5 Spiritual Perspectives on the USA Presidential Debate
The presidential event last week was… well, you fill in the blanks.
There seems to be agreement that it was the most unusual presidential debate. Ever. Beyond that, there are lots of opinions. Whatever you think about the event, there is someone who will agree with you. I heard one man say that he thought Trump was fiery and passionate. Another, that he was a bully. Depending on your perspective, Biden was either weak or presidential. That leads to the first spiritual takeaway:
1. At the human level, the truth is different for everyone. Your opinion and reactions to the debate are true… for you. Other people’s opinions and reactions are true… for them.
This is the major cause of chaos in relationships. “I’m right and you’re wrong” has become the underlying battle cry on social media.
It’s almost like the more we know… or the more we think we know… the more we believe that our perceptions are right. And the more we feel the need to defend them. Vigorously and righteously.
Spiritually, Truth… capital T Truth… is the same for everyone. Spiritual Truth is anchored in pure love and is constant. It doesn’t shift and change based on circumstances or political affiliation.
2. Connected to the idea that the truth is different for everyone is the idea that we see only the past. The past is a lens through which we perceive the present. We’ve built up years and years of past experiences which form a rather foggy lens through which we look at the world and the events unfolding before us.
Since none of us share the exact same history, we’re looking through a pair of glasses with lenses that have a totally different prescription than anyone else’s.
Spiritual values can cut through what separates us. Spiritual values are grounded in Love and compassion. Even when… especially when… someone is behaving in ways that are clearly unloving, we are able to call on spiritual values to see that everyone is either being loving or is calling for love.
It’s a high calling. I know. And I often fail miserably. The important thing is that I recognize that I’ve fallen off the spiritual wagon of kindness and compassion.
3. Tristan Harris, former Design Ethicist at google, says, “When you look around you, it looks like the world is going crazy. You have to ask yourself, like, ‘Is this normal or have we all fallen under some kind of spell?’”
In The Social Dilemma documentary, the case is made that we’re being manipulated by social media. We’re under its spell. Spiritually, the source of such manipulation is ego. The ego self operates from a totally different set of values than the Spiritual Self. Chaos, division, and complexity are products of an ego-based belief system. Ego is quick to judge and make others wrong.
Spiritually, we are able to stay sane even in the midst of the craziness. We can live in radical acceptance… acknowledging what is happening without resisting it. That doesn’t mean we don’t do anything about what is happening. No. What we do is done from a place of peace.
4. “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break." (L. R. Knost)
A Course in Miracles states it much more starkly: The world is insane! It’s insane because it relies on ego’s thought system of lack, scarcity, and a “kill or be killed” mentality. Oh my.
The expectation that the world… and the people in it… “should” be a certain way can be the ultimate set-up for disappointment. We have expectations, they're not met, and we do an emotional crash. Over and over and over again. It's much more healthy to face the day with radical UNexpectation!
L. R. Knost ends her "Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world" with these words:
"So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.” Be the light that is you.
5. This one's for you if you like to "go deep" (as I do!). These wise words come from the late Dr. Kenneth Wapnick:
Rather than turn your TV off ... when the news comes on and you say "I don't want to pollute my mind with the thought of wars, conflict and deception", that's the very thing you <should> look at if that's what you believe. Because that will help you hear your inner voice saying, “Look on the devastation that you're hearing about, and realize it's not what you think it is."
One of the underlying themes of Plato and in the Course of Miracles is the difference between appearance and reality, the shadows and the light. What you're seeing on your TV screen or reading about in the newspaper or on your computer screen or hearing about or living in your personal life, is a shadowy projection of the original thought that says, "I lived because I destroyed God." That's the original devastation.
And then we vowed we'd never look on it again. We all made this vow to the ego: we will never look at this mind again - it's too devastating. And so, we made up a world filled with that devastation, but now it's projected out and seen outside of us.
Oh my. You mean I can’t blame a political leader? You mean I must look inside myself to address the devastation I perceive in the world?
That, my friends, is what I believe the spiritual journey is all about... looking inside not only for the Light but at the shadow self.
Blessings to you…