I commit to you.December 3, 2016 | 2 Comments
From the November 21 Open Heart Project newsletter, some resources for those who may be struggling with fear and confusion post-election.
Hello dear meditators.
This week’s newsletter is a little different because this last week in the USA has been, um, a little different. I have heard from so many of you who are confused, fearful, sad, and/or angry about the outcome of our recent Presidential election. (If this is not you, no need to read any further! Please just use the video to get right to your practice. That is never a bad thing.)
For those of you who are struggling, this newsletter contains a variety of resources I created in the last week in an effort to help.
For starters, I am re-sending last week’s video, “On Compassion,” because at this moment nothing, nothing is more important than finding a way back to our hearts so that we may take care of ourselves, others, and our world. Please repeat it as often as you like. Turning our hearts toward others is actually the most sane and balancing gesture we can make in the midst of confusion.
This is an article I wrote for Lion’s Roar magazine on November 9, “Five Things to Remember Post-Election” and this is a video I made a few days later to explain these concepts further.
On the evening of November 9, I gave a talk to 250 meditators in Washington, D.C. In it, I guided us in a loving kindness meditation in which we offered our hearts to ourselves first, and then to a loved one, a stranger, an enemy, to all who voted the same way we did, for all who voted in opposition, and finally for our entire country. The phrases we used were “May you be happy. May you be safe. May you feel at home in your country.” I also discussed the power and potency of heartbreak as a healing force.
If there is one thing I have come back to over and over while reflecting on my own practice and in the many conversations I’ve had with you in the last 10 days, it is this: We have a job to do.
Our practice has never been more important. Far more than a simple self-help technique, it is a source of wisdom, compassion, and power. I hope you have seen this in your own meditation. (If you haven’t, you will!) Your mind becomes sharper. Your heart becomes softer. Attunement to the world around you becomes more refined. These are essential skills as we go forward and we must protect them.
For many of us, the world has flip-flopped. While we all hope for a quick return to normalcy, we are in a very unsettled time right now. This period may end tomorrow or it may last for quite some time. Regardless of your politics, there is a feeling of uncertainty, fear…and also hope. Long-simmering resentments, hatreds, and prejudices are coming into focus. While it is frightening, it also presents an opportunity for transformation.
These are the questions I invite us each to ask ourselves:
Can we put aside prejudice to reconnect with others, even those with whom we disagree?
Can we transform fear into friendship?
Can we stop living for ourselves alone and live for the betterment of the world we share?
Can we undertake all of this, not as a punishment, but as a source of joy?
From the bottom of my heart, I believe that we can. I am equally certain that none of this will be accomplished through policies, politics, or war. While I will fight to my last breath for fair policies, honest politics, and peace on earth, the unavoidable truth is that if we hate and fear each other, no long-term solution will stick. So while we must work in the short-term for all we believe in—and I do believe that forces of goodness will prevail—we must also invest in solutions that create sustainable goodness otherwise it will all fall apart again for our children or grandchildren.
It all comes down to two things:
- The ability to steady our own minds so that fear and rage don’t control us, and
- The willingness and capacity to extend ourselves to others in friendship even when it seems impossible to do so.
Though it is a long path, it is also a simple one. We can create the foundation for inner peace by the way we think. We create peace around us when we open our hearts with courage. I have absolutely no doubt in this.
The modality for achieving all of this is called meditation. It is a daily reinvestment in the clarity and sanity we need to meet our world with fierceness and gentleness. In my lifetime, this skill has never been more important.
Because of all of this, I recommit to you and to the OHP. My motivation and inspiration have never been stronger and I will do everything in my power to support you and to continue to make this practice available to everyone.
PS Join me by becoming a meditation teacher yourself! Our Meditation Instructor certification course begins January 21st. Early bird pricing ends today. There is more about this unique online course here.
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categorized in: fighting without aggression, meditation, open heart project, teaching
Great post. I learn’t about loving kindness meditation last year, but only started using it on a (fairly) regular basis.
Its a great techinique for compassion, and helps you choose a better state for consciousness, which in turn, will help your body and physical world.
Thanks for posting