How to Cope in Challenging times from a Zen Perspective
We were all shocked by Donald Trump’s win that seemed improbable given his misogynist, racist, bully, narcissistic, ego-maniac, xenophobic banter, and self-proclaimed glorification. The question I must ask: is how do we keep our spiritual center in these changing and fearful times public hatred and negativity? This election and campaign cycle has opened up deep wounds for people. This toxic environment is not healthy for us in a toxic waste of hatred towards whole groups of people other than white males. We are a nation divided. We need to find ways to respect each other without falling into the well of fixed preconceptions and pessimistic notions. We are all people that need to see that fascism, tyranny can be defeated together, that democrats are for everyone not just for the rich. People need to see that arrogant statements to win an election is not realistic, and new ways can be found that do not support only white males for instance, having jobs
Pema Chodron stated in a recent article in Lion’s Roar, that it is important to remember to love each other and to express to each other this love (2016). She goes onto state the need to avoid the temptations of getting caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Another important thing to do is to recognize your deep profound sadness of the situation through meditation seeking the lessons of feeling vulnerable, fearful, and not grounded.
Zen Foundation founder, Norman Fischer suggests that we “play the long game” by having confidence in the power of goodness prevailing over time, and that the dark times bring about the heroic within us to overcome. “It’s OK to freak out, grieve, and vent for a while. Then we can get back to work, as always, for the good (2016).” Tragedies throughout history have provided us with a way to teach the world on many levels of how good overcomes evil.
There is a valid amount of grief to express and process our disappointment and how to move forward to stand together. This is where friends and family come in to our inner needs as a safe shelter from the outside challenges we all face. Our inner-child will need soothing through difficult times; just don’t stay in the stay in the muck. Allow actions to help you stay positive towards moving forward. As a friend, I personally try to not fix, or judge, or criticize people that come to me to express their fears and feelings. I do believe our suffering can come to a place of goodness if we work on solutions together and not on self-indulgent misleading thoughts, as the saying goes; control your thoughts or they will control you. Obsessive ideations of negative thoughts do not help us as a whole. This is the time to be adults and move forward in determined actions that will keep our country from falling apart. Embrace the challenges ahead together we can overcome.
Remember to keep your center through daily meditation, and the activities that keep you together and sane in times of crisis. We cannot change who we are. We must keep our talents alive through writing, art, music, and the joy we have in diversity of cultures, friends, and families. These qualities give us hope away from tyrannical rantings of a madman. Trump has the ability if we allow it, to trigger all the toxic behaviors that do not make us strong such as addictions, and impulsiveness. Trump is the epitome of that abusive father, or horrible narcissistic relationship, or the boss that abused you. The lessons are there to learn and defeat this illegitimate presidency. Keep a focus is more important than ever in order to fight the battles ahead as a solid voice of reasonability.
We must all work together to fight to keep the hard-earned rights of women, impoverished. We know that encampment of middle-eastern descent immigrants is not the way to forge new pathways in America. This kind of racist, xenophobic behavior only makes our country regress to a time of isolation and hatred. We must be compassionate warriors to voice what is right to our legislatures as the majority that we are. We must continue to teach our children to not succumb to racism and hatred. Be compassionate, vigilant, and brave in the face of this dangerous rhetoric. Wisdom and strength can win this battle to keep the rights we believe in and to continue to grow America and democracy in light not darkness. The actions of evil men must be held to accountability to the proverbial fire. We can do this.
Speary, R. M. (2016). Buddhist teachers respond to Trump’s presidential win. Lion’s Roar, online ed.
Written by Kathy Patikan RN MSN
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