From POLITICS to PEACE through the understanding of an ancient PEACE symbol.
The definition of peace is “freedom from disturbance; tranquility”. Unfortunately most of us are not living in peace on social media, especially if our attention is consistently in the external world. Just take a ride through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and you can get really far from PEACE in seconds. Everyone is vying for your fearful attention that something is unjust, something is unfair, something is wrong and if you are not concerned about it, doing something about it, commenting your agreement about it or stressing over it, you are not a caring person, you are racist, you hate the planet, you are a democrat or a republican (depends on the issue), you kill babies, you don’t kill babies and on and on and on.
The other day I actually saw a post that President Trump is the cause of California earthquakes. On the other side, I remember a crazy post years earlier that President Obama had ordered the federal government to use drones to identify vegetable gardens so that they could tax gardeners, since the government was losing sales tax since people were not buying vegetables in the supermarket. I kid you not. Wow! what a seductive dance to steal your mind and your soul of calm. Every negative article, every fear mongering headline is a well designed drug to draw you in to the addiction of the external drama of life. For me, when something comes down the facebook feed, as an empath, I see the world beyond the facade of fear and dysfunction of an addiction to beliefs that have defined so many people into differences. What I see is a bunch of personalities in body suits of armor trying to protect their beliefs, hoping that will make them safe, accepted and loved. Unfortunately by taking sides this divides us into concentration camps of intolerance of each other.
I would like to propose a different approach, and explanation as to why we do this from a spiritual perspective and how to take wisdom and turn it into steps toward peace.
The Chinese speak of the world as a playground of the manifestation of the yin and yang energies. Yin is feminine and Yang is masculine. It is two ways of looking at the world yet both concepts have the potential to become destructive and aggressive. Countries can be in the grips of yang just like we have been for the last hundred years with wars and conflict, but because the universe is designed to balance everything, Yin will eventually appear. The sixties was a reaction to the extreme Yang. Yin appeared with the women’s cause and other movements based on equality, moving back to balance. At that time, more empathy was prevalent as we started to care about those with disabilities, the mentally compromised, and a greater openness to spirituality and eastern ideas of meditation. Self-help books flourished. With the loosening of things, structures began to be more open, yet this created a lack of discipline and our families became less focused on morals and are now more permissive. The loss of structure caused chaos since we did not feel an obligation to courtesy or respect for others as we were “finding ourselves”. This was a fall into an extreme.
At this time on our planet we are now unconsciously hurling ourselves into the extreme of Ying. This feminine symbol is about being open and receiving. Yang, to the contrary, is more closed and disciplined and less receiving. Yang in the extreme says let’s close the borders and do not let anyone in, or let’s go grab a bunch of land and then build a wall, whereas the extreme of Yin says no borders at all. Now, it feels nice and cozy and right to say that we want to help others and not deny those who want a better life to come on in, but the problem is the potential of way too many people deciding to come to the United States border which would result in an extreme of Yin and eventual chaos. We usually get to one extreme of Yin or Yang because of a lack of wisdom and awareness.
So, the latest play of political correctness is really a path to extremism. What was good and necessary is now in the grip of rhetoric as we are judging others as extremely right or wrong. Yin usually comes in with compassion and often guilty energy for previous Yangs but if you go too far into the receiving mode, you will end up again in facism with an authoritarian rule where compassion is sacrificed to a faceless and unaccountable government that rules everything in your life. Compassion is great, but you need awareness for it to be effective. Too much Yang, you also end up in facism where there are no rights to own anything individually, everything is part of a collective communism ruled by an authoritarian leader and elites who know better than you and will decide what is good for you. So both yin and yang in the extremes can get you to the loss of freedom and individual rights.
To be a spiritual citizen in balance with the Yin and Yang be careful that you do not confuse another persons mental position as who they are and create an enemy. The ego loves to define others as an enemy. Conduct your conversations without seeing the other person as someone you are against. Realize that those in the extremes are deeply unconscious, caught up in a whirlwind of enemies and hate. Going too far, you might find yourself there. If you are going to react, be sure that you are not coming from a place of anger as that is feeding unconsciousness. You just may become what you are fighting against. An example of this is when people join a resistance movement based on hate for others beliefs and they begin to attack others which then leads to taking a key to a car with a bumper sticker they do not like, an attempt to physically hurt them or trash them on social media, which then turns into ruining their reputation online, which then turns into marching in the streets with like minded people who convince you that smashing windows in buildings is a noble cause and so on and so on. When this happens we have the potential for turning ourselves into the extremism we are against.
