I voted just before sending out this message to Amanda, who has the all-important task of actually making sure you receive this message. I am just one of the record number of voters across the United States who cast their ballots during a mid-term election. This election is against the backdrop of what seems to be the most intense level of political polarization in recent history. No matter the outcome, the political divide will likely continue to await resolution. Two questions that remain unsettled are, “what is the answer?” and, “do spiritual solutions play a role in helping answer that question?” I believe they do.
On many levels we are living in a time of accelerated change socially, technologically and politically. There is upheaval not only in America but globally as well, which signifies that there is a major paradigm shift afoot. Despite appearances, this is good reason to believe we are moving from one stage of consciousness to a higher one.
However, this process is not always fun and games. Dr. H. Emilie Cady, in her classic text, Lessons in Truth, referred to it as chemicalization: a clash between an old idea and an emerging new idea during which external events, such as the election of a controversial leader or the rising of a polemical group, serve as evolutionary triggers to stir things up and accelerate the manifestation of a higher state of consciousness. These triggers wake us up from a sense of complacency and motivate us to speed up the process of evolution. When that happens, we may feel fear or be discouraged, though we need not be. When we look at such events from a spiritual perspective, we realize they are part of a process that will not last forever. Something higher and better will take place.
Perhaps our political system and its binary "yes/no" and "us vs. them" approach is not able to handle the complexity of modern-day life. Such an approach leads to rhetoric that fans the flames of racial, cultural, geographic and economic division. Moving beyond that requires that we see our system of democracy as a process that can and ought to evolve in order to address the needs of our day. This means going back to the basic spiritual principles inherent in democratic ideals: to cooperate with one another to serve what is best for all. This transcends the political “winner takes all” approach where the reward goes to those who yell the loudest and feel they are mandated to assert their agenda regardless of how it affects others.
To live out the sense of mutual respect, we must be ready to embrace the perennial wisdom teachings of unity, oneness and interconnectedness. We must make this our way of being in the world. Indeed, if we are to address the global challenges like climate change, polluted waters and war, as well as racism, or xenophobia, or mob rule, we must engage in a dialogue that brings out acknowledgement and compassion for the needs of all parties and not just the few or even the majority. For ALL parties.
There is a great deal of enmity being expressed in the present political arena. More often than not, this is a result of a need that is not being met, unhealed wounds or fear.Perhaps, like me, you may ask, “What can I do?” (besides vote). We start by becoming the change we wish to see. Although we may believe we won’t make a difference, this action alone has a profound ripple effect.
We may also encourage this change we wish for by practicing Non-violent Communication (NVC). Also known as Compassionate Communication, NVC is a process that focuses on empathy and honest self-expression. It is an effective tool to achieve mutual respect and even cooperation with those who hold different points of view. Imagine if this were applied to our accusatory, confrontational, oppositional politics. It would create major transformation by enabling us to maintain a perspective of compassion for ourselves and others in the face of trying external circumstances.
We have the opportunity to build a cooperative domestic and global society. It begins with us. It starts right where we are. When we make this part of our awareness, the consciousness will spread. Soon the politicians will follow. It may sound like a pipe dream or John Lennon’s song, Imagine; something in an unreachable future. But we already have what we need to make it real. The power is within us. As more and more agree to be the change we want to see, we will not just imagine it; we will be living it.
Peace and Blessings,