I am writing this on Tuesday. It is a big election day in the U.S., after many exhausting and often horrifying undignified campaigns. I am writing this not knowing the outcome of the various races and propositions that so many care so passionately about.
This is not a political post. Politics divide. Divisions kill.
This is a post about being a mighty mender, a vulnerable bridge builder, a world-view translator. This is a call to live in the field beyond right doing and wrong doing that Rumi described, and to bring people with you.
Because that is where we need to live right now. And because what we need is to be talking to each other. Every time we shut someone out or down with our opinions and yes, even our facts, we fray and fracture our greatest hope for a sustainable future: the ability to work together.
If we don’t learn to talk to each other, if we don’t stop blaming each other, we are doomed. Do not underestimate this truth.
It starts with you and me. Nobody else is coming to do this work for us. There are no experts to follow. It’s just us, looking at the ways we isolate and convince ourselves we know best, and finding ways to be with those that we don’t understand, that we belittle, that we disparage, and by doing so, opening to meeting each other out beyond right doing and wrong doing, where real change will happen.
Here are a few thoughts on getting the mended going:
- Do not support or participate in any bashing or polarizing, even in your own mind. This is much, much harder than it sounds. Every time we reinforce our own world view, we miss opportunities to mend.
- Do not proselytize, even to your friends. Use that energy to zip your lips and listen to “the other” or to take quiet sustained action on what you care about. Now that is a bit harder than just talking, isn’t it? We don’t need any more hot air in the world (could global warming be exacerbated by pontificating? Hmmm…)
- Look for the wisdom in the other. It is so comforting to stay attached to what we know. But what if the “other” had something to teach you? Can you entertain this idea when you read a profile of someone you loath or sit down to dinner with your uncle Henry at Thanksgiving?
- Do not overwhelm others who disagree with you with your brilliance. It feels good to preach but it only creates one more person who feels shut out and thus will be less open to learning about what you hold dear. Instead, be a loving lighthearted teacher, an ambassador, for what you care about.
- Bless everyone. John ODonohue writes in To Bless the Space Between Us, “I believe each of us can bless. When a blessing is invoked, it changes the atmosphere. Some of the plentitude flows into our hearts from the invisible neighborhood of loving kindness. In the light and reverence of blessing, a person or situation becomes illuminated in a completely new way.
- Speaking of loving kindness, do metta for the people you deem insufferable. Here is a simple metta how-to.
- Give up thinking you know what is best or how things will turn out. You don’t. I don’t. Nobody does. Take action on what you care about, then put your feet up and watch a funny movie. I loved Pitch Perfect.
Your work, should you choose to accept it, is to be a mighty mender, to bring us together in the field beyond right-doing and wrong-doing. It’s vital work, perhaps the most vital of our time. Thank you for accepting the invitation.