loving the unlovable
in response to a continuing experience of revulsion when i look at or even hear Donald Trump, i've started meditating with three photos of him - one haunting, expressionless photo of him as a child of three or four, and two as an adult. i look at the photos and focus on sending him Love. the other day, after looking at the photos for a few minutes, i closed my eyes and saw him standing in front of me, looking rather bored and annoyed. i walked toward him and extended my arms, offering a hug. he put his arms around me and shortly afterward his hands began to move down my back. i immediately, i grabbed his hands with mine and pinned his arms to his side, saying "No" with firm compassion, then put my arms around him again. as i held him in this way, he began to soften a little. (in retrospect, it feels as if his softening was the beginning of a letting go of the construct he had created as someone who harasses and abuses women. it was like a deep sigh of exhaustion.) then, as he softened more, he began to cry. so i sat on the floor and held him like a child. he put his head in my lap, and as i stroked that orange hair with one hand while the other hand cradled his head, he let go and began to weep. i could feel that he was weeping at all the ways he had hurt people, the earth and so many beings... it was a deep grief and regret at all he had done out of his extraordinary pain. i continued to hold him, and, as i came out of the meditation, found myself weeping with compassion.
i know this may sound totally weird. but, similar to the realization i had about George W. Bush many years ago, in that moment i realized that Donald Trump may be a bodhisattva. what if his soul has chosen to take this form to help wake up white folks like me to our unearned privilege and our unexamined assumptions? when i think of Bodhisattvas, i usually picture the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa or Thich Nhat Han. but GW? Donald Trump? i guess i need to adjust my expectations of what the qualifications are for being a bodhisattva.
a couple of days after this meditation experience, a friend posted about his frustration, anger and grief at what is happening in this country and the world. he was deeply upset, and was basically asking for help and feedback about his outrage. someone wrote in response, "The only option is to resist. Everything else is BS." i totally get where this person was coming from. it is gut-wrenching to witness the continued downward spiral of this country's moral compass and the not-so-slow turning up of the heat on already marginalized people with the daily barrage of tweets, new policies and so-called "laws." my deep concern for true democracy and compassionate governance grows as we careen ever more quickly toward a 1984 police state in the guise of "the land of the free."
however, as much as i sometimes want to join a revolution, pitch my tent on the lawn of the White House with a big "WTF?!?!" sign, or scream expletives at the corporate CEO's profiting from caging children, i know that the kind of resistance they spoke of is not the answer. we all know where that leads... "meet the new boss- same as the old boss." it doesn't get to the root of the problem. in his journey to awakening, the Buddha realized that desire and aversion only generate more desire and aversion. resistance only creates more resistance, and it becomes an endless cycle of suffering.
in sitting with these two experiences, i have come to believe one of the best ways to change what i am witnessing in the actions of this administration is to invite as many people as possible who do not support his policies and actions to pray for, and send Love to, Donald Trump. we can send Love to help open his heart to who he really is and remember that he is part of the Greater Consciousness of Love. we can pray for the opening of our own hearts to all who we demonize and separate from, especially if we believe we are all One. let me be clear, however, that this does not mean sitting quietly by and writing it all off with platitudes of "it's all perfect."
prayer alone is not the answer. nor is resistance. prayer without action is nice, but it maintains the status quo. but revolution based in anything other than Love only adds more fuel to the fire - an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. rather, it's an alchemical blend of justice fueled by compassion- of love for our fellow humans, for the earth and all its inhabitants. it's an often heart-wrenching, sometimes joyful and even ecstatic primal dance of feeling all of our feelings - our rage, our grief, our terror - in order to move the energy from the depths of our souls outward toward the creation of "the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible."*
what might be available if i live from that space with every single breath? how could i be of greater service to the awakening of humanity in living that alchemy? and when i forget, how can i gently remind myself to re-member? today, i choose to re-focus my attention on embracing that from which i draw away in disgust, on releasing that to which i cling as my identity, on loving who i believe is unlovable. because it is all me. all of it. if i think it's not, i'm wrong.
*check out Charles Eisenstein's book, the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible