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The World as WE Are

Nothing will change until we look inward.

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When you get serious about any spiritual practice, there comes a moment when you don’t want to do it anymore. It’s just too hard. That’s when it’s most important to keep going.

The debate. That infamous debate that left most of the Democrats I know feeling completely hopeless. On the one hand, a cruel, narcissistic tyrant. On the other, a good man cut off at the knees by age — at a time when our very survival as a country depends on it. We wring our hands. He must step down! Or, we have to stand by him, because it’s too late!

This is an opportunity for us to check our internal workings.I’m dead serious.Stop. Look at our own minds.

There is a quote attributed to Anaïs Nin, and it sure nails what I’m trying to say right now:“We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.”

In this moment of desperate scrambling for power, rumblings of another Civil War, predictions that the rule of law is crumbling…let’s take a look at how we’re seeing the world, and what it means about who we are.

Trump. There’s no way that’s who I am. Absolutely no way.

Only…let me sit still for a minute and consider this.He makes sweeping, completely baseless statements.

Have I really never done this?

Didn’t I just say, the other day, “Republicans are in lockstep with this dictator. They’re scared of having an original thought. Everyone’s terrified to call him on his bullshit.”

These statements don’t hold up under scrutiny. They’re just repetitions of what I get from my preferred media sources. But they are not The Truth.

There are many Republicans who are horrified by his behavior. Take Liz Cheney, for instance. And there’s the Lincoln Project, a prominent anti-Trump super PAC run by Republican operatives. Not everyone on that side is terrified to call it like they see it.

Former Vice Presidents Dick Cheney, and Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly…man, the list is so long I’ll just have to send you here.

Anyway, this is to illustrate that I saw Trump not as he is, but as I am. I made a sweeping statement about ‘Republicans’ that wasn’t true, and I didn’t care.

I’m not a felon or an insurrectionist. But I have done and said really stupid, unconscious things. It’s important to remember this. To understand that I’m looking at things through a very distorted lens. To grok that I don’t have the whole picture, not by a long shot.

And Biden. So much sadness and disappointment as I watched his performance. Political opportunities were handed to him on a platter at the debate — opportunities he mumbled through, missed, squandered. And our future with them.

But is that really what happened? Or is that who I am?

Am I the brilliant arbiter of striking while the iron is hot? Are there no opportunities that I have missed or squandered? Um, yeah. There are plenty of them. Really big ones. In the moment that I am shaking my head at the TV, I’m looking at Biden through the lens of my own loss and ineptitude. And from that viewpoint, it’s much easier to blame him for dropping the ball than to pick it up myself in my own life and sink the 3-pointer I wish he’d made.

My point is we have to look inward at ourselves and notice that our own vision is blurred. And to the extent that we see division and conflict, know for a fact that it lives in us. It is inside us first. And because of that, we see it in the world.

Mother Teresa said, “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”

We have to learn to love our ‘family.’ Which starts with loving ourselves, and the partial, imperfect, distorted ways in which we see the world. We have to acknowledge the Grand Canyons of what we don’t know. We have to remember with compassion that we all believe things that may or may not be true, and that doesn’t make us terrible. It just makes us look like bad people to those who don’t believe those same things.

All of this begins and ends with compassion. It’s the only thing that will usher us into a state of awareness where no one is outside our capacity for love.

I know. Bold words.

But they’re the ones I like best.

Have to start somewhere. This is my starting line.


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