Yesterday, at the end of my post, I talked about how the issues with DT are affecting me.
Today, I had breakfast with my guru (she blushes when I call her this) Corinne Peterson. http://www.corinnepeterson.com. My intension for our discussion was to hear her thoughts on how it seems that everyone is trying to find a sense of solid ground – but also really want to have a feeling of being able to do something about their discontent.
Here are some of her comments and my thoughts which were generated by our get together. Many are also based on our current readings in:
We are trying to deal with the daily difficult behavior of the current "he is not my" POTUS; and why his behavior, attitude, decisions, actions, etc are causing me such grief and such feelings of helplessness. It is difficult to know how to think about him let alone know what to do about our feelings and/or how to go about letting our voices of dissent be heard.
She commented from a yoga point of view, I thought in terms of Buddhism, and most religions speak to the issue as well; "the more we can get in touch with our own internal landscape – deeply listening to our emotional responses, beliefs, etc.; they can inform us, giving us direction on the next actions to take. This way our responses are deeply authentic. The Bhagavad Gita is also a great source of wisdom: We take action, honoring those inner callings, regardless of the outcome (which is always unknown anyway.)"
She asked me what about him and his "doings" did I think most upset me. My reply included feeling that in addition to his poor, self serving, in my opinion; actions and decisions; that his blatant lies, manipulation, "gas lighting," and "alternative facts," have created a situation in the world unlike any other before. He goes about it in a way that is unnerving and leaves me not knowing how to think about and/or deal with those "doings."
He goes about his decision making in a way that clouds me from seeing any good that may come of it. A secondary feeling is that his lies and manipulation are so obvious, how can anyone not see through him and why do they still support him? What does this say about some of my fellow Americans and about our country's governance?
In high school, I remember being taught in "Civics" not to believe everything I read or heard: whether in books, newspaper, radio, or T.V. Now we are not only exposed to how rampant the "Fake News" has been but how it has been used against us by way of manipulation and gas lighting us to the point of not knowing what is true and what is false and/or how to tell the difference.
The ground under my feet has felt as though it is shaking, crumbling. Up until now, government (even if erroneously) has given me the feeling of stability with the balance of powers and checks making it alright. Now I worry that the constitutional purpose of those three branches of government might fail. I cannot find a place of peace or distance from the chaos that is the DT reign and the potential dangers that lie ahead.
With all the progress it felt that we have been making in the area of world peace, civil rights, woman's rights, LGBTQ issues, immigration, etc; I was most likely lulled into a false sense of security that things would always improve and that those changes would last forever.
"Do you think," Corinne asked, "that your sense of instability comes from being reminded of the Buddhist belief that reality is always changing and shifting? That you do not go to bed the same person you were when you woke up?"
This reminded me that at the basic level your body's cells are dying and rebuilding themselves. You are growing and changed based on the day's experiences?
Also, there is the belief that most situations are "empty," they just are! They are not necessarily right or wrong until we make a judgement about them? That an idea or belief is "real" from our point of view but perhaps not from the next person's point of view and not necessarily interpreted in the same way? That our judgements can be based on personal bias and with the ability to "listen" and to gain more information, they may change? That our judgements might be made on faulty or incomplete information? That over time, facts do change when elucidated?
Perhaps my "suffering" (as the word is used in Buddhist discussions,) is because I am being reminded that nothing is ever permanent and my trying to hold on to the illusion of permanence is to blame for my feelings? Everything is changing all the time, and life is impermanent?
My struggles have been trying to make sense out of the nonsense that probably has always existed but currently is so flagrant. I had come to expect and accept things to meet my reality and currently Trump is redefining that reality. I am having to rethink it for myself and how I want to be involved. My struggles have been causing me grief as I try to make sense of nonsense.
So where do I go from here? I must decide where I am coming from and act out of love. That is what should motivate my actions no matter what the U.S. and/or world situation. I need to decide what matters to me and work out how I can make a difference in ways that I am able.
I cannot change DT, time will take care of that and hopefully the damage he does. I cannot see the good that might come out of his actions no matter how "bad" they seem but most likely there will be some good and I must really work on looking for the good!
One good thing is that already it feels like there is a renewed energy on many fronts in having an opinion, taking action, speaking out, protesting against what we feel are bad decisions, and protesting in favor of ones we believe are right. It seems so strong again, like the Vietnam era, when protest was everywhere and it felt good to be vocal and to express one's opinions.
Perhaps people will not be as complacent with "things as they" are but rather re-establish a close look at "things as we believe they should be." Perhaps it will cause us to listen to those people on the other side to see why they are unhappy or feeling left out. Perhaps we each need to review our own biases: nationalism, racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, etc.
I cannot somehow magically change the world by myself and bring it back to where it was but I can be part of the whole. I cannot let the changes and discomfort of the present situation cause me to feel helpless and to suffer but I can grow in awareness of what I am feeling the way I am.
I can recognize that things right now are out of control, that DT and the government will make some changes I dislike, that I can ride the change and hold on to my self respect and opinions as well at to be open to changing my beliefs as necessary.
I can hold on to the belief that most people are basically good and will raise to the occasion as necessary, as can I.