As I write this blog, I have no idea of the Presidential election outcome. I prepare my posts days in advance so there is sufficient time for the staff to do what is necessary to have my blog posts uploaded on Monday mornings. So, if you are reading this before the official Tuesday, November 3rd election results, perhaps you are in the same boat as I am contemplating the significance of this election at this moment in time.
Historians, political pundits, and commentators say this is the most critical Presidential election in modern American history. Typically, such a statement is considered pure hyperbole. Yet, I admit that I have not witnessed as much attention and emotional intensity about an election like this since I started voting in the 1970’s. At least we can all agree that one candidate will win and the other will not.
I have a personal belief and preference that one of the two Presidential candidates is better for this country at this time. (Hint: I predict there will be an "Under New Management" sign at the White House on January 20, 2021. But I have been wrong before… so who knows!) Nevertheless, when viewed from a higher point of view, a president alone cannot change the culture needed to unify the polarized divide we are going through in this country. Neither will a change in Congress' makeup. Such a transformation and rejuvenation of our political body will have to come from the individual and the collective consciousness of the people who make up the United States of America.
To have a chance of experiencing that transformation and rejuvenation, we must loosen our grip on our human perspectives in which there is a pitting of two sides - one versus the other. Instead, we should strive to see things from a third “spiritual” perspective. To get there, we have to recognize and move through multiple stages of consciousness. I am going to list those stages and briefly describe them. If we move through those stages, we will have a chance at creating the "more perfect union” stated in the Preamble of the Constitution.
Stage 1: Powerless Victim
In this first stage of consciousness, we believe that all our troubles and challenges result from politician X or party Y. In this scenario, there is the belief that things outside of ourselves determine our emotions and our lives. There is the belief that a particular party or candidate has caused us to feel terrified, depressed, outraged, or even physically ill. Moreover, the party or candidate we oppose is the reason for our plight and the predicament we face. As a result, we blame them, and make them a scapegoat.
Blaming or scapegoating can lead to a cycle of powerlessness in which the only thing we can think of is to retaliate against the party we oppose if they are in power. This pattern goes back and forth with each election cycle in which someone must be the enemy to blame. I am not suggesting there is never any evidence to support such a position. However, if one were to give up the victim role (e.g., "The President did this to me!"), it would open up a new possibility.
Stage 2: Empowerment
In this next stage, we may initially feel challenged by the circumstances we face. However, life challenges are often the catalysts we need to step into our authentic power and to change our lives. In this second stage of consciousness, we find out what we are capable of doing. We are never victims of circumstance, but have the agency to be creators of our lives.
We use our spiritual tools (such as affirmative prayer, silent meditation, and visualizations) and take action to move us to the future we desire. We say, "Wait a minute. I AM powerful!" We can take action to create the change we want to see by taking individual and collective action such as signing petitions and peaceful marches. There is one caveat … we must avoid blaming or shaming others with thoughts or words such as, "What have the stupid idiots done now?!" Blaming and/or shaming only heightens tensions and evokes nonproductive counterattacks.
While the empowerment stage is far better than wallowing in victimhood, it does have its limitations. We may believe we have control. The reality is control is illusory. Our ability to be the sole generator of every outcome is not humanly possible. No one, nor any group of people, can figure out the answers to all our problems using human wit alone. When we recognize that our human understanding can only take us so far, we are ready to move to the next stage of consciousness.
Stage 3: Vessel of Spirit
In this stage, we acknowledge that, "It is not I, but the God within who does the work." We surrender the small Self to the Universal Power and allow this Higher Power to work through us. At this point, we are open to the unknown. We trust and align with the Higher Power so the greater Truth can flow through us.
In this stage of consciousness, we approach this election (and any other for that matter), as pure channels of Spirit with a curiosity about what we do not know or do not understand. We ask, "How can I understand the viewpoint of those I vehemently dislike, disagree with, disapprove of, and have positions that appear indefensible?” We may even view their perspectives as crazy and destructive. We still ask, "Is this who they truly are spiritually?" We further inquire, “What were the confluence of events – economical, psychological, family history, etc. - that influenced who they are and what they believe?”
To quote from Harper Lee's book, To Kill a Mockingbird, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” If we can imagine walking around in another person’s skin, we then ask, “Is it possible for me to embrace that person as a fellow human/spiritual being despite our vastly different points of view?” Admittedly, this is not an easy thing to do. It is hard spiritual work. If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.
In this third stage of consciousness, we are beginning to let go of the belief in separation, judgment, and condemnation. Such a release does not suggest we do not stop others from doing harm. Instead, we are opening up to be the vessels of Spirit so it can flow through and as us. We live more and more our unalterable Truth - we are all children of God capable of doing good, and not so good, things.
Ultimately, we must recognize and acknowledge that we have limits to our human understanding. When we reach that limit, the only thing left is to surrender to Infinite Power so we can be instruments of this energy. This energy is Love - the force that binds together the entire Universe. When we grasp the power of Love, we are ready to embrace the fourth stage of consciousness.
Stage 4: Oneness
In this stage, we realize and live out the changeless Truth – “We are One in the Spirit.” Perhaps all the external distress we are experiencing, and have been going through for a very long time, is here to wake us up and catalyze a collective shift in consciousness. Maybe what we view as “us vs. them” we ought to view from a higher perspective. When seen from that vantage point, it helps us give up our story of separation.
If we can see it from a higher consciousness, we can collectively tap into the eternal flow of Spirit that enables us to be who we came here to be - one people, part of one country, and one planet. In that Oneness consciousness, we can heal the United States, and the world for that matter, as we are devoid of hate or the need to marginalize anyone. We will then be able to listen and talk to one another genuinely. Imagine how freeing that would be for our Spirit.
Peace and Blessings,