Nov. 6th 2018 America has ED… Election Day :) It’s happening folks! Our time to shine has arrived. Today as citizens we can literally stand for our beliefs.
Today is the day, have you voted?
I voted early because it’s simply the thing to do. I mean, who wants to risk standing in line for 4-6 hours desperately trying to avoid a political discussion. You know what I mean. We only tend to open up when we know the other person is “on our side” right? Or is that just me? Nah? Yeah, I didn’t think so..
So why are we EPICALLY divided? I have a few yogi insights to share with you that might help shift some perspectives on your fellow American and how we can come together rather than tear [each other] apart.
It just so happened that I grew up in a southern conservative family. Conservative talk radio was a given on car rides and at home. With this influence, as well as influence from my family, I was told what to believe, what was right, what was wrong, and FU*K anyone who was wrong, they weren’t a true American! That is true to form context for the sentiment that ran through my family.
It took me years to actually form my own ideas, thoughts, and opinions. I left home to attend school and my first roommate was black and gay (so of course I already “knew” what to think of him… ) Luckily I never developed the vitriol of my mother’s side of the family. I held their beliefs but I was also accepting of others. Now I say: “thank goodness for that roommate!”
After leaving my home environment, through travel, education, spending time with cultures all around the world, and most importantly observing them, I began to measure what I was experiencing with the beliefs that had been baked into me since childhood. What I saw didn’t always align with what I “knew”. This long process of becoming my own person helped to loosen the conditioning from my childhood environment. Environment is a very important factor. Textbook coming of age, right?
The door to my past beliefs fell off its hinges when the light of yoga entered my life. This journey has (and continues to) evolve my perspective in many ways and has ultimately lead to my current state of conscious awareness. An awareness of the matrix of human habits, patterns, and conditioning that make all the gears turn in our major societies.
Consider the climate of the political environment today: What we see on the news and read in our newsfeeds. One of three things are happening to you…
You are hearing or reading exactly what you want. Confirming your own biases and prejudice (You know, those aren’t bad, they’re just words.)
You are reacting and getting triggered by anything that doesn’t align with what you “know”. Said differently, anything that challenges your current belief system.
You are like me: and you laugh, with a tinge of compassion, at all the anger, frustration, and THE DRAMA. This is the distraction… The “right or wrong”.
Be like #3 and rise above the drama!
OK let’s do this…
Let me give you a personal example. When my dad realized I did not vote the way he assumed I would, in alignment with his beliefs. To be fair to my father (FYI: we love and respect each other dearly), he’s nothing like the ignorance and blindness that my mother’s side of the family exhibited (May they rest in peace!). But alas! he was very upset at how I cast my vote, and the resulting (one sided argument) ensued:
Dad: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? WHY?
Me: Because that person aligns more with what I believe in than the other.
And then dad began to quote lines from a campaign commercial (I’d seen as well). I called him out…
I asked questions, cool as a cucumber…
“Did your hear that in a commercial?” “and who do you think funded that?”
“Might that have been taken out of context?”
“Do you think they wanted you to think a certain way?”
“Define what you mean by that, do you think that’s what the other person meant too?”
So what happened? Dad got triggered (a fancy word for emotionally invested) and for him it immediately became an issue of “what’s wrong and what’s right with the world” - through his limited perspective. I, on the other hand, was not triggered (yogi superpowers) and began asking him to defend his position of attacking me for my choice. Why? To understand. Did he actually formulate his own beliefs or had they been funded by campaign dollars? So to speak.
Before long he had exhausted his offensive and opted not to “argue it any longer” even though I had only asked questions.
[ Note: For most this would be a big deal, for us it is another chapter in our relationship. We accept each other. I am so grateful for what we share as father and son!]
I see so many people suffering over this “right vs wrong” mentality. IT IS ALL EGO. This is how imbalanced ego works: “I am right and if we disagree you must be wrong. I’m gonna let you know that you’re wrong; so I can feel right.”
This out of control ego has us IMMEDIATELY trying to defend our “beliefs” and make the other person wrong. It is ABSURD, and hilarious at times.. it is on display everywhere! Media has become a disease. If we aren’t listening to the things we like to hear “what’s right” we are combating “what’s wrong”.
Is there a solution? Hell yes there is!
Deep Breath and listen
We as a country are so deprived of LISTENING. Everyone wants to defend their piece and so instead of listening, they immediately begin thinking of what they’ll say next. Sound familiar? Yes we all do that. Listening is a practice. It is the antidote to all this poison. People want to be heard and if you can listen and reflect back to them, then the truth will prevail. Every time.
Example: Dad didn’t want to continue fighting me because he began to realize quickly how superficial his talking points were (pretty much the contents of one or two campaign ads) AND that can’t withstand LISTENING for very long, whereas me arguing with him would just add fuel to the fire.
CURIOSITY IS THE ANTIDOTE TO JUDGEMENT
That is my favorite saying, because it is so true. Think about how expansive and wondrous curiosity is! There can be no judgment. It’s light and dark.
In conclusion (There could be much more said, ask me if you are curious and want to discuss further!)
Disconnect from the noise… It’s time to let go of “Right vs. Wrong”
Understand yourself first: Where are your beliefs rooted? Have you ever questioned them? Ever searched contrary evidence?
LISTEN: to others rather than trying to prove yourself right. If you notice yourself “winding up for the pitch” take a nice smooth deep breath and acknowledge that only listening will yield meaningful progress in this situation.
Be humble to other perspectives. At the end of the day you and I are only one of about 7.5 billion people. We have limited perspectives. Understanding ourselves better will also yield more perspectives.
If you think your one vote counts, rethink how you make your impact! Your vote, and more importantly your volition to vote, certainly does count. Your actions however, they count far more. In our capitalist system, nothing counts more than how you VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLAR. So if you want to see the change you believe, better to put your money where your mouth is.
I’ll leave it there.