I’ve given up being Zen about Donald Trump. The truth matters.
A refrain has been stuck on repeat in my head for the first week of the new US Presidency: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
These words were spoken by president John F. Kennedy (and attributed to Irish statesman Edmund Burke) in an address to the Canadian parliament in 1961. Kennedy used this quote to implore Canada to bolster contributions to the NATO alliance in the cold war nuclear era.
And here in enlightenment land, we can debate all we want on whether evil exists or is a figment of being dual-minded but in the end what matters is this: Do I want to live in a world in which social and cultural polarization is purposefully created by a politician with a populist agenda?
So, those JFK words are like a gong in my head, a resounding intuition that things are going to get eerily Hitler-like in the next year as Donald Trump issues executive orders with the same cavalier flair as the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland: Off with their (Muslim/Black/Latino/) heads!
The executive order banning Muslims from seven nations from entry into the USA came as a shock to many who imagined Trump’s election campaign rhetoric to be simply that: hyperbolic words. But clearly the new president is keen to turn his pre-election strident xenophobic rhetoric into new (if ultimately un-constitutional) federal policy.
Let’s be clear. I am not a political pundit nor a typical activist. I write primarily about enlightenment in my popular Awakened Dreamer blog and my oeuvre is the pop-culture of good-feeling, motivational spirituality. But what most people don’t know about me is this: I spent a decade using my clairvoyant ability to see into peoples futures, and even to remote view for lost treasure and hidden geographies. This career in my 30’s happened when I was stationed as a Canadian in Washington DC, where my then-husband worked as a World Bank health economist. Though I was trained in journalism, I found my true passion in this strange side-path into the non-ordinary and my “psychic readings” career flourished by word-of-mouth.
That confession is for one reason: I could “see” as far back as last spring that Trump would win the Republican nomination, and from there, the presidency. I wrote about this concern in March of 2016, in my Awakened Dreamer post, “Less Luminous Beings, Awakening and the Dark Side of American Politics.” This was a departure from what my enlightenment focused readers expected, as was this election day post, “Is Donald Trump a High Chair Tyrant?”
What is a high chair tyrant? It’s a Jungian archetype that describes Mr. Trump eerily well: “The High Chair Tyrant needs attention. But unlike the Divine Child, the High Chair Tyrant doesn’t give anything back. He doesn’t inspire–he just demands. And even when his needs are met, the care often doesn’t meet his unreasonable expectations, so he throws a tantrum….The High Chair Tyrant is the embodiment of entitled, arrogant, narcissism. He wants attention, but he doesn’t want to lift a finger to get it. He thinks he deserves it just because
A grown man who is still ruled by the High Chair Tyrant sulks when he doesn’t get his way, fails to take responsibility for his actions, and is incapable of taking criticism. His arrogance can blind him to reality and cause him to stumble. You can see the High Chair Tyrant manifested in celebrities and politicians who believe they are so special that they are not only entitled to indulge in things like infidelity and crookery, but that they won’t get caught either.”
But back to that darn refrain that keeps looping in my mind, the one that reminds me that for evil to triumph all I need to do is NOTHING. Just sit back and meditate, pray for world peace and get my daily Zen hit by writing about the joys of enlightenment.
But the truth is my soul won’t let me do the ostrich head maneuver. It’s not nearly enough to promote spiritual growth as if enlightenment does not ultimately come with the huge curse of a holy conscience and a fully awakened heart. You see, my brand of enlightenment is not the cool dry detachment of nothing matters because it’s not real. Rather, my awakening is the hot wet terrain of everything matters because reality is what we are making together.
And this reality of a despotic president ready to replay 1933 Germany is not the reality I want to co-create here. If you don’t know what I mean by the historical replay, read Yonatan Zunger’s scary article, What “Things Going Wrong” Can Look Like.
In the meantime, I’ll be writing here regularly about more than my Zen-chill enlightenment. It’s time for this spiritual messenger to speak up.
After all, the truth matters.
PS: (This was originally published at Medium under the title “May you Live in Treacherous Times” where I also have a column. If you want to follow me there as well, the content will be more sacred activist than enlightenment messenger).
16 thoughts on “What to Do About Apparent Evil?”
Educate yourself about “Trump’s” “Muslim Ban” and you’ll spend less time with hate in your heart. Also on the list of countries N Korea and Venezuela, not known for their Muslim populations. Off the list were nations whose populations total 90% of the Muslim world.
Some Muslim ban.
Get out of your filter bubble, cure yourself of your Trump Derangement Syndrome and rejoin rational society.
Who is Trump, what is Obama. Where is love in all this? Joy, raw naked sensation, communion, and kindness? Nobility, glory, Grace, holiness.
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I often think about JFK’s famous quote about evil, but then I also ponder on Jesus’s ‘resist not evil’ which I view as a kind of spiritual aikido that ultimately results in evil turning back on itself and expiring naturally. At the moment I’m inclined towards the latter disposition.
what are we to make of the fact that Mr T was democratically elected by a majority….er…what does that say about the majority of americans. isn’t that the much bigger question. 40% of those voters were women (!)
..isn’t this the more disturbing picture, i.e the current american psyche and the majority of the people who voted him in..on nothing more substantial that his uneducated invective and twitter feeds !
it’s not evil. it’s just plain sad.
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I don’t understand this, M.
Mr. T. was elected by just under 25% of eligible voters. As of now, less than 3 months after election day, it is estimated that at least 20% of those now regret their vote. of the rest, another 20% weren’t actually voting FOR him but against Ms. C. That means about 20% of eligible voters in the US actually wanted him to be president (check my math, I think that’s right:>))
In any case, that’s at least 60 million less than half of all eligible voters. And that’s less than 20% of all Americans. That’s the number of people who approved of Dick Cheney in 2008. You figure, if they approve of Darth Vader (alias Cheney), it isn’t all that significant that they approve of Mr. T.
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yeah, the math was wrong. That leaves 15% of all eligible voters in the US who actually wanted Mr. T. That’s lower than Cheney’s final approval rating.
Worse than Darth Vader himself!
Lori Ann Lothian
Resistance of evil that Jesus spoke to might have been an instruction to not be caught up in the right-doing and wrong-doing illusion, and to meet in that Rumi field beyond both. But once the illusion is seen through, there comes a time where right action arises. For each of us, that journey from seeing the play of God (lila) as it is, a grand spectacle of which we are co-creators — to taking conscious aware part in that play happens differently No doubt, the golden path for some is to do nothing…for me, the call is to use words as right action.
Lori, Can you please leave the political views over in you’re other column when treacherous times matter.Way too much judgement going on there.As for the truth you refer to at the end of your piece there is none. You’ll never find truth in the illusion.
wow, this conversation seems to be going on at every “spiritual” site on the net and every “spiritual” group here in Asheville.
Maybe SrI Aurobindo has something to offer about this idea of finding truth in illusion. Lori wrote: “But the truth is my soul won’t let me do the ostrich head maneuver”. What did he have to say about this?
First off, it was Sri Aurobindo, not Gandhi, who came up with the idea of “non-cooperation.’ It was never, never, never about non-violence, and in fact, when Sri Aurobindo was regularly visited by Nehru and others (this was for years after Sri Aurobindo retired from politics), he vociferously disagreed with Gandhi’s approach.
He was not foolish enough to believe the British were the “good guys.” He simply said, if the Germans under Hitler had won, it would have set back the evolutionary progression by thousands of years.
But, I’m only guessing – I dont’ know your views, Mark – I imagine that you would immediately consider “evolutionary progression’ to be an illusion as well.
Sri Aurobindo, having been sent from India to England at age 5 with strict instructions from his Anglophile father not to have any contact with anything related to India or Hinduism, set foot back on Indian soil in 1893, and as his feet touched the ground, immediately experienced a vast infinite Consciousness absorbing the entire cosmos. It faded at first, but not more than a few years later, he was given meditation instructions by a Tantric guru, Lele. Lele simply said, “look at thoughts as they are about to enter into your mind, and throw them away before they have a chance to take root (this is very similar to a Chan method taught in 8th century China).
Sri Aurobindo did this, and within minutes, experienced (or “knew” if you prefer) Nirvana. The world took on the appearance of a vast, cinematographic illusion for days, then slowly filled up with the all pervading Divine Presence, which guided him after that and never left for the rest of his life.
He wrote the 1000+ page “Life Divine” which included several hundred pages directly opposing Shankara’s “illusionism” (mayavada). Though, it must be added, he never was so foolish as tothink it would be purely through outer means that the world would change. Mirra Alfassa, his long time collaborator, said it would only be through a radical reversal and transformation of Consciousness that the world would fundamentally change.
But what does that mean for us in the meantime? I just received notice of a book from Richard Hartz, who works at the Ashram Archives. He wrote “The Clasp of Civilizations’ (a response to Samuel Huntington’s “The Clash of Civilizations” which bluntly asserted the superiority of the “West” to all other cultures). I just heard from Richard, saying that he drew his inspiration primarily from Sri Aurobindo’s “The Ideal of Human Unity,” which has at its core the problem of reconciling unity and diversity.
The Right tends to favor “liberty,” but it is a “liberty” of the ego, not the soul. The further Right you go, the more you find division, to the point of chaos.
The Left tends to favor “equality”, but it tends toward a flattening out of all different, yielding a pseudo-unity.
Sri Aurobindo said it is the third watchword of the french revolution,’ Fraternity” that can reconcile the two. But it can’t be pale, white upper middle class mindfulness inflected ‘loving kindness” and “compassion,’ but rather the fiery, Rudra like expression of the visceral knowledge of “He in whom we live and move and have our being” (as Paul put it in Acts II).
