Now Is The Time We Have Been Practicing For by Pamelah Stevens

I have been very hesitant to know what to say or write to people who come to me for guidance, stress relief, wisdom, and to vent. How can I sum up how I feel about the election outcomes, and where am I going from here:

  • in my attitude,
  • my philosophy,
  • spiritually,
  • and in action…….

In my search for meaning via various leaders, visionaries, and anonymous citizens, I came upon 3 pieces that spoke loudly to me. I can only hope they also inspire you, give you courage, help you to embrace your intentions, and make you less afraid of what has yet to be known.

First.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center, spoke loudest to me.

He said,

“Now is the time we have been practicing for.”

Today, after the 2016 elections in the U.S.,
we are living out the example of what happens when
what goes unacknowledged surfaces
and it feels like a new reality—–
but you know in your heart it is not.
When a shift in a system has occurred,
especially one that causes fear and discomfort,
it allows for something strikingly different to appear
furthering our evolution as people.

“We can only know where we are going when we get there.”

Second.

Glenn Geher PhD, writes for Psychology Today.

He said, Fight your tendency to engage in outgroup homogeneity. If you are a Trump supporter, you might think that all Clinton supporters are over-educated elitist a-holes. But I guarantee that you would be wrong.

If you are a Clinton supporter, you might think that all Trump supporters are uneducated, racist, warmongers.

But I guarantee that you would be wrong.
A basic social psychological principle is this:

People in our outgroups differ from one another more than we typically can imagine. Individuals should be treated as individuals, regardless of whatever groups they may belong to.

Fight ingroup/outgroup reasoning.

One of the most basic facts of human social psychology is the tendency to treat those who are in our ingroups more positively than how we treat members of our outgroups. Interestingly, this is nearly the definition of unfair. We need to go out of our way to fight ingroup/outgroup reasoning. If all democrats work to benefit one another at a cost to all republicans – and vice versa – for the next four years, we’re in trouble. Give others the benefit of the doubt, even if they are not like you are. Strive for fairness in the treatment of all people.

Listen to the other side. It’s so often the case that people think they “have the number” of the other side. We Clinton supporters think we totally get those Trump supporters. Those Trump supporters think that they totally get us Clinton supporters. Fight it. As I’ve written before, the social world is not black and white. You might think that there are the good people and the bad people. But that overly simplistic way of seeing others in your world is simply flawed. If you’re a Trump supporter, find your liberal friend. And listen. If you’re a Clinton supporter, find the Trump supporter in your Facebook feed, and listen.

Bottom Line

No matter how tumultuous our nation feels right now, we will get through this. We have to. No one is seceding. We’re not really moving to Canada – we just said that!! We need to truly listen to others in our world – especially to those who see the world in ways that differ dramatically from how we see the world. Here’s to the next four years – as President-Elect Trump might say, let’s make it great. It is what it is. And we are moving forward. Together.

Third.

Norman Fischer, Everyday Zen Foundation.

Think of what the Dalai Lama has gone through in his lifetime.
He maintains daily practice,
he maintains kindness for everyone,
though he has lost his country and his culture at the hands of a brutal regime.
Yet he doesn’t hate the Chinese and finds redeeming features in them.
He maintains his sense of humor. He has turned his tragedy into a teaching for the world.

It bares repeating:

“Now is the time we have been practicing for.”

“We can only know where we are going when we get there.”

And I say, have courage, embrace your best intentions, and be less afraid of what has yet to be known. We can effect change in each moment if we remain open to new possibilities.

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