Debate Prep

So it's tonight. I'm going to be watching, like a hundred million others; 
only I'm going to be watching in two directions.

One outward, one inward. Eyes on the TV, and the internal witness on the circus of reaction going on within. In this climate of outrageous divisiveness, it's important to cultivate consciousness. The debate tonight could serve as a trigger for a very special mindfulness practice.

Here's my intention:

1. Be still. (Spouting my opinions into the room adds nothing to the actual wellbeing of the world. Self expression is important, yes...but not the noise of judgment, self-righteousness, and contempt that makes up so much of my speech on this matter.) Stillness creates the environment for the next step.

2. Watch the circus. (All my reactions: fear, sarcasm, glee at the opponent's misfortune, outrage, disappointment, pride, confusion, whatever comes up.) Just name the thoughts as they come up. None of these thoughts are my essential nature. They're just thoughts that I believe. Trump has them. Clinton has them. We all have them. We all think we're right, and that people who disagree are just wrong. Few of us make time to really listen. Few of us make much space for "I don't know." Tonight I will name all the things I think are true, and hold these things as merely thoughts that I believe. Not the actual Truth.

3. Practice compassion. Everyone, including the candidates, everyone who follows them, our family, our friends, our enemies--everyone is doing their best, given what they believe. (Ha. I just noticed the contempt that showed up when I thought of certain people, in the context of "they're doing their best." I absolutely didn't buy it. But you know what? That distrust, the very force of my contempt, is a mindfulness bell, leading me back home to my own awareness.) As a human being, I want what I want, and I think I "know" what's right. Nothing wrong with that, it's just what I believe. People on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me? They're doing the exact same thing. We are the same. Can I find compassion for everyone, using this train of thought?

4. Take action. If I feel called to taking some kind of action as a result of this debate, then I'll do it. Consciousness, mindfulness, is not the same as indifference. It's the opposite. We can actually be more effective, when we are aware of our own reactivity and compassionate about everyone else's. Make sure you're registered and everything is in order. If your friends need help getting ready, help them out. Everybody vote.