This past month has presented me with many new opportunities to practice deeply the virtue of Loving Kindness. With the tremendous outpouring of expression in the USA’s political arena, it is easy to get triggered, especially when I strongly disagree with words and actions from those who support the current President of the United States (POTUS).
Particularly, I am focusing on being capable of an appropriate response to the other’s views and opinions, without my response being imbued with resentment or judgement. In responding, I wish for my words to be accurate, simple, and, well ... kind. I do not find this easy. I find that when I read something, the initial response of “omg” arises and it takes me time to allow that to pass through so that I can clearly, and calmly, respond with a different perspective. It’s important to remember that the perspectives are different; that is all. I have to remind myself that this other human being is the same as me, wanting happiness, safety, security, and love. Their approach to attaining that is different than mine; but the goal is the same. (Sounds like religion, doesn’t it?)
Allow me to give you an example. A POTUS supporter I know posted this:
“What? So there was a Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 two years before Trump? There was a kind of “Muslim ban” before the Muslim ban? But almost no one critiqued it in 2015 because it was Obama’s administration overseeing it.”
They go on to say:
“Because mainstream media has been purposely lying, either due to ignorance or because of unwillingness to read the document and ask questions and because they are too ready to accept “facts” without investigating. “
And continues to blame the media for siding with Obama and being against Trump.
When I read this, it felt like a tirade that was filled with attack energy. I really had to stop myself from getting pulled into that energy, and it took me a whole day to respond. I thought about not responding at all ... the ol’ “just let it go” tactic. But that didn’t seem right, doesn’t seem right, in today’s environment. Somehow we must be able to respond, to discuss, to even debate if necessary so that we can all co-create a world in which we acknowledge and respect each other’s opinions, and continue to hold to the highest regard that we are all human beings in search of peace and happiness.
I wanted my response to be measured, accurate, and gentle, not laden with a combative energy. So I finally wrote this:
“Perhaps it is because the TTP Act of 2015 was not unconstitutional and did not indiscriminately ban legal citizens from re-entering their country on return travel from their homelands. "When President Trump enacts laws or executive orders that are unconstitutional or illegal, the courts are there to defend everyone's rights." ~ ACLU executive director”
I share this today simply as a means to encourage all of us to double check ourselves before letting our fingers fly on the keyboard. It’s all to easy to lash out, hit back, and throw ourselves into combat. It’s another thing to “boldly go where few have gone before” and use our power of discernment, logic, reason, compassion and kindness to appropriately discuss the issues that we face.
When someone posts like this: “PLEASE CK DATE & NAME OF POTUS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, literally screaming at you in cyberspace script, take a breath, sip your coffee, remind yourself that this is another human being who just wants to be safe, secure and happy, before you respond. And find a way to be kind and gentle (and accurate) in your response. I do encourage you also to respond.
May all beings be blessed with kindness, always. May your practice be filled with ease and grace!
Read more about practicing kindness here.
I just finished reading a wise and brilliant article by one of the most preeminent peace makers of our time, Thich Nhat Hanh. The link to the full article is below. There is something about just reading his words that calms inner fire and settles the mind.
I know whenever we read anything, each person takes away something different, something that speaks most to whatever concern, issue or question is on their mind. For me, the take away from this article is the incredibly important necessity of being capable of thinking before speaking, and of contemplating before taking action. In addition, the need to choose actions that are fueled by selfless compassion and the wish to be of benefit to others are vital for inner and outer peace.
I hope your day gives you time and space to read this article. May 2017 be blessed with kind and gentle opportunities to discover the peace within.
Click the picture to go to the full article, "Listening Deeply for Peace" at LionsRoar website.
(Photo by Brenkee.)