Take a deep breath, exhale, and listen for the pleas amidst the noise and chaos.
It feels like the country is a mess and that post truth, and consequently mistrust, is bubbling with conspiracy, spins, lies, partial truths, and more lies! Simply unhealthy ego, work-in-process human condition and shortcomings that are offering platforms for tomorrow’s challenges, opportunities, and evolution.
Today’s social and mass media platforms reveal that America’s three-legged democracy stool is missing its third leg. Economics and politics are thriving; and the missing third leg, morality—ethics, character, decency, common good, honesty, integrity, probity, rectitude, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness—is blatantly obvious. Witness suppression of voting rights, mass and social media untruths, cyber and space warfare, infrastructure decay, squabbles about the new NCAA rule that allows athletes to monetize brands, Critical Race Theory, inequitable wages, healthcare and childcare shortcomings, systemic racism and casts, LGBTQ rights questioned, environmental degradation, untreated mental health, home grown terrorism, immigration overload and inhumanity, thriving white supremacy, baseless, sickening, political gobble de guke, education state-of-the-art and funding deficiencies, insane gun control, and the list could continue. The danger is continued and deepening division, fear, and autocracy; and the opportunity is to improve common good as individuals; and merge and participate in interactive dialogue and collectively manifest the missing third leg of the stool, morality, or common good, for all Americans. As Jonathan Sacks offers in Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times,
Recovering liberal democratic freedom will involve emphasizing responsibilities as well as rights; shared rules, not just individual choices; caring for others as well as for ourselves; and making space not just for self-interest but also for common good. Morality is an essential feature of our human environment, as important as the market (economics) and the state (politics), but outsourceable to neither. Morality humanizes the competition for wealth and power. It is the redemption of our solitude. (20)
An analytical glance reveals a least common denominator to be polarization, nurtured by festering, unhealthy selves that unleash pain and suffering in many forms. Meditation and collective, interactive dialogue offer a breath of evolutionary optimism and hope for Americans to have productive, interactive, authentic dialogue to build coalitions, work together, and experience compassion as the antibiotic to confront a nasty infection. No one needs to suffer, and no one wants to suffer.
Take a few minutes and sit with the question: What is the most important thing in my life right now?
If you are not already a meditator, a recommended next step is that you find a meditation coach and start a meditation practice. If you have never meditated before, have fun with it and be patient. To get you started, each morning practice sitting meditation for at least ten to twenty minutes. Find a comfortable, quiet place. You can sit in a chair, on a cushion, in your truck or car, or on the floor. When you sit in a chair, place your feet flat on the ground and sit upright. If you sit on the floor, sit in whatever way is comfortable: cross-legged, on a pillow, or on a meditation bench. Select a way that fits you! As you begin to take your seat, rock to the left and right, and then back and forth, to settle your buttocks. As you begin to settle in, sit with your head erect and your chin tucked in slightly. Put your shoulders back. Visualize your ears being aligned with your belly button; lift your head and neck as if they were being pulled by the sky. Find a comfortable position for your hands, such as resting them in your lap or one hand on each of your knees. You can sit with your eyes open or closed. If you sit with them open, lower your gaze, pick a spot on the floor in front of you, and let your eyes rest there. In sitting meditation, posture is like a foundation and is quite important for a resting mind: as the body goes, so goes the mind; as the mind goes, so goes the body. Good posture facilitates the easy flow of the breath, too. As you settle into your chosen posture, spend a few moments paying attention to your breathing, focusing on each in-breath and each out-breath. Feel your abdomen expanding when you breathe in. Feel it contracting when you breathe out. Note how the breath tickles the skin between your nose and upper lip. There is nothing to be accomplished, nothing to be gained. Notice your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Do not attach yourself to them, and do not reject them. Just observe them, let them go, and keep breathing. If you find you are having difficulty staying focused on your breath, use the technique of counting your breaths as a support. Take one in-breath and one out-breath, and count one, in, out, and count two, and so forth, until you reach ten. Once you have reached ten, count backward. Keep in mind that the point is not in getting to ten but in staying connected to your breath, being mindful of your breath. Just sit, pay attention, let go and listen for orders.
Sitting practice offers a tremendous sense of freedom and peace. With daily practice, meditation can quite easily become a part of your daily activities. The deep game is not about being dealt a better hand, but about playing the cards we are dealt with as much intelligence, care, and creativity as we possibly can. Now you are finally free to be the freedom you have been from the beginning. ‘Just this’ is the ultimate reward that comes from inhabiting the particular cartoon character you drew from this Kosmic deck of cards.
Just sit, pay attention and let go.