Before you read this post, take a moment to look at this picture. Try and fathom that the light from those least~visible white specks in the background is almost 14 billion years old.
13.8 billion years ago, one world in one solar system in one of those distant galaxies had life on it that was extinguished. The light that we see is still from the time when life existed there; all the pain that the species suffered from whatever catastrophe it endured. One day in the future we could face such an end, and the light shining from that last sunset will shine some 13.8 billion years into the future, into the eyes of some future species who may, also, be suffering.
This suffering is the reason there is matter. It is the purpose of the coarse physical planes, the course of learning through physical form. To say that suffering is finite is not to say that it is meaningless. Without suffering, we could not know how to rise above it. Though it is the purpose of matter, it is the least enduring experience of the energy from which we spawned. Existence exists long after matter and its suffering have been transformed. I want to begin this diary entry with that infinity in mind.
There is a dichotomy inside; daily wonder, peace and wellness mingled with shock, concern and sometimes anger for our present situation, due to the challenges posed by America’s new president. This is the dichotomy that Buddha spoke of as the Unbearable Beauty. Comprehension of the Eternal reveals the beauty of the design, even as living on Earth means being surrounded by great suffering. Yet, it was not the beauty Buddha realized nor the suffering he witnessed that caused him to make such an impact on the world, but the place of stillness between these two from which Something pure expressed itself through him. May I employ that stillness for what is to come.
The Universe is unfamiliar with the concept of inaction. It uses wisdom in its action, moving in accordance to conservation; the least amount of energy necessary to function, even in the collision of galaxies and the violent explosions of stars. Both of these events, through conservation, renew life, and so shall we.
In the past I refused to follow the political scene in the States. Years passed and I barely noticed the change from one president to another. By word of mouth I heard plenty about the mistakes we were making in the world and the audacity with which we threw our weight around with no consideration to the differences of others, and I hated that reality. I hated being white and American. I was ashamed of the country I lived in. I saw how stressed and infuriated those who followed politics were and chose to reject it all, to live my small life and leave politics to those who felt driven to be involved.
As an American, I’ve been able to do that. Countless other humans have not been so lucky. The world now looks to us to set our affairs straight in attempts to prevent a large~scale shift from democracy to something less free, something many other countries have had the misfortune of experiencing. I cannot pretend to know what could come, but I feel Trump’s intent and see the effect it is having on the people i love. If left unchecked, America could very well be responsible for altering the comfortable way of life that its citizens are so familiar with. We could come to learn what it is like to see how the “other half” lives which, if we are honest with ourselves, we could use practice in. However potent a lesson we can take from these coming days, what many of us are most worried about is America making an enemy of the world more than we already have.
The knowledge of the grand scheme I harbor inside me assures that I am not afraid, for I have seen the Next, the biggest picture in which our plan is also the plan of the It who sees All. Let’s assume there is an “end” to Eternity, which many people think of as Heaven. At that end love is all that exists, and what is not love cannot exist there. Therefore, everything that happens is working in accordance to that end. Even Trump is part of this biggest picture.
With this in mind, the time has come for me to employ action. I, as one facet of every human on this planet, cannot stand by and do nothing while the one who represents us threatens my brethren, alienates citizen from citizen and country from country, and speaks the language of hate with my voice, a language that does not adequately describe who I am and what I stand for. Yet, if I act with anger, chances are my actions will only hurt matters further, not help them. Acting from a place of compassion is the greatest benefit to all. While anger can be a call to action, to live in anger is to live against the laws of conservation, expending more energy than needed in a direction that does little to solve any situation but does much to damage the body and the mind.
That is not to say that action based in anger is always impure. There is a difference between acting from anger and allowing anger to become who you are. To live from the purest intent, whatever that intent may be, is most beneficial to all. To live with purest intent is to find ourselves available for others in times of their greatest need. We need not go out and search for ways to help. When living from stillness the ways in which we can help appear, often miraculously, before us.