Without wisdom, you can fall into the polarities of Yin and Yang, A good reminder is that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and most people are good and decent and want a peaceful world but we need to be careful to not get drawn into the extremes. To be aware is to not be reactive which contributes to the polarity in the world. A good politician is one who has interactions with people who do not have the same beliefs and does not demonize them. Demonizing half of a population contributes to unconsciousness.
Make the attempt to express your views of the world in a loving and kind way without judging the views of others. It is important as a human being to have empathy for those who are in poverty or victims of racism or sexism but if fixing it means the breakdown of being civil and decent then we are are again, feeding a dragon mouth that is spewing fire and hate. There are people who are in rage about their ideas and often it is hard to know how to respond, but if we come from a place of patience we will always find ourselves on a foundation of peace. If we are advocates of our causes, we must do so out of love for the cause, not hate for “others”.
When you find yourself reacting to something, look within and ask yourself why? Go beyond the reaction. Do not identify yourself with taking a position. As it is expressed in Zen “stop cherishing your opinions”. Now you can certainly have an opinion but don’t identify with it, meaning resisting other’s opinions. Instead just allow it to be their opinion. By resisting you simply make it stronger and the person more agitated. Try arguing with someone on social media and you will see how futile that is. Sometimes people’s opinions will dissolve when they are not resisted because they need the resistance to strengthen them. “Why not say, I get it, that is how you think and that is okay with me.” As opposed to “how can you be so stupid to think like that?”, “You must be a bad person to think like that”, “you must hate animals, people of all colors and Peter pan” and on and all. All these type of responses have passed through the filter of an ego on steroids.
Embrace the unknown. Whenever people encounter the unknown, the first reactions are fear, blame and anger. So when the world is unpredictable we can get messy and ugly with our reactivity. When the Dalai Llama was asked about the election of Donald Trump as President he said “I have no worries, I am looking forward to seeing the new President” and that was it. Not the sky is falling and the stock market will crash and the world is coming to an end. Extremism again.
So how do we improve the quality of our consciousness. We need to go back to the theory of NOW. In the present moment there is no agenda and no opinion. When we are fervently against something we are in the depths of ego which is attached to the past and worried about the future. We cannot fix anything with hatred as it simply causes more hatred. Better to engage in some mindful breathing, talk a walk and allow stillness to prevail. Accept the present moment as it is and see what it shows us, we may learn something or at least be more aware. A step toward wisdom. Again, take the time to see what you are FOR, not AGAINST. If you are enlightened you are normally not caught up in politics, as Ego is what entices you into that world. You need to know how far to go and not over analyze what you view is a crisis.
Take for example global warming. If you take it too far you limit the capacity for debate and reconsideration and instead you see the opposition as a nuisance and a global terrorist and the conversation stops. We then develop a paranoia about the devious plans of others and lose ourselves in an opinion based on panic not reason and a lack of wisdom.
Stay away from articles that fuel your hate and fear about someone or something. If you see something on social media that starts your blood to boil either for or against, take a deep breath. Do some searching on line to see first, is it true? second who is the source? and third go to the source of the information and get it first hand not through a liberal or conservative filter. You will be pleasantly surprised to find out it is not what it seemed, consider the source.
Our evolutionary goal is to raise our consciousness, a term we hear all the time. But what does it really mean in a nutshell? What I believe it means is to become the observer of life. It is when you have a debate with the voice in your head about politics and not with your best friend on Facebook. When you have arisen above your thoughts and that you are just a being in an experience and you lower the stakes that the ego has created and you can find yourself in peace with all of it. You escape the crowd which is stuck in the ego’s grip. When we modify our response to the collective we do not add to it, we instead bring the light to it. Crisis may occur and more turmoil may be on the way, but many times, that is the sign of great things to come.
Peace is just on the other side of your last thought.