just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Politics Is Violence

Published on 29/10/18
by randy

By linguistic definition, anytime we try to persuade (change) someone to our line of thinking, there’s an underlying violence. As we approach another election, as emotions heat up, and as we attach to what we ‘think’ is right, we’re more and more filled with anxiety. So how can we maintain a sense of balance? How can we aim to at least not cause each other harm? How do we return once again to that deeper knowing that we’re not separate, touching the true spirit of all of our great spiritual teachers? No doubt, we’re walking a razor’s edge if we’re hoping to stay engaged in these disruptive, fast changing times. For me, that answer lies in training to temporarily suspend my belief in thinking I know, thinking I’m right and you’re wrong.

Yesterday I met up with a friend who’s dedicated himself to balance training in active lifestyle sports. Twenty years ago I bought a gyro machine from him that helped train my body to throw momentum in various directions as I spun in full axis, all directions. He has worked in gymnastics and has been instrumental in the promotion of the Snake skateboard. He described his work as training people to “deliberately fall without hitting the ground”. It captures the joy of the boardsports and music I play. The real joy comes when the action unfolds outside the verbal mind. There’s an emptiness of mind, a complete letting go, that happens when fully surrendered to the arc of the turn. A famous trumpet teacher once said, “When the mind leaves the tone, obstacles appear.” My latest passion is windsurf foiling and this concept played out beautifully last week. I completed a fluid turn without thought, fully abandoned to any notion of separateness from the event. I had let go the concept of ‘me’. My watersport friend came up behind me and complimented me for the turn. I immediately lost balance and crashed, my ego bringing me back into separation. It seems that most times, when I ‘think’ I’m pretty good, I crash. So how is it that our creative performance comes when we’ve practiced deeply only to ‘let go’?

I heard someone say they like to lead a conversation with friends with the following question, “When you realize all your beliefs have been undermined, what’s left?” That captures the essence of peak, no mind, creative performance. A Zen teacher once called this “Big Hope”. Today’s political climate, a conflict driven news media, and radical change in climate, technology, and globalization challenge us deeply to hold that ‘Big Hope’. There seems to be momentum to give up as we all struggle to maintain a higher vibration. It’s frustrating to continuously fail in our efforts to change one another. Again, by definition, it’s got the smell of violence and most of the time ends in negative emotion, both parties separating in anger. I like the wisdom of, “when the problem seems big, get bigger than than the problem”. This is where real spiritual practice lies, expanding our circles of belonging through the confidence in letting go our fixed notions of ‘thinking we’re right’. Can we let go in a deliberate fall, knowing we won’t hit the ground? That’s the essence of dialogue.

Many of the Eastern martial arts carry this wisdom of letting go. They can be extremely physical, yet in truth, are purely spiritual. Aikido may capture this best with a literal meaning of “harmony spirit way”, or poetically “the way of harmonizing with the spirit of the universe”. The famous author, spiritual and martial arts teacher, George Leonard, writes:

“With ancient samurai roots, it (aikido) is a radical reform of the samurai tradition, seeking not victory over others but rather, in the founder’s words, “the loving protection of all beings”. Its techniques can cause severe damage or even death, but its heartfelt aim is peace and harmony.” from Introduction to “The Way of Aikido”

There were times when politicians knew how to listen deeply for understanding. There were times when people trained deeply to communicate with one another from an open mind, surrendering notions of ‘thinking they were right’. We’re now in a time that challenges us all to find that ‘Big Hope’ that moves us to expanding circles of belonging, beyond the illusion of our separateness. As long as we hold to our notions of special interest and ‘rightness’, violence will grow. Our spiritual challenge is to approach politics as a martial art, forever carrying the intention and motivation to “harmonize with the spirit of the universe”. This is the essence of the higher vibration, what our spiritual teachers call moving to light from the darkness, and what our fore fathers of this nation called our surrender to Divine Providence. We’re all being worked, all being challenged to aim higher than our limited belief systems. Our real faith will be found in our capacity to explore with one another the question of what’s left when we’re deeply looking beyond our beliefs? This is where we can either hold to our notions of ‘fixing or solving the Mystery’ or we can ‘befriend the Mystery’ in full surrendered creative action, thought and emotion.

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