“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”
~ Joseph Campbell
I’m no political analyst but I don’t think being one is required to be able to recognize the fact that the United States Government is currently undergoing a major turning point and is slowly becoming a fearful abyss in this country.
I believe which political label is being promoted this week has become a moot point, for what I see taking place in Washington DC is but a reflection of the current state of our society as a whole.
This is a human issue.
The current situation is a prime example of the lack of mindfulness and the increasing disconnect of our culture. The desire to practice mindful living needs to extend beyond mere everyday existence to incorporate business, education and, yes, politics.
The three primary groups involved are politicians and their marketing machines, the general populace, and businesses. They are all focused on two major concerns—partial shutdown and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also know as Obamacare.
To start, the Shutdown is not a complete shutdown but only partial, and it is the first to take place since 1996.
However, it is far-reaching. Depending on what one reads, there are 650,000 to 1 million people impacted by the political impasse that created this partial shutdown. Considering the families of the workers, the number could easily double to 2 million. It is the proverbial domino effect, clearly showing that for better or worse, we are all connected.
Similar to preventative action taken with drug addicts, our politicians are in need of a serious intervention to be shuttled off to rehab to recover from their destructive addiction to power – a mindful and soulful rehab.
Next, let’s examine Obamacare, or, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The former is a marketing term created purely for affect. All sides use it to muddy the waters and to create an emotional lightning rod with the general public. The marketing teams are banking on people to not be mindful but rather to be mindless. A similar tactic is used in food-labeling like “gluten-free.” Just because a product has “gluten-free” on the label doesn’t relieve a person from the responsibility of being a consciously-minded consumer
PPACA is a major change. Major, like, not since the late 1960’s has there been something this big. The people creating and passing laws let 40 or more years go by without major adjustments. Hell, even the fast food companies made adjustments over the same period of time. We have a ton of baggage that we must face in regards to the state of our healthcare system.
If it were a relationship, it would be the one where we have been trying to leave but have not overcome our own issues in order to take the next step and walk away. There will be pain. It’s part of the journey.
Our healthcare system is, let’s face it, unhealthy. It needs a dramatic change. If you went to a doctor and they told you that you would die in six months, not able to ever see your friends or family ever again unless you make a drastic change…you would more than likely make that change.
At first, the changes will not be comfortable but you make adjustments along the way. We are in the first days of starting our new meditation practice.
Right now, our collective butts are going to go numb every once in awhile. We just need to adjust and be mindful.
These concerns were not born yesterday or even last year. The problem began a long time ago. We as a country tend to focus on a quick-fix to a problem not realizing that we may need to go back and change the system completely.
Politicians & The Media Machine
“It’s very hard from a distance to figure out who has lost their minds,”
~ Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, quoted in a New York Times article today.
The monkey mind of our government manifests as the political back-and-forth distracts them from breaking down the situation and possible solutions. Democrats, Republicans and the smaller parties all worked together over the course of several decades to bring the country to this point.; by their action and inaction.
If politicians from the past few decades had taken a stand to address major systems like healthcare and education, then we would not be in the situation we are in today. The challenge is to fix how they run politics.
When we have a system where a politician can include “Green Eggs & Ham” in their 21-hour filibuster, you have a system that is not practicing mindfulness of the present and its impact on the future. That’s like spending 21 hours watching the last season of Scandal to get caught up before the new season begin—you are doing something but nothing is really getting done.
The change is welcomed by the general public but would endanger the futures of career politicians, pipelines for new lobbyists and advocates from every special interest group.
From the outside, it appears that politicians focus on the argument of “We’re right and you’re wrong”. It would appear these adults have deeper challenges, like the emotional scars of a child neglected by their parents. They insist on clinging to the need to be 100% right or be always be the winner. To be fair, this same thing happens everyday in cities all across this country at schools, businesses, coffee shops, etc.
Unfortunately, politics in Washington has begun to look something like a segment on TMZ or a reality show. It’s no surprise considering the amount of time the general population spends watching reality TV. We are but reflections of one another.
What if the politicians practiced a little non-attachment and mindfulness?
Try to blame any of the politicians? Remember we voted them into their current positions. By vote, I mean we all participated in the process—or we didn’t. Either way, you voted. By pointing fingers and blaming, we are really pointing the finger at ourselves. We put them in power and then stepped away. We tend to only be mindful when the fear machine is in full gear.
Their actions and the results are reflections of the general population.
This reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad would come home to something broken in the apartment—he would ask the three of us what happened and we would all say, “I don’t know.”
We could blame the media but the media only survives due to eyeballs watching the material they produce. Even elephant journal would not be around if it wasn’t for people reading the articles every month. Be mindful of the full scope, not just the sound bites.
What about the corporations and special interest groups? They have taken over Washington. I promise everyone has a special interest—all three million plus people in the United States.
Where do the corporations get the funding? It doesn’t appear out of thin air.
We vote with our ballots, inaction and our dollars. Are you mindful where you spend your money? For example, you buy a new shirt. The company will use a percentage of the revenue from the sale of that shirt to support its political goals.
We pour hours into a show like Breaking Bad but rely on marketing firms and talking heads to get our info about laws and politics. Then we bitch and moan when something like the shutdown or a major shift in the norm like PPACA are put in motion.
What if we were more mindful about our approach to our decisions?
Yes, businesses are impacted by these issues. People run businesses. The profits of businesses are neither bad nor good. It’s how the profits are used that are important. Businesses only generate profit when people buy their goods or services.
The profits are then used by the business as the people who run it see fit. We are connected.
To conclude, no one person or group will get everything they want. There is no such thing as a perfect system. As a collective, we need to understand that this is part of an evolution—another step in the journey.
I hope that this time the big bucket of cold water being dumped on everyone finally wakes us up to the realities of the situation. We are all in the abyss together.
We can move forward and through this growth phase only after we realize and are mindful of this reality.
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Assistant Editor: Andrea Charpentier/Ed: Bryonie Wise