Did you pay to get Trump elected? I did. And I’m betting you did too. Maybe not with your money or your vote, but we paid with our attention. Every time we laughed at brazen remarks or spread memes intended to disparage. Every time we taunted and laughed, we were inadvertently chanting his name and bolstering a campaign built on fear. We watched this ultimate reality show, unbounded by channel or network, play out across our screens, feeds and news outlets. And we couldn’t help ourselves. We willingly poured our most finite resource, our attention, into the gaping mouth of a ravenous beast that swallowed it all and still gulped for more. Each time we asked one another: “Can you imagine if he was actually elected?” we were subtly praying for it to happen. If you ever wondered about whether our thoughts create our reality, well welcome to the wake up call.
What we resist, persists and what we pay attention to flourishes. That’s not to say that we should have ignored what was going on, but instead we would have been better served to acknowledge the situation soberly and move swiftly towards solutions. But instead most of us rubbernecked, eyes locked on this slow motion car crash, perversely wondering what body part we might catch a glimpse of next. But don’t be too hard on yourself. After all it’s pretty easy to trick our primate psychology so it’s no real surprise that we got played like monkeys. Jokes on me and you. Jokes on minorities and future generations. Jokes on civil liberties and the environment. But few people on either side are actually laughing because we’re still too busy feeling upset and hurt.
We got complacent. We never really thought this could happen. But it has, and now we can choose how to proceed. The old system wants nothing more than for us to simmer in hatred for the Other. The Other voter. The Other overseas. The Other within ourselves. When a person’s attention is gripped by fear of any of the perceived Other, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of that person. When we are afraid, most of us will cling to any person, product or service that makes us feel better or promises us safety. When threatened many of us willingly toss aside our personal rights if it means that someone will just tell us that we’re going to be OK. Unfortunately in doing so we become increasingly less able to take care of ourselves. Our self reliance dwindles and our communities weaken. Our freedom of speech suffers and basic human rights begin to dissolve. I’m a financially stable, hetero, white male and I’m feeling nervous so I can’t even imagine how I’d be feeling if I was any of the minorities who are feeling afraid that their hard won equality might be at stake. I woke up the day after the election to my neighbor crying outside her home, hand on her car, unable to drive to work until she pulled herself together. We are all working through our stages of grief on different timelines.
The waves of sadness and fear are reverberating but blame won’t fix things. Hate can’t be part of the solution. Never forget that the vast majority of people in this country and on this planet are good people that just want to feel safe and have their basic human needs met. The only Other we should be fighting against is the broken system that has pitted our brothers and sisters against each other. The facade is falling and it’s no longer possible to ignore the hurt we are all feeling. So leverage your rage and tears and let’s turn our frustration into action. Let’s transform our anger into empathy. If we can’t inspire those feelings within ourselves how can we hope to inspire them within anyone else? We can continue to play the game of separation. Or we can begin to work together as never before, and watch the old structure wither on the vine.
Hug your friends and loved ones, hug your pets and most importantly hug yourself. More than ever express how much you care for people at home, at work and in public, regardless of how they voted. The solutions that are needed for peace on this planet can only come from a place of love and deep empathy. We are all hurting and it’s a time to work together to heal. The sort of sweeping conscious evolution that many of us hope to see emerges not from from blame, anger or judgement but from inclusion, compassion and tolerance. Stand your ground, and as Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
The scab of the status quo has been ripped off, revealing a festering wound deep inside of our country that can no longer be ignored. People are hurting. They are suffering. And we won’t stand for it any more. But fear not, my friends. Fear can not be the fuel for the solution that is needed. This is an unparalleled opportunity to start healing. And that starts within yourself. How is this battle of love and fear represented within you? How can you bring light to your shadows and love yourself more fully. Because by doing so you will observe that there’s way to treat any Other, real or imagined, than with compassion. Protest and petition, but come home to love and let it be the fire that fuels your actions as anything less is a continuation of the same archaic paradigm that we’re yearning to break free of. As my Vipassana teacher once told me: “Even if someone is so trapped in their own pain that the only way they can express themselves is with hate, then love them still. Returning hate will only fuel their fire.”
Even though it may evolve differently that we expected, this era will no doubt be seen as a crucial and necessary step towards a truly liberated world. It might take a little longer than we want. Love it. The road might be studded with obstacles and hidden challenges. Love it! We might not witness the full expression of what human consciousness is capable of in this lifetime… But LOVE that too! As we continue along the journey of conscious expansion, never think that you are anything less than a crucial step along the way. There is no way out but through it, and there is no way to arrive at where we hope to be, a place where everyone feels safe and loved, if we are not embodying those traits along the entirety of the journey. Every moment of every day is an opportunity to recommit to the force of love that created you, just as it created the universe itself.
It’s a time for deep healing. I envision a world where everyone lives fulfilling lives and are who are healthy and taken care of. In this world we celebrate our differences and treat each other as extended family. In this world we live in harmony with nature and everything we create serves to connect us to ourselves, others and the planet in increasingly deep and meaningful ways. That is the future I’m paying attention to.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
— Martin Luther King