Battling Reality

It’s easy to frame the republican dominated legislatures in the United States as being in revolt against liberal ideals. That’s certainly true, but I see a deeper trend. What I see happening right now is a revolt against good government and civic virtue. A revolt against impartial justice and the rule of law. A revolt against empirical science and evidence-based reasoning. A revolt against empathy and self-sacrifice. A revolt against the common fate of our planet that binds all of humanity together. A revolt against the limits of the natural world. A revolt against centuries-long historical trends toward peace and justice. I see it as a revolt against reality itself.

This revolt cannot succeed, but it may cause a great deal of suffering before it consumes itself and we are able to resume the ancient and noble work of civilization — to more deeply establish humility, compassion, and restraint in human society.

Viewed in this way, the Bannon administration as I’ll call it is ultimately on a suicide mission. In the interim we must try and protect as many vulnerable people as we can. We may not be able to turn events from their set course in the short term. The momentum of history is strong and world events have a life and logic all their own. This drama will take years to play out, and the aftershocks will reverberate for generations.

We must be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. We must fuse unshakable resolve with a deep well of compassion for all beings. We must be ready to share a belly-laugh over the absurdity of it all, tremble in the presence of suffering, and confront ignorant cruelty with a stout heart and ready hands in every hour of every day.

To do this, equanimity will be as important as oxygen. The only way I know how to make equanimity a friend that stays with me in adversity is time on the cushion, resting with the breath and the heart. But everyone will have to find a way.

We, the resistance, are not battling reality. We accept what is happening in this moment as the hard truth of the world. At the same time we are giving birth to the better world that we are always envisioning in our hearts. With a firm commitment and an open and unflinching vulnerability of the spirit, we will work together to bring that world into being.

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