Responsibility lies within the heart.


I have been struggling since the results of the election came in to sort out my feelings. That was a terrible night; I have never before in my life felt such agita born solely from events and not from appendicitis or chili peppers. I feel as though something near and dear to me has died. It appears that the very idea of the United States has come untied and E Pluribus Unum will be struck out as our motto. Since that night I have been going through a variety of strong emotions: fear, outrage, shock, indignation, sadness, and worry. This has caused many fruitless arguments inside my head with those I know who favored Trump. I can’t talk to them in person, they are rabid and the disrespect and hate that boils up is just too painful.

So, what to do? Lately I tried acceptance, it is a sublime and very high spiritual practice that is essential for any kind of progress on the path but wow, is it hard to practice right now. One thing I know is that the only thing I do have control of in this situation is my own feelings. This is, admittedly, a tad late to start thinking about now, a full month later. I know better, I am blessed with many spiritual tools and much support.

Why did I wait so long? Why do some people I know choose to wallow in vitriol berating, hating and scorning people they don’t even know like Hillary and Obama? To some extent I think it’s for the same reason I have wallowed in my despair, a terrible reason. A dear spiritual teacher I knew once said this to a large gathering: “You insist on gnawing on your own bones so that you can taste blood to feel alive.” I paraphrase because I don’t remember it exactly but I’m sure I have the essence of the message; we are not content to rest in quiet, to breathe deeply into our heart and settle in the confidence and truth of our own deepest sense of being – the drama outside is too tasty.

This is where the danger lies. People not centered in the heart that knows truth are easily controlled. I need to take back the sovereignty of my own feelings; all of us need to do that. We can strike a balance of being involved and caring without losing our center.

For me the greatest shame of late is the steep slide our culture has taken into disrespect. The disrespect has morphed into hate and blame and usually it is built on baseless lies. This is more evidence of permitting our centered being to be hijacked. There is a discussion in the Baghavad Gita about the nature of war. It describes a justified war versus the unjustified war and the difference is very simple. The justified war or dharmic war is when both sides recognize that they are opposed to their equal. The unjustified war or adharmic war is when either or both sides demonizes, diminishes, vilifies, or negates the humanity of their opponent.

There is an additional layer to this dharma or justification of war though: all wars are fought within our self – pitting our own demons against ourselves in a timeless inner battle. Until we acknowledge that all outside events manifest the condition of the mind and heart inside we will be swept about on the emotional roller coaster of the times. I encourage all to take responsibility for our feelings. I am trying.

Good luck with that I say with all my heart, all my love and with supreme respect.