While acknowledging that these Torah of Awakening posts are intended for everyone, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, I also acknowledge that many folks who read these posts are feeling devastated and even terrified in the wake of the election results. If you are one of those folks, this post is for you.
At the same time, this post is also for everyone, as devastation and fear do not belong solely to any particular situation, but are inherent features of the human experience.
And so, I write today not to offer any political or historical perspectives (there are plenty of those coming out by the second), but to respond to the question that may arise as you seek to reconcile our current situation with your spiritual path:
“How do I deal with this situation from a “spiritual awakening” perspective, from a path of Presence? Should I simply trust the how the universe/God is unfolding? Should I replace the negative story I have about it with a positive one?
To respond, I want to first bring to mind the nature of what we’re dealing with.
Our political reality is not like a snow storm or a sunrise. It doesn’t simply happen in the world as a natural unfolding of the universe. It is purely, one hundred percent a projection of the human mind- of your mind, of my mind, of all humans who create it by participating in it.
“President” is a creation of the mind. “Elections” are creations of the mind. All political views are creations of the mind. They are stories, narratives, fictions.
That’s not to say that they don’t have very real and objective consequences, but only to point out that they are completely, one hundred percent externalizations of thought, projections of our “inner worlds.”
Which just goes to show you how incredibly powerful our inner worlds are- that so much of our human reality is made up of the externalization of our mental stories.
And, while we have no absolute power to control what happens in the external world, there is one power we do have, and that’s the power to choose how we project our inner world- that is, the power to choose the quality of our words and actions.
While that might seem like a relatively tiny power, it’s the only power we truly have. And since our whole civilization ultimately rests on the projections of everyone’s inner worlds, your power is real. Every action, every word, every gesture is an act of power- of projecting your inner world onto the outer world.
Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high…”
And so, the next question then arises- How can you “go high” when you’re filled with so much negative emotion? In other words, how can you choose to project something positive, when your inner world is totally negative?
To answer, it’s good to first understand where these emotions come from, and why this situation is so difficult in particular. It’s not like natural disasters such as like earthquakes or floods. That’s because it’s not just the external world that’s being threatened; it’s also your inner world that is threatened.
And why is that so devastating?
Because our inner worlds of thought and feeling tend to make up our identity; it’s who we feel that we are.
When we lose what we value and believe in, our very sense of self is threatened. And the natural reaction to the “self” being threatened is intense grief, fear, anger, nastiness, and for some, even violence. Which brings us to the other name for the self-sense that’s derived from thoughts and feelings: Ego.
When you come right down to it, ego is the reason why we have such polarization in our species in the first place. It’s the reason that extremely intelligent people can have such opposing points of view, with almost no willingness to see the view of the other. That’s because the ego-self is derived from your thoughts and feelings; from your point of view. When your point of view is threatened, your ego is threatened. And the ego is like any natural creature- it wants to live, and it will fight for its life.
So beyond all politics, beyond all external worldly events that come and go in history, whether positive or negative, whether loving or hateful, is this crucial truth: Humanity cannot be fixed until the problem of ego is fixed.
And, the only ego problem you can fix, ultimately, is your own.
How do you fix it?
First of all, know that there is a vast dimension of your own being that is far beyond ego, that you are infinitely more than ego, even though ego can seem so powerful. That inner vastness is the source of your authenticity, of true creativity, of genuine love, joy, connection and true power. Connect with that, and you take the first step (again and again) to bringing true healing, wisdom and love into the world.
Second, know that your inner vastness is not something you have to search or reach for; it’s already present as your own awareness, as the consciousness that is reading these words, in this moment.
Which brings us to the third and most important part:
You can awaken the vast dimension of your own awareness right now, simply by opening to and embracing everything that arises within your field of experience.
You feel fear, anger, or devastation? Those feelings themselves are the doorway beyond ego, if you open to them.
By “open to them” I mean: intentionally let them be there. They are painful- let them burn. They are burning away ego, if you don't get taken over by them and instead simply allow them to be.
Wholeheartedly abandon the idea that you can control anything, except for your relationship to this moment. You actually can control your relationship to this moment, simply by opening to what is. And, paradoxically, “opening to what is” means giving up all control.
As it says in the Talmud (Berachot 33b), “Everything is in the hands of heaven except the awe of heaven…”
Meaning: “Heaven” is the open space of this moment, and we cannot control what arises. Rather, everything is “in the hands of heaven”- things happen as they happen, arising out of the emptiness of this moment.
And yet, “awe of heaven” is in your hands.
Meaning: Respect Reality as it is. Open to it, allow this moment to be as it is. When you do, there’s an amazing discovery to be made: You are not your ego. In fact, you are not something other than the “heaven.” You are the space of this moment. You are the awareness within which everything arises.
And from that realization, from that Makom of openness, you don’t have to try to invent some positive story to dump on top of your negative story. When you see story for what it is, you become free from it. You are the Space from which all stories arise, and so you are no longer caught by any stories.
And from that Space that is far beyond your ego, do the only thing you can do, the thing that only you can do- let your actions and words to “go high.” Let them arise spontaneously from that Space of freedom, in this moment.
May your next act be one of love, peace and blessing- amein v’amein.