August 6, 2017

The Trump Resistance isn’t Working. But there’s another Way.


Last spring, I added my raised voice to hundreds of others in a rally supporting Planned Parenthood and the rights of women to make their own healthcare decisions.

With shared breath, we repeatedly shouted, “Resist! Resist! Resist! ” The mass of energy expressed by so many voices shouting as one was intensely powerful. In that moment, surrounded by a throng of kindred spirits, it felt like we could righteously overcome any threats to our freedom.

And in my righteousness, I knew beyond any doubt who my enemies were.

This was clearly demonstrated by what I perceived to be my enemies’ profound and dangerous lack of empathy and compassion, complete disregard for the living systems of our planetary home, and a perilous denial of facts supported by the leading science of the day. And as we chanted, my righteousness became fueled by justified anger. “Resist! Resist! Resist!”

And then something unexpected stopped my chanting in mid-breath, catching it in my throat like a stifled cough. It was the memory of watching a video clip from the election. Then-candidate Donald Trump was holding a rally with thousands in attendance.

They too were shouting with one voice. “Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! My stomach constricted into a tight knot. In that moment, I realized that, on an emotional level, there was no difference between that angry multitude and my sharp chanting. Though our ideas were completely divergent, we both were acting from that same field of extremely incensed and contracted energy born from frustration and anger.

On a purely expressive level, their anger and mine could have been close siblings, even twins. In terms of emotion, we shared the same message, repeated over and over: “We’re right, You’re wrong! We’re right, You’re wrong! We’re right, You’re wrong!” 

All the fear, the conflict, the ecological indifference, the insane ideas born from this ongoing Us versus Them mentality, the ease of de-humanizing the other when righteous anger filters our perception, are all born from the current worldview. The essence of this worldview is based on the idea that we are separate from each other and separate from the living system of our shared earth.

We can choose to work toward healing from the madness that fills the daily newsfeed and threatens our very survival. We can choose to create and embody an entirely new worldview based on connection over separation, and love over fear.

This is the paramount invitation of our times.

Since that rally, where I joined with my brothers and sisters in opposition to the current power structure, I realized that we don’t have time to putter around with the old models of political activism.

We need to make an evolutionary leap in our collective consciousness at a revolutionary pace! We need a more open-hearted approach! Our planet demands this of us!

Perhaps it’s not about resistance at all.

So, if not resistance, what might be an alternative course that points to the potential of a new worldview? I would offer the idea of transcendence.

It is imperative that we transcend our current worldview, our current point on the evolutionary arc, and move a couple notches up, toward the recognition that all of life is deeply interconnected—even those parts that we are so vehemently in disagreement with.

What we do to any part of the living system we inhabit, we do to ourselves. Many can see that this is indeed so.

But how do we proceed?

Ultimately, any collective creation of a new worldview would most likely develop in similar fashion to a successful dance party, with each of us learning our own steps and bringing them to the floor. Then we can collectively dance to a rhythm dictated by the communal heartbeat of our growth and healing.

For most of us, the foundation of this work is in refining our awareness through the incorporation of meditation practices into our daily lives, living more and more from that meditative mind state, or mindfulness. That, and retooling our belief systems through the use of that larger, meditative awareness, are the primary technologies we can use for consciously evolving ourselves.

The interesting thing about all of this is, if we are able to transform our intention from one of resistance to one of transcendence, our actions may not appear that different.

Our activism will still be very active.

We will still work toward empowering change and educating those who are less aware. We will still march in joined protest, and some of us will engage in acts of civil disobedience. It’s just that the internal fire will be burning from a different fuel, the fuel of transcendence—seeking for that higher point on the evolutionary arc that holds the knowledge that we are not separate and isolated beings!

And, with that intention, our acts will gain in the power, wisdom, and skill that naturally flows from that more expansive mind state.

And that is the fertile ground out of which a new worldview will be born.

This is what our planet is crying out for us to do right now.

So, “Transcend! Transcend! Transcend!” 



I am No Longer calling myself Part of the Resistance.

