We really do not know anything.
…Those of us convinced this could never happen. …Those of us who think this will solve anything. We know as little as the the man who will ascend to a throne that seems more meaningless in his ascension to it.
This is a time for humility. But not the false humility that leads to complacency or hopelessness. The true humility that reminds us that as human beings we are more alike than different, and we are all in this together… In this with all of creation. Together we know a great deal, yet individually and even together, we can never know it all. We need each other. Creation needs all of us for the ongoing, messy evolutionary labor.
Each of us holds the passport of divinity within us, waiting to be validated– and stamped often– as we travel. We, none of us, need a visa for either Hell or Heaven. Both are in God; both are in us, and every moment’s destination is a choice of the Greater One, the infinite traveller who seeks to know all countries through us.
As Hilary said, graciously and wisely, in her concession speech this morning, “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” We owe that to him, to those who saw reason to vote for him, and to ourselves.
This does to mean, nor has it ever meant, that we are to abdicate responsibility. In fact, this election should make it clearer than ever the price of cumulative complacency in a culture… on a planet. It is we–each of us– who lead our own hearts, who lead by example in our relationships and communities, small or large… Lead with thoughts, not just deeds. And most of us, if we are aware and honest, still struggle with primal impulses to blame, judge, exclude– no matter how subtle– in some realm of our life and psyche.
Our evolution as a species has long been three steps forward, two steps back; and so many of the redeemed have had to hit bottom first. Let us give thanks to rude awakenings for dusting off our priorities, focusing and simplifying them.
This is a call to all to lead from within, at the individual and community level, with Global and even Cosmological perspective.
Having suppressed building intuitive ill-ease with denial for a couple of days, this morning I was in no hurry to hear the news. But when the news tiptoed downstairs and insinuated itself to me and the friend I was with, my wisest self rose through the fog of intermingled numbness and sadness to meet it, with renewed lucidity, pragmatism, compassion.
We are not the first population to be faced with the oppressive momentum of primitive logic. But it is up to us to be one of the populations who respond with strength of heart, not reaction and pre-emptive judgement. This is another teaching in healing the world by healing ourselves. That’s right, it’s another F*%#ing growth opportunity, on a grand and urgent scale.
Can we make all this moment’s contrite talk of unity mean something? Can we be willing to be uncomfortable, and share the burden with the populations who already are, especially those whose anger frightens us and seems to give the planet back to the apes?
As my friend and I swallowed the morning’s news and set about digesting it, he re-read to me Thich Nhat Hanh’s timelessly relevant poem, Please Call Me By My True Names; I will let that be the final word…for now:
Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow—
even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope,
the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when Spring comes,
arrives in time to eat the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond,
and I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay his
“debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.