With the election of Trump, I feel a tsunami of hate has been unleashed surging around the world, in which so many acts of racism, misogyny, homophobia and prejudice have been legitimised using Trump as a role model. The fear at the root of this negative, destructive energy is swallowing up not only those who are the targets of this hate, but also the perpetrators as well. Hatred wells up out of fear, out of ignorance, out of a feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless. And yet, even if we meet this hatred with anger, then we too become consumed by its energy. So how are we to deal with these negative energies? Where do we find comfort? How do we protect ourselves?
I have often been asked how I deal with the negative energy of angry or aggressive people I encounter, or how I cleanse the energy of Wabi’an to make it clear and pure, or how do I protect myself from negativity. But spiritual practice for me is not about building armour around myself or my sacred spaces; it is about learning how to open my heart wider and wider so that negativity simply flows through. Openness is not the same as filtering; it is not that your heart becomes a strainer collecting all the crap! The practice is to open your heart until it is like the vastness of the sky.
In Japanese Buddhism, the word for emptiness is the same as the word for sky, so that when we practice “emptiness” it means to feel like your heart and mind are as vast and open as the sky. In meditation terms, this is “sky mind”: a feeling of complete expansive openness. When your heart is as wide as the sky, that ’emptiness’ is then filled up with feelings of unconditional love and compassion for all beings. And this includes unconditional love for those who are tormented by the hate that leads to harmful actions. This practice of opening your heart is the antidote to fear.
That is not to say that you shouldn’t feel anger or sadness or the need to vent and rail at injustice. I felt so sad after the news that Trump was to be president because I have many dear friends who are suffering a deep and genuine grieving at this turn of events and who fear for themselves and their children. And I also believe that there is no one who is not going to impacted by this – in Australia, as well as America, and in fact all of the world. His presidency is a harbinger of dark times.
It’s natural to feel these strong emotions, and indeed you can use these emotions as an object of meditation: when you feel angry, feel it with your whole body, feel where in your body that anger expresses itself, explore that part of your body with careful attention and mindfulness. You don’t have to berate yourself for having strong reactions to everyday life events, but it is important to use those feelings as a focal point for your attention. Ask yourself, what is happening inside me when I feel this anger? This shift in awareness is enough in itself to also dissipate the intensity of the emotion.
But after the rant, there has to be a conscious working towards collective healing. I have always felt secure and safe, ensconced in my little cocoon of isolation here in a beautiful corner of the planet, surrounded by my birds and trees and Kuan Yin blessings; and yet, I cannot ignore the burning heat of the negative energy of the anger and fear that is now corroding the peace of the people I care about and love. It is up to you and I to make a commitment to keep practicing opening our hearts because the world is suffering and our genuine, unconditional love is the only balm for our own grief and pain and it is the only antidote to hatred.
The events surrounding Trump’s election have deeply rocked me and I can no longer be complacent. I am now definitely out of retirement and I am available for spiritual counselling if you need support or guidance for your own spiritual practice. You can make an arrangement to visit me at Wabi’an or have an appointment via Skype. Let’s work together to heal all sentient beings ❤
4 thoughts on “Opening our hearts to hate and fear”
On Monday night, sitting under the giant golden Moon, all alone (or so it felt) I felt my heart open wide. And in my imagination I travelled to every nook and cranny of the world. There I gently put Love.
Oh it felt so good and I smiled there on the porch all alone.
Suddenly out of the dark flew a little Owl who came right up to my face almost and stared straight into my eyes before flying silently to a landing spot just a little way away.
The Owl and I sat quietly together under the golden Moon, a reminder that we are not alone, mysteries still unfold and all really is well.
Love to you dear Blessing xx
Oh, thank you, Gabi, for this perfect little gem of wisdom – a reflection of your beautiful open heart ❤
Thankyou for your words Cate.
It definitely opens our thoughts to how we are really feeling right now in the bringst of the worlds activities of politics and disaster. I have to admit I remove myself from the news. Maybe that is a little cowardly, I am not sure. I do know that it doesn’t make me less compassionate for all beings in our world today.
I too faced my own reaction to the Trump election and after reflection have come to find peace inside. Otherwise there is only fear and pain.
If we practice and meditate loving kindness , we can only have an open heart for all beings. To live with peace, to share peace with a “sky mind” and a “heart mind”. To let go of fear and unhelpful thoughts “equanimity” ❤
Thank you, Anette, for your beautiful words of wisdom. Yes, equanimity is a state of heart-mind that helps us to generate loving kindness towards all beings – thank you for this reminder of its importance ❤