Hearts are full this autumn.
Many of us are forgetting what peace of mind feels like.
We turn with empathy toward those displaced from their homes or up in arms on the streets of every city.
Amid unknowing, Americans are sloshing between grace and trauma. Aware of our nervousness, we plump up our days with hope for the sake of our children and elders.
In this election, both votes, one for Biden or one for Trump, reflect an image of what type of society is most vigorous.
Before November 3rd, we must settle ourselves and find the source of our peace, so that we do not catastrophize the election results.
Partisans of both candidates are susceptible to catastrophizing—and yes, these are days when it seems you cannot overstate the magnitude of consequences.
Still, as Thich Nhat Hanh has often said, if one person in the boat can remain calm, then the chance of survival is greatly improved.
Thich Nhat Hanh wrote this poem about a devastating moment during the Vietnam war,
“This was written after I heard about the bombing of Ben Tre and the comment made by an American military man, ‘We had to destroy the town in order to save it.'”
I hold my face in my two hands.
No, I am not crying.
I hold my face in my two hands.
To keep my loneliness warm
Two hands protecting,
Two hands nourishing,
Two hands preventing
My soul from leaving me in anger.
When you love someone, you wish for their mind to be serene, and for them to have access to their wisdom. As Ram Dass says, “All you have to know is that I love you.”
How does a hippy injunction help us with real problems?
Love is not beside the point. Love is the pre-requisite of wisdom. Love is possible only when we understand that our own vulnerability deserves compassion.
So, to nourish that compassion for myself, then for others, and consequently to access wise action, I have to prepare.
Refresh your spirit during the volatility of November with contemplations of Thich Nhat Hanh:
“There are ways that we can go back to ourselves and practice so that we rediscover our calmness, our tranquility, our lucidity.”
“I want you to be your best when you begin to act, for the sake of America and for the sake of the world.”
“I did not say anything. I did not act, because I knew that acting or saying things while you are angry is not wise.”
“You can offer the world wisdom, mindfulness, and compassion.”
“The practice of deep listening should be taken up by parents, by partners, so that they can understand the suffering of the other person.”
“I was able to see that the real enemy of man is not man. The real enemy is our ignorance, discrimination, fear, craving, and violence.”
“Love is a living thing; hate is a living thing. If you do not nourish your love, it will die.”
“If you are a journalist, you have the means to educate people, to wake people up to the nature of our situation…then we will know in which direction we should go to make the earth a safe place for us, for our children, and for their children.”
“When we have hatred and vengeance as our deepest desire, we will suffer terribly…”
“We need to breathe deeply, to get calm in order to touch the seed of wisdom.”