I will rise to whatever occasion calls me as so many of you have done, despite the loved ones you have lost and the hardship you have endured. Thank you for standing for what you believe in. Perhaps Americans can can consider your struggles and triumphs and know how to proceed with our own. Bear with us. There are more of us not represented by this faction than those of us who are, and those who do stand for the current policies may come to realize they are concerned with no best interests but their own.
For forty years I have lived free of media. I have observed the differences between myself and others in this regard. I observe the delicate balance between being informed and being assuaged by opinion. News broadcasts desensitize people to violence and cause a constant state of dissent. They lead us in a desired direction, convincing us we know what’s going on “out there”. From a standpoint based on unbalanced knowledge we make our judgments, choose our sides and live in the very fear and anger that those who represent us work within.
Because our opinions don’t change the game much, many have resorted to chronic and habitual complaining about the state of our country, and of the world, with little action to resolve issues. This causes our nervous systems to remain in fight or flight mode constantly, which floods our bodies with chemicals that should be reserved for few occasions. Heart disease, cancer, mental illness; these things further impede our clarity, and exacerbate the suffering we have become accustomed to.
Due to the unique nature of my situation, the realities of Trump’s presidency are much more striking to me than to those who have been inundated with political rhetoric their whole lives. I understand how Siddhartha felt as he first walked from his comfortable palace and saw the dead and suffering in the streets. His ignorance was not of his doing, but his father’s attempts to protect him. Mine is. However, I feel that both of us benefited from so many years of naivetè. I now can take action based on an unclouded view of what is of foremost importance.
I have watched this recent presidential election rip loved ones apart, cause friends to become bitter enemies and turn kind people into vicious fanatics. My own parents both voted for Trump, shaking my family’s foundation. People I trust completely often seem like strangers as they quote aggressive, often racist rhetoric, like sleepers that cannot wake. They don’t even know what they are saying. But I also see that people are realizing that the previous ‘he said she said’ mentality was for naught; that we must stop mere complaining now and address the situation at hand. It’s been hard for us to let go of complaining. For now, we are complaining more than ever before. Yet, more people are standing than ever before. We are all realizing how good we’ve had it, looking through new eyes at the world who, before, we felt far~removed from, as brethren who have seen this scenario play out in their own lives, veterans of a battle we are only now beginning to prepare for.
Perhaps this is the positive product of a negative situation. Any time we are shaken from our illusions and reminded of our [fill in the blank]~centricities, something good can come of it. For me this is an all new game, whose rules I do not understand. Therefore, it’s important for me not to play, but to allow stillness to move me across the board as it will.
The beautiful thing about inner silence is that action is taken without the forcing of a hand. I will not go out and start a war, nor will I search for a skirmish to partake in. The beauty of the design is so exquisite! So intricately woven! By forcing events we stand in the way of progress. To many, being involved means to be “for” one thing and “against” something else. We must be angry, we must shout out our rage and dissent, and be terrified. That’s how we show that we care.
This past week I was on campus, and came upon a large group of people speaking out about Trump’s recent ban on travel to and from various Muslim countries. There have been many functions that I have not been able to participate in, but this gathering appeared directly in my path, and it was so beautiful. What impressed me about these people is that they weren’t calling names, pointing fingers or assigning blame, they were focusing on the facts only. They were showing love for those whose lives have been turned upside down, and thanking Muslims on campus for their grace and patience, and the strength they show despite their fear.
Many people believe that love has no power. We believe that violence and anger have power because, historically, these have very visible results. When you smile at a Muslim person that you pass on the street, you don’t get to see what effect that smile has on them, nor the wave of love it creates through them that touches everything they touch and everyone they meet.
This time in America will require more than smiling at a passing stranger, but during action, to live from fear and hate is to pinch off the flow of the greatest power of existence, that has a view from the highest mountain top, so to speak, and knows which way the wind is moving. That power is the wind! It is the mountain top. It looks through Trump’s eyes and feels how utterly cut off from It he is, and it feels only compassion because It is him. Will you dare to believe that this is true? I will.
We must now find balance between both states of the dichotomy, not because we hate Trump, but because we love each other.