I belong to a spiritual friends group, and at our last
meeting one of our members posed the question, “How do we develop spiritual
practices to deal with all the hate coming from the Trump administration?”
One thing is that while it’s important to stay informed and
be part of forums for discussion on current events, it’s also important not to
drown in the barrage of bad news, so put some realistic limits on your
exposure. I know I’ve had to take
myself off social media some days as I sank into despair in the constant news of yet another
outrage from our new administration and righteous anger from my Facebook
Our group talked about how meditation worked for some people
as a coping practice, but not all of us.
For some, meditative practices take the form of yoga or playing the
piano, for example, or spiritual reading.
We agreed that as part of our spiritual practice we needed
to somehow push back, to feel we were making a difference. Sometimes this will
mean taking to the streets again in protest, as some of our members did for the
recent Women’s March. But small but
insistent incursions on our communities’ woes, like volunteering for a good
not solving all the country’s problems, do carve out a sphere of good in a sea
Another way to push back is by donating to a cause that
benefits one targeted by Trump, like the Human Rights Campaign for LGBT
advocacy and Planned Parenthood for women’s rights. Even a small donation can
make a difference when it’s multiplied by many people.
Perhaps most important of all is the purest way to deal with
hate, and that is with love. All of us
in the group knew intellectually that this was right, but in all our imperfect,
Buddhist-learning good intentionedness would find it challenging to put into
practice. So we will put our love out
there maybe not for the source of the hate, but for those under fire from it.
The trick is to be able to cultivate hope in the midst
of an environment that can so easily create hopelessness, not only for those
directly affected by new executive orders, for example, but also for all of us who
worry for the present and future of our country and our world. Me, remembering the admonition that there
are no atheists in foxholes, I’ve added prayer to my arsenal of spiritual
I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions because I think they
put too much pressure on us to be perfect versions of ourselves, which I think
is an impossibility. But I got in the
spirit the other night of what I prefer to think of as promises to ourselves,
and came up with a few I thought I could keep.
Some are uniquely mine but others may resonate with you, too.
the faith. In the face of a Trump
presidency this is going to be the hardest resolution but the most
more time with friends.
forgiveness—especially towards yourself.
Exercise. Getting up and down from your recliner a
few times a night doesn’t count.
better. A diet of Lean Cuisines
for dinners doesn’t do the trick if you have junk food snacks every
yourself harder at work. Really,
really a lot more so you can continue to pay the rent.
more freelance editing gigs. Editing makes you feel great and puts you in
that excellent state of flow. Plus
the extra bread is helpful.
your creative mojo working again!
for work on workdays. You invented Pajama Day as a Sunday tradition--stop
turning every day into Pajama Day (a peril of working at home).
being such a hermit. Take a class, join a club. Go to more cultural events. Meet new people.
“Sometimes the days burst open like seedpods and we see
thousands of futures, and it’s so much that our throats swell and we can’t do
anything but turn away and try and forget that gleaming, all that
possibility. Who could live into such
brightness? Sometimes the days beat
their wings slowly so we can take their measures, so we know how lucky we are
that we are being given just one moment more.”
Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever