It is a different world than the one I knew a year ago, having shifted on its axis in a way that I do not fully comprehend, radically altering the energy around me. It might seem like a political change, but it is far more pervasive than that. It did not happen on a single election night, though that was indeed the slap that woke me from my slumber. For months I’ve been wandering around with my coffee cup trying to figure out if this is real life or just a nasty hangover.
And in what amounts to a virtual bloody mary, I take to social media, goaded by incessant tweets emanating from the executive mansion. Before long I say, “Crap! I’ve let him lure me in again!” His addiction has become mine. Now I feel sullied, so I move my Facebook app to the very end of my iPhone and turn off it’s notifications so it’s harder to access.
But then there is an op-ed in the Times, and without blinking I share it as a post, adding my own piece of snark, building enough self-righteous steam to get me through the day. Later, I look for a positive quote or a picture of a seagull at sunrise, anything to get me out of the dirty soup. Then I listen to the news and become locked into my own spiritual schizophrenia. Like the apostle of old, I do the thing I don’t want to do and the thing I want to do, I don’t do.
It appears, then, that I’ve gotten religious about my politics, institutionalizing my boundaries in order to satisfy myself. But a political agenda–not unlike a religious one–lures my spirit into a box where it cannot move, a predicament that does not serve me well, let alone the world I live in.
There must be another deeper, better way, and I think I found it recently on the subway. It was during rush hour when the train was full and nobody was getting off and everyone else was trying to get on. I was standing, holding a rail, seeing people I preferred not to be smushed into. Amid all the pushing and shoving I decided not to move. I wasn’t being nasty but I wasn’t overly polite either. With my feet firmly planted beneath me I consciously stood my ground, and lo and behold . . . people went around me.
Then it occurred to me that there is no more powerful resistance than standing still, sitting down, or being quiet. I thought of people like Rosa Parks, John Lewis or Martin Luther King. Here I am, here I stand, and I’m not moving. Not only does it throw others off balance for a change, it protects you from living at the effect of other peoples’ energies.
Don’t get me wrong, I will be morally indignant over government-sponsored injustice every single day. I will continue to make snide political posts because I just can’t not. But if it pulls me off my center until I spin and fall, I’m good to no one, especially myself.
We ask ourselves in these times and places, what can I do to affect change? The answer is that there are a million things we can do, but there’s one thing we must do. History’s greatest activism has come from lives deeply grounded in meditative practice. From deep within us comes the source of all energy, for we are energy.
We must go deeper before we can go farther.