One of the more challenging issues I have faced in my spiritual journey is the process of rewriting old principles and ideals that had once been very important to me but are now limiting my experience.
It’s not because I don’t think it’s a good thing to change, the problem is that the old principles defined who I was and letting that go can feel like I’ve lost who I am until a new and more constructive ideal is created within my psyche.
It appears that our country, and perhaps the world, is going through the same kind of growing pains.
There is a transition time between letting go of one ideal and forming a new one to take its place. We can feel an unsteadiness in the foundation of who we believe ourselves to be until we have re-established a comfort level with a new belief.
A country, as well as a person, can feel lost without this stability when it comes to principles.
Without a doubt, the principles of our democracy are under pressure to change. But change to what? This is the debate currently going on within our society and it will take time to sort out.
Regardless of whether one is a fan of Mr. Trump, no one can deny his assistance burning down boundaries within our democracy during his presidency. This can be seen perhaps as an unappreciated gift, but one could also argue that it was necessary for change to happen on a large scale.
In addition, we have several other social justice movements within our society pushing for new and better boundaries.
We can find extreme situations going on within the media. On one hand we have a cancel culture which is currently focused on Governor Cuomo and sexual harassment accusations. Many Democratic leaders in Washington are calling for his resignation without an investigation into the situation.
For some reason these leaders have chosen to abandon the once shared ideal that we are a nation of laws with a process to handle these situations.
Conversely, we have Mr. Trump who has lied repeatedly, attempted to overthrow our democracy, has also been accused of sexual harassment and offended various groups of people. With no responsibility attached to Trump’s conduct, the RNC is currently heralding him as a demigod and even made a gold statue of him at a recent convention.
Polls show that there is large bipartisan majority support from the public for the covid relief package that republicans in Washington are totally against. It’s as if these leaders are living a different reality, detached from the struggle going on in within our country. Or perhaps they don’t know what to do to help.
I have found myself watching the news on many occasions thinking ‘these people have totally lost their minds.’ But what I am seeing may just be the country’s process of reaction and transition as it attempts to rebalance its collective ideals.
This yin-yang between extreme expressions may be a needed step in the process, but the secret to finding balance is always by reaching for the middle ground or that sweet spot between the two extremes.
When you place yourself in the middle of two opposites, you can still see both sides. It’s only when one goes too far to the left or too far to the right that we become unbalanced and unable to relate to a different perspective.
It’s a simple enough concept but the idea of embracing a little bit of one and a little bit of the other is challenging, especially when one has a deeply valued belief system.
It’s like inviting a vegan and a meat eater to dinner and offering something for both of them. Different principles but we can still find a way to eat together if both sides agree to share a table.
Sharing a table means finding common ground and that’s where one’s rational thought comes in handy. It takes the ability to put one’s emotional reactions to the side for a moment.
Considering another angle doesn’t mean one gives up their sense of power or personal opinion. It’s simply allowing room for multiple opinions to coexist.
We can do this for ourselves by choosing to contemplate the various conflicts facing our nation right now within our own psyche or maybe even with another person.
By creatively taking on the various sides of a conflict on a mental level, we can start to build a flexibility of thought that may lead us to a broader perspective or understanding.
By taking part in this type of creative exercise we can each do our part to help the country in its efforts to confront and rewrite its old outdated beliefs and ideals.