In the face of this we pray. In the face of this we love. In the face of this we forgive. Because the vast majority of water protectors know this is the greatest battle of all: to keep our hearts intact. Lyla June Johnston, young Native leader to Timothy Egan (NY Times, Dec. 2, 2016) at the North Dakota prairie camp where the Standing Rock Sioux are making a stand to keep an oil pipeline away from water that is a source of life for them.
Something has changed with the recent elections. The dangers to America and to the planet became more real to many, the threats to people more imminent.
Trump’s election calls people who fell asleep to awaken—a call to engagement and action.
America has many problems besides Trump and Pence: jobs, debt, wars, racism, sexism, terrorism, healthcare, homophobia, xenophobia, demagoguery, immigration, islamophobia, income inequality, a crumbling infrastructure and climate change along with many other threats to the natural world. But our biggest problems may be fear, anxiety, ignorance and the damage to the human spirit assaulted from all directions by egos without restraint. And, not on the horizon but needed most of all, we need value driven leadership.
We need to nurture, support and aspire to become spiritual warriors who do not identify with the tribe, state, demographic group and even nation. Spiritual warriors identify with life itself. Regardless of our differences, all people share a common humanity. Our spiritual warrior knows that much of human history is madness and she lives determined to contribute to a saner world. The spiritual warrior understands that we live in an interconnected planetary community, and we depend on one another. Relationships matter and diversity is required for a sustainable community. She wants everyone to have dignity and to live a good life.
Our warrior has thought long and hard about her purpose in life—her reason for being. She knows her values and holds herself accountable for living true to them. Committed to learning to live in healthy and sustainable ways, she shares what she learns with others. All efforts to help life matter—small or large. All of us have many opportunities each day to lighten another person’s load in life. We don’t have to be a celebrity—we just have to care and want to help others.
The spiritual warrior gets courage from her vision, values and purpose. She weds power with values and strength with goodness. She knows that provoking the status-quo is dangerous and she may get hurt. She goes forward anyway. Spiritual warriors fight for all of life and the life of the planet earth. They fight against anti-life and anti-human forces. They fight for our humanity. Each of us can be a spiritual warrior in our own way and do what we can to fight ignorance in ourselves, grow in consciousness and stand against those things that threaten our planet and our spirits.
Warriors can be angry people. Good people with gentle natures have much to be angry about. Their anger energizes forceful disapproval of lies told, trust betrayed, innocence violated, reality denied, power abused, and incompetence rewarded. They don’t turn indifferent or deny their anger and become sadistic and abusive. True warriors engage their anger and use its energy to empower themselves and free others.
We feel uncomfortable with anger and often fear warriors–even the one inside of us. An important part of our psyche—the warrior within us cannot be wished away. If we try to banish the warrior from our psychic system, we drive our aggression underground into the unconscious where anger will find expression in destructive ways. We need to learn how to feel and express our anger and how to react to the anger of others.
The walking dead surround us: the sycophants, indifferent, legions who comply and conform, those who claim entitlement and helplessness, countless who live small and petty lives and not a few villains. We can be better.
Younger generations need to take responsibility for the creation of the world they want for their children. Minorities need to get engaged, fight efforts to deny them their vote and cast their ballots no matter the inconveniences. Blue Collar men and women need to resist manipulation, get informed and act not only in their own self-interest but for national and global interests that support humanity. We need spiritual warriors in all groups, united by their shared humanity, who will stand up, speak up and take actions that remind us of our own best possibilities.
We live in difficult times that test our goodness.
God and politicians won’t save us. We are responsible.
Can we keep our hearts intact?