To my understanding, anything that fosters the awareness of That (such as, oh, say, this blog!:>)) is moving us closer to that radically beyond-the-ordinary-mind’s-comprehension of true unity-in-diversity.
Lori Ann Lothian
Hi Mark. Truth is both ultimate and proximate. They both matter. The truth of who you really are, when discovered and lived, often leads to the next unfoldment, which is dharma. The moving with grace into the expression of the Self in the land of the unreal. There is a place and time in awakening for absolute vastness and stillness, and the mirth of seeing the game afoot. And there is a time where the “return” to the world happens and the Self is ready to play in Lila. Perhaps you have yet to experience this return…..
I am right with you, Lori. Sadly, the United States has succumbed to fear mongering, and xenophobia. The demographics of our society have changed significantly since the 50s and 60s. Ethnic and racial diversity are no longer tolerated. Yes, I said tolerated; because many people in our society still see themselves as superior and entitled based simply on skin color. Police shootings of black men is a big issue in our urban environments. It has begun to sharpen the divide between those that experience the brutality in their communities, and those that feel the police are simply doing their job. When Trump proclaimed: “I am the law and order candidate,” he was stoking the paranoia of many whites in order to win their support. The fear of terrorism raises the hackles against Muslims, too. Illegal immigrants from south of our border are portrayed as running a-muck. Why? To feed the fears of his supporters. This siege mentality fomented in white communities across the country created a huge backlash against everything Obama tried to do to open doors to those still facing discrimination. It has been simmering for years. All you have to do is listen to Rush Limbaugh for 5 minutes to hear the anger that was out there. The result seems to be a move toward a police state to ‘control’ these threats. Ironically, this could only serve to back-fire on us by creating more anger and resentment in the people and countries targeted. Trump’s demogoguery is a real threat to our democracy. If we stand by and let it happen, who knows where it could take us? We must make our voices heard. I thank you for taking a stand for the values of freedom and democracy this country has come to represent. They are spiritual values in and of themselves, if you ask me.
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Lori Ann Lothian
The founding principals (and fathers of the USA) were mostly masons — and masons were mystics. The US was founded on a platform called the constitution which was it seems an experiment in religious freedom and sovereignty of expression. That has come full circle — the polarity swing is inevitable in the realm of duality. The key here is how to keep that swing from being catastrophically chaotic and murderous? The “law of rhythm” is at play. (see Kybalion). How to modulate this polarized new reality is the question at hand. More than meditation but yes, that too. Thank you for reading and commenting so intelligently.
Yes! .. more people from the so-called ‘enlightenment’ track should spend more time studying not only political history, but the history of esoteric and phllosophical traditions. Rudolf Steiner and Sri Aurobindo immediately come to mind.
A coup d’tat was initiated in the United States on November 22, 1963. It has taken 55 years for the powers behind this event to finally put one of their most programmed sons into the Presidency. He is a puppet extraordinaire. Those who control him are hidden behind many veils, but most students of history can identify them as corporate fascists a la il Duce. And the knowing accomplices in this coup d’tat are also known. Our job as conscious individuals is to inspire others not to buy into fear and hate, which is exactly what the controllers want. Resistance via contrived marches and petitions make for great headlines, but often are useless. Resistance which is based on the pragmatic application of the boycott principle can be much more effective and debilitating to the corporate capitalist class. Gandhi brought the British Imperialists to their knees with his boycott of salt. Economic boycotts work. Become very ‘enlightened’ about how and where you spend your money. Money is energy, an extension of your energy, so use it judiciously as it is a powerful medium of expression where this ‘medium is the message’.
I love the title: “I’m tired of being Zen about DT” (can’t write his name!)
John, can you say more about how you think Sri Aurobindo can shed light on what’s happening?
I recently wrote a letter to the NY Times, suggesting that Aurobindo’s “Ideal of Human Unity” contained the template for understanding what is happening now –
are we going to have true unity or the asuric (Sanskrit for demonic – it works better in Sanskrit) pseudo uniformity of Bannon-ite Breitbart far right authoritarian populism (that is, as opposed to the “good” type of Bernie Sanders populism:>))
are we going to have true diversity or the neoliberal identity politics that ultimately sows division rather than true unity?
Of course, as Lori says, (or has said), Unity is the Truth, ever present, ever abiding, boundless, eternal, all pervading. But we can be Zen about it and leave it at that, or recognize an evolutionary reality along with Sri Aurobindo, and recognize that if our consciousness changes (that’s “c” consciousness, not CONSCIOUSNESS: chitta, not chit) then the ever present Unity may manifest more fully (i know i know, that’s a paradox, but isn’t that what makes life fun?)
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Lori Ann Lothian
Hi Don. Read my reply to the comment below for my views on this. This swing to authoritarian is unavoidable. How we choose to act/respond is however not unavoidable. This is the crucible where consciousness ‘takes a stand.”
Lori Ann Lothian
Great points John.