Make America Mindful Again
What makes America great?
That’s a question I’m truly interested in hearing millions of answers to. One answer I would give is the infusion of values that was born out of being a country made up of many cultures. America is great because of the ethnic and cultural eccentricity that was created by seekers of opportunity. With that, what we’re experiencing now seems somewhat paradoxical. It’s even harder for me to conceptualize how this beautiful diverse culture we belong to co-created a counter so insidious that it seems to have the power to destroy democracy as we know it. Why would we do that? I’ve asked myself that a thousand times. The conclusion I keep coming back to is intellectualism is not well nurtured in our country, and our boundless hearts are closing faster than our borders. While we will talk politics I want to stress this "closing of the American heart" is the biggest threat to our national good.
On national good
Until we begin to open up again, we’re not allowed to preach to other nations with genuine moral authority. I don’t believe we have that. As I’ve taken inventory and done work on myself, I don’t know if we ever did. I do know however, that there is an opportunity none of us could’ve ever dreamed of, inspired life waiting to be lived here just as soon as we open up and move away from the thought that other people are the problem.
Before we talk about our own fears and how to work through them, the first step in the healing of this nation is forgiveness. We have some pretty profound apologies to make. Apologies I believe will make clear that there is nothing new in this upcoming cycle, it’s just putting issues back on the surface that we still haven’t truly dealt with.
We need to acknowledge to Native Americans that the expansion of this country came at the cost of their culture. We need to apologize in realization that our country and each life in it would be truly enriched by having a greater presence of Native American wisdom weaved into our self-governing and policy making procedures.
We need to acknowledge that Black Lives do Matter, and the morally outrageous evil that we committed in enslaving their ancestors created a systematic inequality in our society whose cruelty can still be seen and felt today. We need to apologize in realization sometimes there are truths so big it’s hard for the offenders to swallow and make amends.
We need to acknowledge to women our missteps in mistreating the source of our life. It’s ironic a country who symbolizes liberty and freedom with a statue of a lady carrying a torch denied women the right to use their voice, and is still actively enacting laws that take away their freedom of choice and sense of personal power. We need to apologize in realization women are creators and without them we’d know nothing of this life.
What matters more than how we’ve lived with such disrespect for life, is that we immediately commit to healing. These apologies establish moral order through realigning with the truth of how we got here and validate the values we claim to have. Admitting we’ve been wrong all along would be the greatest sign of strength we could ever show this world.
On our values
What we value is another big piece of this political puzzle coming together as it has. The truth is, whether subconsciously or through conscious action we've chosen this outcome through what we've digested, what we've accepted and what we've neglected since the beginning of civilization. And it's for our highest good. We needed to see this side of ourselves. We think of success in terms of how much we amass, what we achieve in a material and monetary sense. With that alone, it’s only natural we would elect a man who so perfectly personifies our ego's vision of what richness is.
We’ve been sold the idea that we need things. We’re being sold things that make us believe we need more things. We keep up our “look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow” projections without realizing that make-up masks the truth of who we really are. There aren’t many people out there selling you the idea that you already have it all. We’re not provided with much support to come into the belief that we were given everything we need at birth. Capitalism has created a hard-boiled culture that hoards our hearts and blinds us from seeing our true nature and the values beyond the veil. As long as we continue this course, we’ll always feel like there’s a hole to fill. It doesn’t energetically serve us or our higher purpose. It creates a lifestyle where joy is our goal instead of the foundation in which we do all things from. We chose that. We vote for it every single day in our actions and our purchasing patterns.
Money is an energy. When we think of it in that way, compassion should be our currency. In more material terms, our money trail should always lead back to a place that’s in true alignment with our values. Think about what you value. Close your eyes and think. Try to find a place within you where faith costs money. Ask yourself, in all your life, how much have you paid for love? If we gauged success by what we achieve of ourselves, how would that affect the way you live your life?
Not understanding our values is ultimately what leads to leadership crisis. We didn’t get here because there isn’t anyone out there who so perfectly embodies the qualities of true humanity. It’s because we’ve invalidated those qualities by placing larger importance on our individual gains. We throw money at our problems and the corporations and banks that profit from our retail therapies finance the politics that keep us shackled in a bottom up society. Our consumer behavior breeds a unique landscape of socio-economic judgement, wherein we can’t see greatness in people that aren’t wearing a suit.
In order to create fertile ground for great leaders to stand we have to see and support greatness in everyone. Jesus was told he was the son of God from birth. The Dalai Lama grows up with the constant reinforcement he is the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Regardless what you believe about the factuality of both their births, look at what greatness can come out the stories we tell ourselves and our children.
Making America Mindful
I define mindfulness simply as "paying attention." The good news is, by that definition, we recently became a much more mindful country. I've never seen so many people actively participating in, and debating the politics and policies that protect our rights and play into our quality of life from an environmental, economic and social standpoint. The past 18 or so months has shown us so much about ourselves, each other and the culture we've co-created.
Now we're off into the unknown and it can be scary place to go, but as you’ve read, I assure you nothing is new here. We just became more aware of the way things have always been. It's out in the open now. It doesn't feel good to see how we behave and the bruteness we've bred, but that awareness is key to invoking real change within and without. I’ve spoken with many people who I can see fear and sadness in their faces. There are too many factors playing into that fear to name. Please know your feelings are valid, and I personally will use my privilege to fight for yours until the day I lose mine. Let’s realize though, every now and then our character needs to be challenged for us to feel and know its true strength. Now is the time to recommit to our convictions and put our fear behind us so it can move us forward.
Tomorrow and every day for the rest of our lives, we awake to a tremendous opportunity. Yogi Bhajan taught me that our days are simply that: Several meetings with opportunity that we take or leave. Let's take this one. If we created a culture in which ego and personality can rule, imagine what we can do with these new awarenesses and the strength of love and compassion leading our collective consciousness. Don't be shook. Stand taller than ever. Yogi Bhajan also says that if someone can shake you and someone can crack you, you haven't yet found yourself. So, let's find ourselves.
Let's show up for each other. Stop the infantile game of passing blame and pointing fingers. Drop the tendency to think your way is right. You know how good it feels to speak your truth, let someone speak theirs. Listen to it. Notice how it inspires emboldening of your expressions of truth. Notice if you’re guarded or open to receiving it, and I mean truly compassionately understanding it. Again, the greatest threat to our freedom is a closing heart. Our future relies on our commitment to it, and that commitment must include our capacity to love each other.
May our resistance be known by our persistence. May we smile in the face of the oppressors, so they have no doubt we have more to gain with their agenda than they ever could.
“May we wake up with our soul, and sleep with our achievement.” -Yogi Bhajan