Recently I met a woman who I truly admire for her ability to shift from the muck of political squabbles to a more expansive view of the human dilemma, and to love regardless of political disagreement.
She told me the story of how through the years she had been steadfast in her political views until one day she was taken aback by the complete opposition of someone she loved.
After much soul searching, she realized how much her unwavering political views were creating a wall between herself and others. She made a decision to come from the place of love regardless of any differences in opinion. She was truly inspirational!
We all hear the political views of the media, our friends, relatives, and others. Even if we listen to both the liberal and the conservative news channels in order to get a better understanding of the political scene, it is still difficult to discern what is opinion and what is truth.
Trying to grapple with what we are hearing and whether it is true or not can be very confusing and overwhelming to try to sort out.
Rather than looking at the huge political impasse that our nation is in, perhaps it would be easier, as an analogy, to look at two people who start out loving each other but who end up stuck in their anger and their need to be right.
It takes a lot of spaciousness on both sides when one or both individuals feel hurt, angry, or misunderstood by the other. I marvel at the complexity of what transpires within each person that brings them to that level of pain.
Each has his or her own perspective of what has happened. This perspective is based not only on information about the situation or issue they’re in conflict about, but also on information from similar situations in the past, information from their beliefs, and information from their unconscious material that distorts the truth about the present situation.
Talking about it can be helpful, or it can deepen the hurt and turn the anger into resentment. Whether or not talking about it is beneficial has a lot to do with the intention, or what motivates the person to talk about it.
For instance, when the intention is to talk about the situation and the issues surrounding it in order to prove oneself right, to look better in the other’s eyes, or to defend sensitive feelings when provoked, talking can be harmful. The dispute that results can then cause more contraction, and lead to deepening unconscious patterns.
However, talking can be helpful when there is the desire to truly listen, with a commitment to working through the misunderstanding and disagreements that arise. This takes the willingness of both parties to be vulnerable and to open to their humanness and to the humanness of the other.
Unfortunately, intentions are usually mixed. Even though the couple may want to resolve the conflict, each feels hurt, angry and confused, and perhaps may even feel inferior or superior to the situation.
As a result, each becomes contracted and closed toward the very person they need to be open to. When in that painful place it is easy to get caught up in the negativity and the confusion of it all.
In the political scene as in other areas of life, there are trigger words and assumptions that can spark a wildfire. Minimizing the negativity in our own minds and being clear about what we wish to express can help extinguish the fire.
When we are committed to awakening spiritually we are more likely to hang in there and gradually work through the complexities. It takes a lot of humility and the desire to open to a deeper truth beyond the issues involved.
Journaling before talking can be helpful in understanding and gaining clarity so that we can respond rather than react to the issues involved.
Actually, how we are with these issues is at least as important as the issues themselves. When the intention is to honestly bring clarity in order to resolve the conflicting issues, to openly listen to what is being said, and to respect the other person, then we have the potential of expanding our awareness and helping to create the solutions that truly benefit all concerned.
Just as the couple needs to change when they are each so stuck in their own views of the situation that divorce seems like the only solution, many of us also need to change in order to bring the love and compassion that can eventually heal the political wound.
In this process it is helpful to see what our minds are doing. This takes quieting our mind so that we can see and change the negative thoughts that arise that cause us to act in dysfuntional ways. Prayer and Meditation can help us quiet our mind.
Trusting in Divine intervention allows us to open to the other, to oneself, and to the process of life so that we don’t get caught in the negativity in our mind and in this world’s problems, but rather can flow with what life has presented.
On Sunday I was shocked and appalled to hear Father Phil’s sermon telling us that the governor from New York signed a bill saying that a woman can have an abortion up to the moment that the baby is to be born. I’m not easily shocked, but imagining the mutilation and death of a fully mature infant turned my stomach.
Father Phil showed us a way of looking at the negative aspects of life in a way that was helpful. He said that God knows the whole story; we are just coming into the middle of the story, trying to make sense of it all.
He compared it to a football game where even though your team is losing 32 to 7 in the second quarter, you don’t throw in the towel and figure you are going to lose. The game isn’t over yet!
The scripture readings that day told the story of how the Israelites were crying and saddened over what the priest, Ezra, was telling them. But Ezra basically said to them to be joyful because even though they had hard times ahead they were walking with the Lord.
The scriptures also indicated that just as each part of the body has its role and doesn’t quarrel with the other parts, we too are part of the whole. We too need to work together in doing whatever we are called to do, while at the same time, being kind and joyful regardless of what is going on politically.
If our focus on the Divine is strong through our daily practice of prayer and meditation, we are less likely to be caught in our own or someone else's personal or political agenda.
We don’t have to be angry or hateful in order to convince people to do what we think they should do politically. We can be joyful, doing our part and leaving the rest, while realizing that God is in control.
So, my friends, I encourage each of us to take responsibility to change the negative thinking within our own minds and hearts so that we can work together to find solutions.
It takes a quiet mind to find that place within us that feels the love and respect for oneself and others, the fullness of life, the confidence in surrendering to what is, and the peaceful joy in being centered in a greater Reality.
Love and Peace,
Below is a poem that my son wrote in his youth that I believe is relevant to healing the political wound.
by Greg E. Mohs
There are different ideas,
and different roads that people choose.
To each his own, some would say
So respect that in every way.
Watch the shoes you step on,
You may be wearing them some day.
Don’t knock someone for their faith, race or ability.
Admire those who succeed and pray for those in need.
Respect others please…
Mary Mohs LVN, MA, RYT,