this morning as i sit to write, many thoughts run through my mind. i find it difficult to quiet the busy chatter in my head. i flit from thoughts of the fear that many who fear apprehension and deportation must feel to thoughts of the attacks on journalists that are coming from our present administration in washington to the meditation class i'm taking now. as my fingers move over the keyboard, i am hoping that the act of typing this post helps to calm and focus my mind.
i feel my breath slowing and deepening and look at the black letters beginning to fill the blank white space in front of me. i focus on the benefits of meditation, on how turning my attention to my breath stills my mind and allows me to sense the place where i am. i feel the support of my favorite chair and the touch of my upper arm to the arm of the chair. i feel the weight of my right ankle as it crosses over my left with my left foot resting on the floor in front of the chair. from the corner of my eye i see our little dog resting in his bed in front of the fireplace. i hear the roar of the fan on the heat pump as warm air flows into the room. to my left is my glass of water on the end table and to my right my reading light glows, the only light in the room right now. in sensing the present, my mind calms and the apprehension about the policies of donald trump fade, though just the thought of his name revives a sense of dread about the future of our country and the pain many are feeling because of what may be in store for them.
i embrace the feeling of anxiety, recognizing that it is a part of the present moment just as the calm that concentration on my breathing is. the two exist together. i know that the tension i feel rises from compassion for those whose suffering is increased by mr. trump's policies, and i know, too, that the tension motivates me to actively oppose those policies. i am filled with hope as i see the protests taking place across the country, the demand that our elected representatives examine the havoc that their policies will wreak on people's lives as anxious citizens fill town hall meetings across the country. i am filled with hope as i hear of those willing to take risks to shelter those who fear deportation and as law enforcement authorities refuse to cooperate with the federal authorities in apprehending those who are undocumented. i am filled with hope as those in the "intelligence community" speak out against policies that make our country less safe in the face of double-speak that claims those same policies are intended to make us more safe.
in many ways, we see the unfolding of orwell's novel in the political language we hear. as federal regulations that protect our environment--our water, our air, the plants and animals that are essential to our well-being--are dismantled we are told it is for our own good, since we will be more prosperous as a result. our health is less important than our wealth we are told, but the wealth will flow to those who are already wealthy as the great mass of us become poorer and sicker. targeting those coming into the country because they are from certain "terrorist" countries will make us safer, though no evidence exists that such a policy will do so. detaining those whose skin is the "wrong" color, whose first name is "suspicious," whose religion is suspect is a prudent exercise of authority we are told, as a british teacher is refused entry and sent back to the united kingdom, as a french academic is held in the airport for hours and is afraid that he will be escorted onto a plane back to france in shackles, as the son of a great american sports hero is held despite ample evidence that he is who he claims to be. we are supposed to believe that these actions are the acts of a just government, a rightful exercise of authority, examples of the application of the rule of law.
as i write of these unconscionable actions, more indicative of a fascist dictatorship than a free country, the tension level rises and i return to my breath. my anger is a good thing. it reminds me that we cannot allow these policies to go unchallenged. the calm that focusing on my breath and this present moment brings is a good thing, too, helping me to see that this anger, though justifiable, is not who i am, just as mr. trump's policies are not who we are as citizens of the usa. the anger has to be channeled into constructive courses, it must be tempered by reason and compassion, focusing on helping those who are harmed by what has happened as a result of the last election.
may we who are citizens of this country see that, in order to help ourselves, we must stand up for the values on which our country was founded--that all are created equal with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. may we not tolerate a country where so many live in fear, where the rich become richer at the expense of the poor, where support for the weakest among us is withdrawn in order to build more weapons and train more soldiers, where people are belittled because of their race, religion, physical appearance, or sexual orientation. may we breathe deeply, behave rationally, and exercise our right to protest the wrongs we see taking place around us. shalom.