It felt like the worst hangover I could ever have experienced, waking up the next morning to an America with a president-elect called Donald Trump. How could this be, in a world that I had seen as basically good and decent and honorable? How could hate, racism, misogyny, injustice and small mindedness win the presidency of the United States?
An outpouring of shock and grief has spread across the nation in the days that have followed, and just like any death, those of us who are experiencing this event as a tragedy, must go through the grieving process – Elizabeth Ross’s 5 stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance – and not necessarily in that order. It is indeed a process.
Yet out of any tragedy can come good. It is up to each of us to delve deeply into ourselves to find that good. As is said so often by spiritual teachers, to heal the hate without we must heal the hate within, substituting of course, hate for racism or misogyny or injustice or any other word that you find upsetting.
I look inside my own heart and I wonder where the hatred or injustice might be. I don’t think I hate in the way this election has brought to the surface. And yet … when I don’t listen to or honor my own inner essence and the voice that can arise from that inner essence, I have to ask myself why I don’t. Do I hate myself when I am not true to myself, when I act or think or speak in ways that are ego rooted rather than essence rooted? Is feeling unworthy or not enough really a form of self-hatred?
What is it about the hatred etc. I have seen spewing forth that upsets me? I think perhaps it is that I find it so shocking to my senses, that so many people could think and act this way in this day and age.
Living From “I Am” or Mind
When we lose the awareness of “I Am”, we have to then rely on our minds, on learned brain tracks which so often have no foundation in the peace and stillness of “I Am”. Mind can be easily influenced not only by our own fearful or judgmental thoughts, but the thoughts of the world around us, of the people we associate with and of course the media and all its drama reporting. It doesn’t take long for one opinion after another to sink into consciousness and take root, and so is born an identification with perspectives of hatred and racism etc.
It depends on the foundation of the mind, the thinking learned throughout life, which perspectives we will lean towards, but we can be sure to find those that resonate with our thinking. For me, it is the injustice and shock and even anger, that others can be so prejudiced or that they can accept the misogyny for example, that is so foreign to my way of thinking. And so, that is the thinking of the people and media I attract into my life.
Acceptance Breeds Curiosity
But all of this thinking, regardless of the perspective, is just that – thinking – thoughts and beliefs of how the world and its people should be. We live on a planet of extreme diversity which provides major opportunities for all of us. Instead of being fearful or judgmental of people and thinking that is different from us, we have the opportunity, over and over, to expand our reality until we can truly embrace diversity.
From acceptance of another, and a willingness to allow him or her to be exactly as they are, a new curiosity can arise. What really does make this person tick, why exactly do they think and act as they do? What is their untold story that I might learn from, grow from and even contribute possible solutions to for all of us? How did that person get to this place?
Curiosity feels so much nicer than judgment and condemnation. Where this latest explosion in American politics will take us is something about which I am now becoming more curious than judgmental. In the process I have become more curious about where this life journey is taking me and how I can transcend the powerfully raw, unleashed emotion I see in my world, and in doing so, contribute to the learning and growth and peace of mind for all.
This morning I woke up to this somewhat haunting clip from Kate McKinnon of SNL (Saturday Night Live) who plays Hillary Clinton. She is singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. I thought it apropos to this blog.