12 Observations on Belief Systems.



Author: Tod Evans
Image: Abhisek Sarda/Flickr
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell

Social Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Tod Evans Aug 10, 2017 3:28pm

The contracted energy of thousands of people shouting in unison that a woman should be put behind bars despite that fact that she had not been convicted of a crime is the same contracted energy that I was engaging at the rally as I expressed my anger at the those in power. It’s the same contracted energy that has been at the root of untold pain and suffering since the beginning. I chose to call that energy anger. One can call it righteous, justified or shinola – doesn’t matter. At its essence, I understand the energy as fear. That is the energy of the current worldview that keeps us believing in the delusion that we are separate beings. That is the energy that must be transcended. And we don’t have time for long debates over who is right or wrong. We need to discover the silent spaces between our limited thoughts, opinions and beliefs so that something greater than our inadequate philosophies and dogmas may find its way into the mix. We must become the change, embody the new models now. Here are some hints to what those models may look like for some people: Taking a radical responsibility for one’s presence, words and deeds on this planet. Or, in more mythological language, attending to the plank in our own eye before judging a splinter in our brothers or sisters. The world needs skillful people acting in skillful ways for change, now. Those skills are cultivated through practices that elevate us beyond the stories, labels and descriptions that run through our monkey minds and that are the cause of so much pain. We need to get over our idol worship of these descriptions and stories that pretend to be real understanding. A new worldview doesn’t look like anything we would recognize today and can only be experienced when our thoughts, words and deeds are informed by rigorous and consistent practice, mental training and the retooling of our belief systems. With an open heart and the understanding that we don’t understand doodely-squat when it comes to the deeper experiences of ourselves and others, we seek to come to know ourselves. There is a place where words no longer function. That is where our evolutionary shifts will come from. The story of our Newtonian, dualistic landscape penetrates only the barest surface of Life. We are seeking for a deeper awareness of the spaces between labels. There are too many unquestioned walls of thought in the world that don’t allow the space for any real insight to shine through. I’m really not interested in trying to change your mind or convince you of anything. There is no time. I am writing for people who are open to the understanding that the current worldview isn’t working. Our young children are in jeopardy. And many are waking up to this and know that the steaks have never been higher. Extinction is a pretty big deal and we just don’t have time to muck about with the old models of Us and Them conflict. There is no time to keep doing the same things in the same ways. We need to take radical responsibility for our choices and actions, and act from a much larger inner-stillness and spaciousness, here and now. We need to wake up. Michael, I know you to be a very passionate and sincere person. And I know that we share the same desire for the ending of the peoples suffering. And it is also clear that we navigate by different maps. I hope that yours will take you where you wish to go.

Michael Troy Aug 9, 2017 9:49pm

Tod Evans I was only using the example of the "yoga mom" as a flippant example to ilustrate a deep seeded ideological problem with a privilaged class that believes they can "heal the world' by essentially extracting themselves from any real engagement with the world itself. This is a long and on-going problem with the privlaged classes. I know I am generalizing. However, I believe you did label folks with convenient generalities when you stated that there was "no difference between that angry multitude and my sharp chanting" in your article. I think maybe there was a difference that alluded you. Maybe I am wrong. We must generalise and catigorize to make scense of the world. I don't think either of us were doing so with bad intent, but to make a point. By the way, I am actually leaving to go to a yoga class in about 20 minutes. (haha) I do question the wisdom of disengagment in this day and age. The "new" models of political resistence and forceful revolution seem to be a result of a kind of post-modern disengagement and little else. What are these "new" models exactly, other than wimpsical one liners about transending hate and fear? At some point the rubber hits the road. This is the contradiction that Ghandi and many others were faced with when they realised that the resistence they faced was horrific, violent, and real. I do not concone violence at all. I never have. But I do have enough wisdom to understand that not everyone in the world has the luxury of "transendence" when the danger they face in immediate. Despite all of this, you should know that I am in agreement with you. Even Fidel Castro said that the time for violent revolution is over. However, I believe this is only when the luxury and opportunity is present and accessible to people. Otherwise they have little choice. When the power structure has a monopoly on violence, they will forever be in power. As they exert violence, real violence, over people every day. They don't have the time for philisophical discourse. Luckily, we do. I don't know if that clarifies anything, but I suddenly miss you and wish we could have this conversation over a cup of tea. Peace, my friend. Yoga is calling. "Transend, trandend, transend!" I am with you still. P.S. I don't have a feeling. I know the world is much grander than we can understand.

