In light of recent events, I have been asking-
What are my implicit biases around gender, race, age and nationality?What are yours?
How are they affecting our discernment, and our ability to receive the gifts of those who we disagree with?
These are the questions I myself am sitting with and hope you will too. Last week I went in for an interview for US citizenship. After 19 years of living here, I will be granted the right to vote. The man who granted me this right was a Mexican immigrant, spoke with a Mexican accent, and represented the USCIS.
It was beautiful. In him, was the reminder that I will be just as much a citizen as anyone else. First, second or two hundredth generation Americans are all just that- American. And the law of a land must include and nurture all those who dwell in it- the Tao names this beautifully- IF we wish to create harmony. There are plenty of ways not to.
I have been mourning the sad state of this nation and this divisive politik that wants to get the worst in us.
I know what it’s like to come to a new land without 300 years of my ancestors living here before me- the loneliness, the hope, the despair, the fear of losing the life I have created on a single employer or govt officer’s whim. I know the pain of not being able to call home home, not knowing whether to buy real furniture because my visa may expire in a year.
And through this all, I know the incredible gifts of the Divine- I know what it is to integrate polarities of two divergent cultures within myself, bringing the best of each together, in new beautiful ways.
My family lives on four continents, and my children will be children of an immigrant and my God! I hope they protest louder than I have, calling for reform where reform must happen, because they’ll belong here in ways I am only just about to.
I know the immigrant story from the inside- and I assure you it is not the narrative of entitlement, America hating, self-serving drama we are often sold on the news.
Like wholeness comes from wholeness, trauma perpetuates trauma.
No amount of meditation or immersion in silence clears that out unless we’re truly willing to look in the mirror honestly, take responsibility for the ways in which we ourselves (each and every one of us) perpetuate pain inside and outside and sit with the unbearable within us rather than projecting it outwards, and of course, invite our own pain to be seen, known, lovingly held and transformed.
I content the era of the “power over” strong-handed authoritarian leader is coming to an end, and for that matter, I sense this may be the last time two white men in their 70’s are running this race.
A different reality is taking shape. Like a dying animal you can hear it going out with a scream.
Trump may well be re-elected as many people say (I don’t know), but that re-election is going to bring its own demise.
Even as I feel the collective cry for coherence, I do not think this country is ready to receive it just yet. For as Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev noted, “for a Buddha to rule the world, we must have Buddhas to recognize, and elect one.”
No. I do not think either candidate is the Buddha, but I can see the humanity of both- their failings and their goodness, through the veil. I hope you can too.
When (very soon) I am granted the right to vote, I will use it to elect the man who reflects power, not dominance, models empathy, compassion and humility, and has dedicated his life to serving our nation.
And that would be me doing my part.