we are the people…

Consider the possibility that this charade of a presidential race may actually be very good news! What else could have pulled back the veil on the hidden inner landscape of America? Could there be a clearer clarion call bringing our attention to the great divide? Were it not for drumpf, no doubt most of us would have continued in our silent schisms unaware of just how polarized we are.

From disgust to disdain to daring, I discovered that by engaging in the “equality practice” outlined below, I can refrain from adding to the harm being proliferated on the planet. I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, but if I’m not careful, I sure as hell can add to it and not in a good way.

venus-by-warholThe practice is like putting on a new pair of glasses, a new perspective begins to emerge. I began by turning my heart towards people who, for whatever reason, have failed to challenge corrosive beliefs, those who are inclined towards “certainty without question” and “contempt prior to investigation.” I felt my heart soften as I pondered the idea that some of us may inherit a DNA of disdain from our ancestors for people that don’t share our worldview. At a  minimum, we all have our biases. I began to weep. Not for anyone in particular but for the magnitude of prayer and practice that stretches out ahead of us.

Because love trumps hate…

  • We the people can step into the shoes of women, Muslim, people of color, LGBTQ, or any number of other maligned and marginalized groups.
  • We the people can feel into what it would be like to be an American of another persuasion. As a woman, I can feel into what it would be like to be a frightened little boy inside of a big white guy.
  • We the people can let go and step out of whatever bubble we find ourselves in and begin to “see” with a wide angle lens.
  • We the people can ask ourselves how we can be so vehemently opposed to others simply because they don’t share our particular values, after all America was supposed to be a melting pot.
  • We the people can open our hearts and doors wide and allow for a radically diverse conversation.
  • We the people can allow others their perspective while honoring our own.

Equality Practice

Equality practice is a way of connecting with others and realizing that you and they are in the same boat. It is a simple human truth that everyone, just like you, wants to be happy and to avoid suffering. Just like you, everyone else wants to have friends, to be accepted and loved, to be respected and valued for their unique qualities, to be healthy and to feel comfortable with themselves. Just like you, no one else wants to be friendless and alone, to be looked down upon by others, to be sick, to feel inadequate and depressed.

The equality practice is simply to remember this fact whenever you meet another person. You think, “Just like me, she wants to be happy; she doesn’t want to suffer.” You might choose to practice this for a whole day, or maybe for just an hour or fifteen minutes. I really appreciate this practice, because it lifts the barrier of indifference to other people’s joy, to their private pain, and to their wonderful uniqueness.

The Equality Practice is from Tonglen: The Path of Transformation, by Pema Chödrön

think on this and love, Rees