Hope Amid Our Polarized Election
By David Youngren
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The world is divided. Our current political climate in the United States has certainly accentuated our differences and heightened our intolerance of anyone who doesn’t hold our worldview.
Yet many of us have this sense that amid our divergence there’s a compelling new story emerging about where we are heading and what connects us all.
To get there, a good place to start is perhaps with some introspection, and specifically what the election reveals about us. Why do we get so passionate about two people that we don’t know? Let’s face it. None of us is exactly neutral in this election. Once we find our favorite candidate, we often overlook their shortcomings and demonize the other candidate for theirs.
The question is why…Why do we judge one candidate more harshly than the other? Why are we inclined to see the one candidate through rose-colored glasses and the other through dark shades?
It boils down to love and ego…Okay, I admit that at first glance it sounds a bit strange but stay with me here. We are going somewhere.
What is love? The short answer according to spiritual mystics is: God is love. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spoke of love as the energy at the heart of the Big Bang, deeply embedded into the universe as the cosmological force. In other words, love for him was the fundamental force of the universe or the hidden divine presence in all things.
And I agree! Love is the principal and integrated energy field of the universe, the substance of the infinite consciousness that is the source of life. The purpose of our existence is then to awaken to love as our true self – to be aware of that dimension within us that is one with God. To move beyond the limitations of the ego-mind and awaken to our oneness with the Spirit.
The ego, on the other hand, is our identification with our thoughts. It needs to feel special and superior to others. It craves love but has been hoodwinked to believe that love must be deserved by standing out and being good enough.
How does this relate to the election? Think of it this way…
Since the ego is continually looking for ways to enhance its sense of self, we look for a political candidate who will affirm our thoughts, worldview, beliefs, ideas, and affiliations. To the ego, their affirmation of what we stand for is an affirmation of who believe ourselves to be. Because they make us feel secure, we overlook their flaws – even major ones. We justify their words and actions. They validate and approve of us, and that’s what matters most.
If a candidate doesn’t share our views, then our sense of identity is threatened, and that triggers fear. So, the ego rejects him or her. We are then no longer able to accurately and impartially or receive from them. Our hearts cannot perceive what they offer as good, because the ego-mind perceives their views as an attack on who we are.
Reality may be the total opposite, but the rational mind is blinded by the insecurity of the heart. Strangely, the rational mind is preprogrammed to view facts through a lens based on self-preservation and self-validation rather than the truth that sets us free.
The Problem with Rejection
Let’s bring it one step closer to home. While out for a walk a few years ago, I became preoccupied with some people in my life. They annoyed me, and I began to judge their work ethics, their actions, and their decisions.
Noticing how my demeanor and mood was changing, I stopped myself and considered why I was judging them. Was it really about all the things that I thought they were doing wrong? Or was something else going on?
As I reflected for a moment, I realized that deep down I was interpreting some of their words and actions as a form of rejection of me. It was not their intention. Nevertheless, it was my subconscious perception. They made me feel insecure, like I was not enough, less than what I needed to be to be completely loved and accepted.
When my heart experienced that form of rejection, my mind sought to justify those feelings. Directed by the insecurity entrenched in my subconscious, my rational mind began to look for proof, or arguments, that would make me feel better about myself. Finding fault with them became the logical conclusion. Of course, we know that the real problem was not them, but it was the rejection that I felt through my interaction with them. I was not conscious of the transcending love that flows from the source of all life.
None of us are immune to this inferior consciousness. It affects every area of our lives, including politics. Maybe that’s why voting, in a mysterious way, is often less about the best candidate for the country, and more about who validates my ego, who makes me feel secure about who I am and what I believe.
A Better Way
So, what’s the answer? We must move beyond an egoic consciousness and awaken to the Spirit within us. When we are aware of God within as our true self, the fear of not being good enough will diminish. We are aware of infinite selfless (less self) love that transcends all.
The need to judge another as either good or bad will then fade. It’s there that we can make good decisions, even political ones, because the heart filters facts, or issues, through a higher Christ consciousness based on selfless love and grace.
Your view of others shifts from negativity and judgment to hopeful and life-giving. Forgiveness toward those who have offended you, empathy for people who are different from you, and generosity to the ones who are struggling will naturally emerge. Because ultimately, we are all one.
In the Christian tradition, Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He didn’t say to love them as much as we love ourselves, but to love them as if they were us. Another time, he told his followers what you do to the least of these you do unto me. The Father was in Jesus, and Jesus was in the prisoners, the strangers, the naked, the hungry, the thirsty, and the sick.
The point is that when we awaken to the divine love within us, we shift from an egoic consciousness that seeks to protect and defend its reality about what is right or wrong to a Christ consciousness where we identify with the humanity in others through compassion, kindness, forgiveness, non-judgment, and generosity. You are conscious of Christ in you. You observe and experience Christ in everything. And you identify with Christ as everything. Maybe that’s the real hope amid a polarized world.
David Youngren is a philanthropist, author, and an international teacher (has spoken to more than one million people at live events), who inspires and guides spiritual seekers from every background to awaken to the wonder of who they are. His latest book, Awakening To I Am Love is available at major online retailers. For more information, click here.