Saying NO With Mindfulness in the Trump Era
Written By Christopher Luard
Those of us living in America in the current political climate have been given a rare gift. At this time we are faced with the unique opportunity to come together through compassion, empathy, and understanding.
This can only happen however if we say a resounding, powerful “NO” to either the current administration or those who protest the current administration, and do so without allowing that “NO” to enhance, strengthen, add to, build, or somehow reinforce our sense of “I”. This can be quite challenging to do. Our sense of “I” thrives off of and feeds itself on the sense of “other”.
Our “I” loves the “other” because it is quite dependent on the opposing “other” for its very existence. If we say no or oppose the injustice being forced onto the world through the current White House administration, we may indeed win…but victory will be short lived. Soon an equal and opposite reaction will arise. Just like it has now. No. We must allow the sense of “I am right” and “you are wrong” to dissolve. If we can say “No” from that place, then peace will prevail in the heart of humanity.
How do we say “NO” to this type of insanity without feeling a sense of opposition? Without a sense of right and wrong, good or bad, up or down? Try this: the next time you are watching the news, (social media, radio, however you take in the current events) and you hear or see something you feel to be against the grain of humanity, human rights, human freedoms, etc.. feel what that feels like. Imagine yourself speaking out or protesting against the policy, executive order, bill, or law. Ask yourself “What does this feel like in my body when I protest?” or ‘What does speaking out like this feel like in my mind?” “Is there a unique sensation?” “Is there a color associated with the feelings of saying this resounding “NO!”? These questions are not meant to be answered, but rather, to bring your attention to what it feels like to say “NO!” When you do this, you are looking at the feeling of saying “NO” rather than being the feeling of saying “NO!” Thus, the feelings of protest does not reinforce the ego, because you are looking at the the feelings and protesting from a sense of spacious awareness, (the witness of your body sensations in protest AND the situation) rather than looking at the world through the feelings of protest. By looking squarely AT the feelings of protest, you make those feelings into an object which you, the subject, can witness. When you do this type of practice stories may arise in the mind. Stories like “I don’t see how they can do this…this is so unfair…how can this world be so unjust…etc.” These stories only act to reinforce the ego. The sense of being “Right” and making others “Wrong”. If these types of thoughts arise while looking at the feeling of protest in your mind, heart, and body, then simply let the thoughts go and bring your awareness back to the feelings.
No anger arises in this type of protest. The anger isn’t needed. No justification or defensiveness arises in this type of protest, because we speak from a deeper truth. A truth which needs no defense. If we continue to protest through the structure of the ego, our feelings of resentment, anger, and fear will shade, color, and infuse the world we live in. Our ego thus becomes stronger, and the very force we are fighting against now has the fuel it needs to fight back. If this happens, we will continue to oscillate back and forth between liberalism and conservatism until we destroy ourselves. Through Love, Empathy, Compassion, Equanimity, and Joy we can overcome. Today is a great day for freedom. I hope you will join me.
After studying and practicing meditation for the past 31 years, Christopher is now the director of the Such Sweet Thunder meditation program. Chris teaches from the belief that the practice of meditation can bring about a much needed inner peace and harmony.
Christopher created the meditation school “Such Sweet Thunder” in order to provide authentic meditation instruction in an easy accessible fashion. Without having to join any particular group, religion, temple, church, or belief system. In fact, they way meditation is taught by Chris, it can be used as an accessory to deepen any spiritual tradition or with no spiritual tradition. The meditation outlined in Christopher’s book, also entitled “Such Sweet Thunder”, is found in many of the contemplative traditions, yet he teaches in a completely non-denominational fashion. For more information, please visit www.suchsweetthunder.org