I have Love in my invisible garment pattern in the Uranus (authentic self-knowing) position. It’s a challenge. Along with millions of my fellow citizens, I have spent the months since November 8, 2016 in deep personal investigation as well as cultural analysis. What happened in that election is surely a reflection of a culture full of individuals who have forgotten how to be responsible to the planet, to each other, and to our innate wisdom. The question for me is this: How do I get out of the way of Love and let it access the world through me, in spite of my opinions?
Different people have responded differently to the election. Some are gleeful. Some are cautiously hopeful. Others are fairly devastated.
From my perspective, almost no one is behaving well. The “gleefuls” are aggressively greedy: no we really won by a landslide, no let’s look at the alternative facts, no we really do have a yuuuuuge mandate, no there were millions of people at the inauguration. Really?
The “hopefuls” are quiet: let’s just wait and see, let’s give him a chance.
It’s the “devastateds” to whom I want to talk today, because this group astonishes me the most. The “devastateds,” to a large extent, are acting exactly the way Republicans did when Obama was elected – with deep animosity, with the intention of obstruction over thoughtful examination, and most disturbingly with name calling, finger pointing, projection, and “othering.” That behavior and attitude is not helpful, nor is it going to accomplish a damned thing.
We used to elect people to represent us in Congress, and those people would LEAD. They would research, become knowledgeable about issues, and then return to their constituents with valid information that would mold public opinion and public policy. We have allowed that model to be almost completely deconstructed and the one that has taken its place is one in which our heretofore called “leaders” are so concerned about getting re-elected that they let the uninformed (and in some cases outright stupid) electorate determine their vote in Congress. We, the electorate, have allowed that to happen. We have to be accountable for that dismal state of affairs. That said, I do want to acknowledge that there are some very dedicated public servants who do lead, who do stay above the sludge, and who are trustworthy.
Here’s what I want to say to the “devastateds” today. Public change occurs through peaceful, non-violent, informed, intentional civil disobedience based in Love. Yes the Civil War resulted in freeing the slaves and in creating a union from which a state cannot secede because of a foot-stomping disagreement over basic civil rights. (i.e. neither California nor Texas will be leaving the union!) But the War didn’t change hearts. Martin Luther King’s long-term campaign of non-violent civil disobedience and Love changed hearts. It was slow. Sometimes it was bloody. But King’s crusade accomplished more toward evolving our culture than any other movement (or war) I know in our history.
Why? Because the basic foundations of non-violent civil disobedience stand as the most powerful tools of transformation available to humanity. Let’s look at a few of them.
- Treat your enemy with kindness. King taught his people that every person of every color has a spark of Divinity in their heart. Every person of every color, no matter what their actions, is worthy of being treated with dignity. The goal of non-violent transformation is to build bridges and create sacred community, even with people with whom we disagree.
- Love. King’s message was that Love is NOT a feeling – Love is, rather, a way of being, a lifestyle. Love is an unselfish, big-picture, creative, and spontaneous path into every circumstance of every day.
- Seek to defeat injustice, not people. King taught that when people are behaving in ways that are harmful to each other and to the earth, it’s because they are wounded themselves. If we stop the injustices, we heal the perpetrators, we create well-being for the victims, and the culture becomes stronger.
The silver lining in our present-day political situation rests in the fact that each of us carries within us the ability to become a better person. By becoming better people, by recognizing the wounds in those who seek power for power’s sake, by pledging ourselves to creating a world that embraces with Love every living being (human and non), by developing solutions rather than exacerbating problems, we all win! We all win! Aren’t we all better people because of King’s teachings and practices? We all won because he challenged his followers to be better people.
I’m asking something yuuuuuuge of you today. I’ll take the lead. I hope you’ll join with me. Let’s start a movement that puts a stop to hating. Hate is too big a burden for anyone to carry. Let’s stop spreading “alternative facts” (yes we do it, too.) Let’s stop wasting our divine and precious energy listening to the “news” and then just restating their talking points to each other. Let’s start telling each other the truth. Let’s learn to BE LOVE.
Let’s move with grace and dignity and Love. Let’s treat every person (no matter their skin color – even the orange ones) with dignity. Let’s find the good in every moment and plant ourselves in its soil. Let’s be clear that unless what we DO is firmly rooted in our most divine beingness, it is just a spit in the wind.
The woman’s march was a start. Millions of people gathered in hundreds of cities. No arrests. No aggression. No hate. The airport demonstrations and the ACLU lawsuit was another. Spontaneously hundreds of people demanded Constitutional rights for total strangers! Let’s move forward together in Love to stand for social justice, to demand equality for all, and to create an American community where we can all live safely and wear our invisible garments with dignity!