Tod Evans Aug 9, 2017 5:20am

Hey Michael, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I always appreciate your take on things. I will suggest that there is a danger in labeling different folks with convenient generalities. I have taken a number of yoga classes from suburban yoga moms who carry great wisdom and exhibit a fierce devotion to their practice and to the world. At the end of the day none of us has enough information to make an accurate assessment of someone else’s depth of experience. I believe that we just don’t have the luxury of time right now. The old models of political resistance and forceful revolution born from fear and hatred are not the models that will save the species. And picking a side is the rabbit hole of dualism that has trapped us for long enough and caused enough suffering. And yet, as I said, we will still engage our activism and work hard for change. This is nothing more than an invitation to examine our intentions to see if they are in alignment with Life and to retool accordingly if not. I have a feeling that the real world is much grander than you or I can hope to understand.

Michael Troy Aug 8, 2017 7:21pm

The books that Linda Lewis is referring to (see previous post) were written by Naomi Klein. She is also the author of The Shock Docrtine. She writes important books. Tod's article doesn't promote "new age individualism," but it does fill me with just a bit of fear. (haha). I use this term "new age individualism" because of the trend in the west to refocus our efforts from public and social discourse to self-directed "self- help" strategies to "make the world a better place." I know many people who are active in the resistence against the current power structure that are not acting out of fear, but out of hope. Can these two even be seperated? A little fear can go a long way. Fear is not a foundation on which to base one's life, but it is a valid and often nessessary responce to acts we see in the world, and to be in the world we must react to them. We know that social change only happens through direct action. History makes that clear. However, the suburban moms that are going to yoga everyday and trying to center their chi to make the world a better place are delusional. Sure, they may improve their lives and the lives of those directly around them. However, the motivation and result are ultimatly self-centered, which is the antithesis of meditation itself. Thus begins the rabit hole of self-obessesion masked as some sort of benevolence for the world. I believe that yoga, meditation, and careing for the self in order to transcend is important and I encourage everyone to do so. Take care of yourselves. Transend the hate and fear. However, most people (I know) that are in the streets shouting for social change already understand that we are all connected and their loud and often violent shouts and frustrations are opposed to those that do not understand this fact. I think a big part of being mindful is understanding that these contratictions are simply part of the movement and progression of life itself. I am happy that we both burn our fire from the fuel of trancendence, but some people will burn that fuel from hatred and fear - and, believe it or not, that is OK. We might not like it, but the hope is that it will lead to transcendence eventually. We are not all at the same place at the same time, but sometimes we must pick a side to be on in the real world. I have never hated my "enemies," but I do have the greatest empathy for them. That alone is both mindful and transcendent. Tod, you are a kind and gentle soul.

Tod Evans Aug 8, 2017 6:06pm

Yes!!! And thank you for the reading recommendation. I have always thought of the great Om as the cosmic Yes of life, as a force for creation. And I believe that this Yes can inform our intentions and acts, especially as we work towards the changes that our wondrous, life giving planet, and the little ones requires of us now.

Linda Lewis Aug 8, 2017 2:48pm

I think you'd really like the book, "No is Not Enought" by the same author as "This Changes Everything". Democrats, Liberals, + Social Democrats, need to do more than resist and be the equivalent of 8 years of Republican obstructionism under Obama. We need to know what to say YES to. Yes to genuine universal health care, Yes to job creation--esp. in the fields of solar and wind, Yes to honoring seniors. Obama is currently leading the charge vs gerrymandering, which should be illegal. Yes to town hall meetings, empowering grass roots. Yes to brave women representatives of both parties who truly represent the people they serve. And Yes, a big NO to the Electoral College, which is an antiquated body that lost its relevance long ago.

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Tod Evans

Tod Evans is a writer, meditation teacher, and spiritual topographer who seeks to discover and share the most pragmatic routes to spiritual awakening in service to healing our planetary home. He is developing content for the inspirational website, Simmering Nirvana, or check it out on Facebook