Everyone today has some kind of stance on our upcoming presidential election—whether they’re Canadian or Russian or whether they are Americans who dislike all the candidates.
I too have a stance, though perhaps it’s somewhat different than those of others: I am curious to know how, depending on who is elected, our personal and collective spiritual growth will be affected.
Neither of the two frontrunners has a clear vision of what they’d like the country to look like, although the Republican candidate’s vision certainly feels more tangible as it plays into the fears of many people who believe they have been let down by dysfunctional governance—or lack of governance—and by a system that has eroded traditional livelihoods.
The other candidate feels as if she’s a kind of placeholder, a double or an understudy in a national drama and we’re just waiting for the lead actor to show up and take her place.
The Walking Wounds
But who wrote this script?
We’ve based it mostly on our reactions to what we hear, through various media and media personnel, who have their own interests, as well as on our utter lack of collective vision.
When I say collective vision, I mean an overarching idea of who we’d like to be and where that being might carry our doing.
I also empathize with our country: We are still so young and it can hard, while growing up, to see with crystal clarity what is needed, not only at the present, but into the future. We have lots of wounds—those we ourselves inflict, but also those of others who came before and which we re-enact.
If I look carefully at the frontrunners, I see in them a similar sense of stuckness that I used to feel. I see it because it’s been part of my chosen modus operandi. They are stuck in different ways, but both are stuck. One repeatedly offers the same set of moves that play to fears; the other feels stuck in time—a space where women had to adopt, as much as possible, a male mindset and behave like men in order to get anywhere. (I distinguish between male and masculine. Each of us has masculine and feminine aspects whereas male/female are the outward appearance and expression of our gender.)
Some weeks ago, I was really upset with her on that count. Why can’t she take care of herself? I wondered. Why does she work herself into ill health? Why can’t she be a model for others? Then I realized that that behavior was helpful for her generation’s women. And I realized, too, that I have acted the same way far too often, feeling as if I had no choice but “do what you gotta do.” The recognition of my own choosing the same kinds of behavior as she does gave me greater compassion.
Likewise, I wonder how it is the other candidate has lived an apparent lifetime of wounding—wearing his wounds for all to see, acting on them, reacting to them, recreating them—and I’d like to take the running-scared parts of him and envelop those parts in my arms and say softly, You’re safe. You are safe.
That our people are so divided now feels symptomatic of many things: our own personal fragmentation as well as a distractedness for which many blame the media, thereby locating outside themselves the source of their pain, which is, in part, division from Self. At the root of all of it is fear, an abiding fear that stifles vision, that purports to keep us safe while reinforcing itself and allowing to “come true” all that is feared.
I can empathize with the doomsayers on both sides of the frontrunner divide. Some are taking up arms against possible unrest. But taking up arms is an action undertaken in fear. This period is a crescendo—and likely not the last to come—of the choices we’ve set in motion, the ones we are making now, and the ones we’ll make in the days, months and years ahead. We always have choice because we have free will: In every moment, we can choose fear or we can choose love. But the choice is ours.
Election as Inflection
This is election as inflection. Who we choose will symbolize where we stand with respect to our personal and collective evolution. One or the other leading candidates, depending on where we are on our growth curve, may offer a speedier path.
In some ways, we need more speed right now. In other ways, we don’t. If we are caught up in speed because we feel we’re in a race against everyone else to reach some given point—what point?—faster than others, lest there not be enough for us, then that is fear at work. If we are eager to grow spiritually, then perhaps we can use the speediness of the times we are living in to choose instead a measured pace as a way of life, one in which we take time daily to give thanks for all that is, including all we are—for being alive at this time, in this gorgeous Earth and to be able to do the real work, which is mending the separations and divisions that we feel.
I’ve wanted many times in my life to hit a pause button on our national tick-tock, and get everyone listening and then, once they’ve mastered that skill, talking. First, it would be critical to lead people in meditation, so they can hear with great clarity the small, yet ever-present, voice inside, the one that sees them as a being through which something larger, something generous, kind, and loving seeks to emerge. Their true Self, in other words, the unconflicted them who knows it is love and acts only in love.
It does matter who we choose on November 8. But it is just as important to begin to understand that whoever we choose will not solve our issues. It is impossible for any president to solve issues. At best, perhaps he or she can help create the environment where issues can be resolved.
When it comes down to it, it is up to us: elites all, by virtue of the fact that we’ve chosen to be here, in this marvelous place at this time, that we can choose to benefit the growth of our Spirit, that we can choose to let go of the past and previous, outmoded patterns that don’t serve us and allow ourselves to expand into uncharted territory and to go there in love.