Soon begins our collective journey into meditation.
“What does that entail?” one may rightly ask at the beginning of any journey.
A journey implies a challenge and a destination. Meditation is the act of being mindful, which is the state of being present.
Collectively, this means that we are on an eternal quest, or a quest for eternity – you can look at this project whichever way you prefer, or any in between.
All existence is subject to reciprocity. This is not binarism – not one or the other – but an understanding that all are existing in unison.
If none of these ideas make sense to you, please don’t feel distressed, discouraged or unwelcome. This project is about our journey into being mindful of one another’s
needs, as well as our own. Our focus is on understanding and sharing, in no particular order.
Although I don’t intend on broaching too many controversial topics (thus precluding modern politics), the essence of this project is a response to the negativity that
is the result of actions taken by the international press media, governments, and institutions that serve us all. And it is a response to how we reflect that negativity onto one another and ourselves. We are a big mess of sentiments that overlap,
intersect and are diametrically opposed, both within our communities and within ourselves.
I prefer to think of myself as a conscious, well-educated being; yet there are times in my individual existence that I feel absolutely distraught for no discernible
reason. It simply feels like the whole of existence is awash with negativity.
On the flip side, there are times when I feel overwhelmed with feelings of joy and abundance, equally seemingly out of nowhere, and all I want to do is hug the
entirety of the universe!
So, to keep this from being specifically about me, politics, or anything in particular, I’d like to use a public occurrence from today to initiate us into our journey towards mindful practices.
Today, the incumbent US President Obama gave his final press conference. As an avid watcher of the US government and press, I have taken notes of his words, which I have
whittled down into more general points for reflection and intention. Being his final address as President, I believe that this was a genuine opportunity for honesty from this person of power, which I feel deserves our own reflection and intention.
Awareness has already taught me that many people will intuitively fight these statements and want this project to fail. We are constantly being conditioned by the herd to stay within the paradigm of the group. Mass comfort and acquiescence to the status quo has a huge effect on our ability to act. That’s why it is so important for us to break out of our daily routines and practice something so benign, so good for you that there will eventually be no basis on which to fight what is right any longer.
Persistence is key. Filter your feelings upwards and don’t worry so much about what may rain down on you. We are here to be each others’ umbrellas.
And so, without further ado, here are soon-to-be Mr.Obama’s points, re-framed for our own general reflection on the past and intention for the future:
- Mild humor about oneself is a great way to break the ice
- Those who hold power before us are worth respecting and listening to
- Counteracting for the sake of being controversial is adversarial and we must work to disperse these feelings (let go)
- We must use our individual power to defend those whose independence is being encroached upon, but we must use the whole community to judge adversity
- We must give our adversaries the opportunity to avoid punishment
- Our individual hot issues are normal parts of debate – we are all different in many ways. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose
- Nevertheless, there is a difference between normal functioning of relationships and our core human values being threatened. These core values boil down to individual
freedom of expression and freedom from harm
- If you open a dialogue with an adversary, over time you will see serious and significant improvement
- Some disagreements require bystanders who understand that an agreement cannot be reached at the present time and that the adversarial parties must separate for some
- After a time, the bigger person needs a reality check and dialogue must be breeched again
- We do have adversaries who want to use our openness, but it is in our interest to have constructive relationships
- We must do what we can to help each other be constructive members of our international communities
- We must elevate one another to use talents in constructive ways
- Humans are supposed to be skeptical so that our chosen leaders are accountable
- Skepticism keeps government honest and harder working
- Open dialogue is the way to keep information flowing between communities and leadership
- Reasoned and informed debates lead to progress
- Humans need the right accountability, openness and transparency to best function collectively. This means sharing.
- Our views are shaped by our advisors
- We can’t move big things on our own
- We must get the best information
- If you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down; or if you’re only hearing from people who agree with you on everything; or if you haven’t created a
process that is fact-checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you’ve made, that’s when you start making mistakes.
- Discrimination is an old way of thinking, particularly in days of open travel
- Activism can be loud and noisy but also quiet and very personal – don’t misinterpret personal styles
- We need to be in a position to talk to people in ways that sheds light as opposed to just generating sound and fury
- Be the best version of yourself
- Preserve basic norms and values in your every day life
- Reality has a way of biting you back if you’re not paying attention
- Take time to process this amazing experience
- Do some writing – be quiet and don’t just listen to yourself talk so much
- There will be consequences: actions typically create reactions
- Open people’s hearts and minds and our laws will catch up
- Being kind and likeable will change attitudes. Although this is not easy, it is honorable
- We need to be active citizens
- Don’t mope
- Don’t get cynical
- Our values don’t need to be vindicated. A choice of something else doesn’t mean we have been rejectd
- Be engaged and involved
- Say what you really think
- Be a no drama Obama
- Behind closed doors, curse more than you do publicly
How we can better our communities
- Fight for the dreamers (he’s talking about a specific group, but I like to take it a bit more loosely)
- Give people a chance to educate themselves
- The status quo is unsustainable
- Young people don’t understand discrimination
- Yound people are more tolerant and inclusive by instinct
- *This is me reading between the lines: older people need to bear in mind that kids are very susceptible to influence
- Elevate the people of merit. When everyone gets a chance, we end up getting better
- Anyone who is the best at anything is impressive. Take every opportunity to surround yourself with these people
- Our differences help us excel at many things as a community
- Inequality means that everyone doesn’t have a role to play. When we feel forgotten and disenfranchised, our world becomes ‘dog eat dog’
- We need to understand the core issues in our communities
- Justice must maintain integrity by being free of influence
- When we feel pressure from being fed information that encourges our worst instincts, we fall back on old fears and tensions/stereotypes
- Our countries are flawed and we have the responsibilities to fix them
- There is more good than bad in our world. There is a core decency
- There is evil in this world; but if we work hard and if we’re true to the things that feel right, the world gets a little better each time we choose true
- At your core, believe that we will be ok
- We have to fight for it, work for it, not take it for granted, help each other achieve it
What is this ‘it’? Rather than try to explain it in words, let us meditate on it. Prepare yourself: tomorrow we discuss meditation techniques in general and prepare to embark on our individual and collective journeys!
I know that this is a lot to take in. Not every post will be so long. Just breathe, we’re in this together. Focus on any one of these points and be mindful of how we can individually and collectively apply these to our lives. Set your intention and prepare yourself. January 20th is nearly upon us.
Disclaimer: I do not advocate for any one person, political party, system of influence, etc. I advocate for ideas whose time has come.
For the full Obama interview, see: