Some Practices to Cultivate Starting Today
If you find that your hours and days are saturated with or infected by political flotsam and jetsam such that you quite regularly feel a host of human emotions that cluster in and around oh, I don’t know, outrage, anxiety, hopelessness, fear, depression, suppression, humiliation, grief and all that — and if it feels in any degree more than you are comfortable with — then issue number one (hi and welcome, by the way) about things we conscious humans can do right now today, as individuals, to move to a better emotional neighborhood, is for you.
Do you pretty much live and work in this neighborhood, as it were, by submerging your Self in “the news” and going down all manner of social media and other rabbit holes, online and offline (way too much)? Do you thus experience this cluster of emotions over and over, all the time? If so, that’s evidence itself of a deficit of consciousness.
Would you say, perhaps, that you’re not quite that bad but, still, one way or another, you absolutely feel the fear and anxiety, anger and grief, and the rest more than you’d care to? If so, it is infusions of consciousness, my friend, that will provide the relief you seek.
Problems are created by deficits of consciousness and solved with infusions of consciousness.
In this context and for the duration, consciousness refers to how we humans think; it refers to gaining mastery over what it is we are thinking or, more to the point, believing; it refers to making choices about what to think or believe and feel at any given moment; it refers to being clear about what we want; it refers to creating futures free of problems.
As someone who was born and raised in the neighborhood of fear and anxiety, anger and grief, and the rest, I can affirm that it is possible to move out. It is possible to move to an emotional neighborhood where those kinds of feelings are perhaps not felt at all, ever, or in such reduced ways that they do not impede one’s happiness. I can affirm how easy it is to be humming along one minute and then snap right into the old emotional neighborhood with Olympian rage and rebellion the next and then snap right back out of it again as though it hadn’t happened at all. Old/new, back/forth, on/off, up/down, start/stop, topsy/turvy, oy oy oy.
I can affirm it will require letting go of a lot of old consciousness, old ways of thinking. And I can affirm, quite happily, that letting go of old ways of thinking in favor of new ways of thinking is what humanity — humanity — is all about right now. Say it with me: paradigm shift.
This transition in human consciousness is happening whether we like it or not, whether we’re aware of it or not, and whether we believe it or not. Those of us who have this perspective are having an easier time of it these days; those of us who don’t are not.
By nature, transitions have aspects of the old and aspects of the new all swirling around at the same time. When the blender gets turned on for a second and the beautiful, fresh, organic bananas, strawberries, and blueberries swimming in their organic nut milk and spring water are instantly mangled in a loud and violent display on their way to becoming a healthy, delicious smoothie, we don’t stop and complain about the violence and destruction because we know it’s just part of the process.
We are in a process, people, and that will be the case for the remainder of our lives. Here, then, are some things that will help us navigate in, yes, a conscious manner:
Discern between old and new consciousness.
For certain, being able to discern, at any given moment, what is part of the old, dying consciousness and what is part of the new, emerging consciousness will be one of the best skills one can develop in service of practicing conscious politics. A quick example: when I look at our president I can’t help but see a perfect embodiment of the old, dying consciousness, but that’s just me. Every syllable, every word, every action seems so obviously steeped in it. He’s a freaking master! It helps, honestly, to remain mindful of a truth I once heard attributed to a Texas cowboy: a dying bull kicks the hardest. It applies.
Every single one of us is either operating from the old, the new, or something in between. Conscious politics is about stepping into the new more and more for the rest of our lives.
[See also: “Pay attention to your feelings.”]
Get clear about what you believe.
Beliefs matter because beliefs create experience. And beliefs are nothing more than thoughts we have thought over and over again. Conscious humans start to get really good at identifying what it is they believe about anything at any given time. In my Spiritual Workout classes I am always asking people to burrow down to what it is they are believing about what’s happening because once we identify a belief or set of beliefs that is creating unwanted experience, all we need to do is change the belief. Easy peasy.
When in conversation with others who do not share our points of view, it will be the skilled conscious politics practitioner who can bring those conversations to the level of belief — and keep them there. I believe we humans are all equal, that none of us are better than others of us, and that’s why the idea of building a wall on one of our borders is anathema to me. What do you believe?
Trust that you are right where you’re supposed to be.
One of our concepts is we are here for a reason. That means that we got born on purpose for a purpose; it means we are always in any given present moment for a purpose; it means there are no accidents.
That means it was part of your soul’s journey to live in these times and to think about these things. One way to navigate from this perspective, especially when we are not so much enjoying our present moments or even our overall life experience, is to ask this question: Who do I have to be in this situation or what muscle or trait do I have to develop to navigate to a place of peace (assuming that’s what I want)?
I’d rather leave you pondering that question than offer up ideas that may or may not resonate with you for the answer is something that is customized for you. A project as I like to call it. And when you ask it of your Self, the answer will have two key features: it will be conceptually rather simple (e.g., I have to be more compassionate) and it will have an air of familiarity to it (e.g., yeah, that’s been on the back burner for some time now or, yeah, that keeps coming up).
This is another of the 15 concepts we adhere to and, for today, let’s keep it on the meta side. Just take a moment to look at the entire political landscape, however it looks to you, taking its measure, and see if you can be present with it. Being present means full acceptance of everything as it is. It means no judgment, no labels. Nothing is good or bad, right or wrong, it just is. The president is the president. The economy is the economy. The pandemic is the pandemic.
It’s not about liking any of it nor is it about condoning anything. It’s about getting out of the neighborhood of fear and anxiety, anger and grief, and the rest. It’s about getting to a place of neutrality — at a minimum — and taking action from there.
Start thinking about what you’d prefer to experience.
The law of attraction is always on, which means that we are always getting more and more of what we think about and more and more of what we feel. It’s also why we get stuck in the fear and anxiety, anger and grief, and the rest neighborhood. We have to consciously decide to put our attention elsewhere and since we get what we think and talk about and what we feel, we may as well think and talk about and feel things we actually want to experience. Whatever that desire is, is an intention and intentions matter for many reasons.
Most people I know can’t even express a sentence about what they’d prefer to experience with regard to our politics and there’s room for improvement for most of us as paragraphs are what we’re after. The good news is that what you’d prefer to experience is actually right inside the juicy center of all you’re not appreciating. For example, if I unconsciously lament over and over again living in a society where homelessness is pervasive, I will talk quite consciously, instead, in terms of living in a society where not only does everyone have a home, they have homes in which they are comfortable and from which they can create satisfying lives. It just takes practice.
Pay attention to your feelings.
There’s just no getting around it: the new consciousness is all about heart, which is all about truth — and compassion. And, yes, feelings. As spiritual beings having our human experiences living in this time of transition, needing to discern truth from non-truth, needing to decide what’s right and best for us at any given moment, needing to sort and sift through onslaughts of information and opinion and data, it is our feelings that will guide us. It’s another hallmark of the new consciousness that we have had familiarity with in the old, but now it’s going to be the way.
You are likely far more powerful than you think.
One of the more interesting components of this work, for me, is the toggle we will continually experience between who we are and what we want as individuals and who we are and what we want as a society. Let us thus remember that we are all connected, that positive change in one of us helps to create positive change in all of us. We are already on our individual journeys so let’s see how that will translate into our collective journey.
Meet your new best friend: Compassion.
In essence, everything that the new consciousness is about is compassion. Some even call it the Age of Compassion. It’s about leading with compassion. It’s about compassion as the raison d’etre of our society; of our businesses; of our politics. There isn’t one of us who doesn’t want this, deep down anyway, and we have not been so great, yet, as a society, at cultivating it.
So I’ll leave you with this hint for everyday practice: in a world where choices abound, we can always choose between compassion and judgment. So practice knocking off the judgment. That should keep you busy for a while.
Thank you, dear reader, for being here for the launch of this newsletter. It seemed prudent in this first issue to offer up an array of themes and ideas buffet-style to which we will return again and again. New items will be added and it is my deepest desire that many of the them will have been special requests, as it were. What are your special requests?
Talk to me.
P E A C E .