Like many of you, I am thinking more of politics these days, and concerned about the impact on millions of lives as our leadership in Washington undergoes major changes. I wonder within a non- dual perspective if I can offer a useful response to decisions (or for this moment, threats) that seem to undermine the health and well-being of the whole – our country and our planet. Non-duality, a perspective that points out how all that we live and experience is transient or impermanent, encourages us to find inner peace by being fully present and non-resistant to what is. This implies that non-attachment is relevant to inner realization. But does this mean non-engagement as well?
What I have seen in those who are awakening is not only the awareness of no separate self but the realization of one universal Self. This brings the opening of the heart, the expansion of compassion and sensitivity, and the realization that all of us are One beingness united eternally with all of life. There can be the sense that as individuals we are nothing but vibration, but as awareness/consciousness we are everything. What awakens is the realization of connectedness with All and what dissolves (often this is gradual) is belief in separateness. As forms we appear separate and have unique experiences but as consciousness we are All. In Buddhism many take vows to incarnate over and over until all of humanity is awake. In Hinduism it is understood our spirit returns over and over burning away karma until we realize we are One with all. In the heart of Christianity is the understanding that we should love one another as ourselves, and in Islam is the teaching that God is all things.
But our religions do not protect us from our failings, our fears and our habits of separation. Human minds tend to be preoccupied with “me”, an illusion of spirit evolving from the moment of birth and hardened through our life experiences and conclusions. The sense of being part of the whole collapses under the pressure of personal survival, fears, cultural beliefs, and desires. This is our human condition, not to be judged but to be understood.
Awakening does not free us from our human experience, but it can give us an opportunity to see these experiences with clarity and objectivity, and release their impact on us.. It is not a freedom from any need to respond in our world, but a freedom to respond without fear and with no attachment to results. It is a freedom to move from love rather than rage, to seek truth rather than conditioned belief.
Within this framework what can we do when we feel in our heart a need to respond to political positions that cause harm to others? Thousands may march but in the end these massive displays of the longing of people seems to have little impact on our politicians, who seem to be far removed from mainstream concerns. But if each of these thousands of people, and the millions who identify with their concerns but are not called to march, chose one heartfelt cause to support or a few congressman to write weekly, there could be a groundswell of letters, phone calls, volunteers, and other activities to slowly shift the country into an America for all.
Looking at the whole picture can feel overwhelming and most of us feel helpless to influence those who make the big decisions. But each of us can have an influence on a few others, and if millions of us speak up from compassion for humanity rather than fear and anger there will in time be a rebalancing of our political priorities. We can each choose a cause to advocate for or raise funds for if we see government funds being withdrawn. We can each find in our uniqueness what we can contribute.
We are living in a time of great upheaval and change throughout the planet – politically, environmentally, economically and spiritually. But if you look at history there have been huge upheavals in every century. This is our century and each spirit brings a perspective, a message, a potential for evolution. If you are awakening now and touching your own authentic connection with Source, and seeking what your heart would have you do in this lifetime, then listen to your deepest longings for the world and the humanity in it, and find your own unique gift – it doesn’t need to be dramatic, just a movement that is true for you. You are not abandoning your true nature by engaging in service to life and others. Instead of being burdened by fear and angst and all the other mental resistances that arise, let go of yourself at a deeper level, and ask what you would like to do, what you can contribute to making this day better or this world better for someone else. This, to me, is the embodiment and manifestation of non-dual realization.