On this, the Epiphany, I invite myself into the expanded awareness of stars and crowns… (out beyond fear and angst and attachment.)
With two weeks remaining in Obama’s presidency, I remove the dark cloak of grief from this site–its midnight background–and replace it with the promise–of white.
Despite being a Bernie, and later a Hillary, and always a human rights supporter, this is what I see…
Tenacious Bernie–with his fierce and necessary voice–was not the one to usher in what is to come.
Devoted Hillary–with her astounding capacity to claim the space reserved for men–was not the one.
Unfathomable Trump–with his crass entitlement and sophisticated exploitation–is.
“The election of Donald Trump as president ushers in a period of monumental change, a precipitous journey into the unknown,” writes Joan Borysenko, in her essay, Born for these Times. “It’s clear that we are in evolutionary times. The old system is breaking down and a new system has yet to emerge. Whether the energy freed up from breakdown reconstitutes at a higher level or devolves is up to all of us.”
While I am certain that either Bernie or Hillary would have served this nation better, what Trump offers is greater still.
His presidency unmasks our nation’s shadow.
What happens next will undoubtedly bring greater suffering to those who are marginalized by this shadow, including women, children, families, and those who are not white, wealthy and heterosexual; not to mention the earth upon which we depend.
A Tibetan legend, relayed by the Buddhist teacher and environmentalist Joanna Macy, best illuminates our times:
There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. Barbarian powers have arisen. Although they waste their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable devastation and technologies that lay waste the world. It is now, when the future of all beings hangs by the frailest of threads, that the kingdom of Shambhala emerges.
You cannot go there, for it is not a place. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors. But you cannot recognize a Shambhala warrior by sight, for there is no uniform or insignia, there are no banners. And there are no barricades from which to threaten the enemy, for the Shambhala warriors have no land of their own. Always they move on the terrain of the barbarians themselves.
Now comes the time when great courage is required of the Shambhala warriors, moral and physical courage. For they must go into the very heart of the barbarian power and dismantle the weapons. To remove these weapons, in every sense of the word, they must go into the corridors of power where the decisions are made.
The Shambhala warriors know they can do this because the weapons are manomaya, mind-made. This is very important to remember. These weapons are made by the human mind. So they can be unmade by the human mind! The Shambhala warriors know that the dangers that threaten life on Earth do not come from evil deities or extraterrestrial powers. They arise from our own choices and relationships. So, now, the Shambhala warriors must go into training.
They train in the use of two weapons.
The weapons are compassion and insight. Both are necessary. We need this first one because it provides us the fuel, it moves us out to act on behalf of other beings. But by itself it can burn us out. So we need the second as well, which is insight into the dependent co-arising of all things. It lets us see that the battle is not between good people and bad people, for the line between good and evil runs through every human heart. We realize that we are interconnected, as in a web, and that each act with pure motivation affects the entire web, bringing consequences we cannot measure or even see.
But insight alone can seem too cool to keep us going. So we need as well the heat of compassion, our openness to the world’s pain…
On the Epiphany, I thank Trump for the grief he has awakened in so many hearts.
May we make good medicine of it.