The Morning After

I’ll share my first thought about the election results later. I went to sleep before the outcome was clear. I couldn’t watch or listen. I woke up at 2:30, looked at my phone with some dread and saw the headline. Nightmare: President Trump. Needless to say, returning to sleep wasn’t so easy. But the exhaustion of the previous few days took over, thankfully.

Having immersed myself in the consummate dualism of political combat, the superficial definition of the world into binaries for the past few months, I feel a magnificent relief in the recovery of an essential view into the essence of all things. I do not have to be that soldier today. It is no longer who I am. Nevertheless, there is certainly no denying the grave consequences of what has happened. America is not what I thought it was, not what I wish it to be. The setback is almost too much to contemplate. Do I even belong here anymore? I could wrestle with the many questions about what would truly be different if the outcome had been what I preferred. In place of all that, the simple act of refuge normally taken upon entering meditative space becomes an immediate and huge relief.

Taking a more systemic view, what this means is a sharper and more dramatic descent into the collapse that has been on its way for some time. Dark money and foreign forces influenced this election and we will see more of it in the future as power and money become even more concentrated in fewer hands. Women, the elderly, youth and children will be the first and most prominent victims of the decisions that are coming: social safety net programs, health care, educational costs and debt, reproductive choice. We could see the end of Medicare, Social Security, Obamacare, CHIP, a resurgence of institutional racism, sexism, the loss of all the LGBTQ advances, pay equity, EPA regulations, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the extension of offshore oil leases, fracking, the surveillance state, the loss of voting rights, the DAPL, perhaps a reconsideration of the XL pipeline. The list goes on and on.

My first reaction to this news was my most extreme: this could be an extinction event. In the face of climate science, that topic that was never aired in the entire campaign, this pretty much seals the deal. If the president and his new government continue on their beloved path of denial and obstruction, we will never attain the policies that are required to get to the moon, to implement the systemic conditions required to actually and rapidly reduce emissions. In another four-eight years (assuming this government goes about doing whatever is necessary to guarantee its perpetuation) or beyond, we will bake in the collapse of human civilization as we know it. Or worse.

Padmasambhava reminded us to maintain a view as vast as space while making sure that our actions are as fine as barley flour, meaning that in every action take the greatest care to be mindful and express the most profound and meticulous regard for the essential nature of all beings. That can mean deliberately and with the clearest intention extending benefit to the very heart of our profoundly wounded, developmentally delayed sociopathic new president (contemplate Melania as First Lady for a moment) and all of the people who resonated with his demeaning and authoritarian message.

This morning I can only say to myself what may seem like the simplest thing: Be Love. Be an island of love. Be an oasis of love. Stand steadfastly in unwavering commitment to the people you hold most dear, beloveds, family and friends. When an opportunity arises to extend that love a little beyond the boundaries of comfort, take it. There is no greater refuge, nothing more important, nothing better I could do for myself, for this world. Take that stand. Act from there.

6 thoughts on “The Morning After

  1. Thank you Gary. I feel precisely the same way this morning. This evening I am going to Temple where there is a gathering for grieving. After that…an adjusted worldview is needed. I am not in the country I thought I was in. I am asking myself what it means to be an American, whether I am an American or a citizen of some other place, perhaps the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Due to my travels, I believe I have already realized a measure of this sensation of not being tied to a place, but to all places. It is a healthy thing, a softening and illuminating thing, freeing to see and act beyond all boundaries. The more we cultivate this view, the better to counter what has happened here.

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