Donald Trump inspires me.
Let me explain.
Way before the election, I was already deep in the abyss of darkness and despair into which so many others plunged right after that fateful night. Through my spiritual seeking and questioning, I’d gotten to the point where I was looking at the vast reality of human experience — the incredible good that we are capable of feeling, being and doing, as well as the depths of our brutality, and everything in between — and wondering not just how it all came to be, but why.
I’ve been taught that everyone has “basic goodness,” and that we all come from one source and that source is Love. I always believed that and I always strove to find and create that experience. I believe in compassion and trying to understand others without passing judgment. I understand duality (I think) — but what I can’t understand is why it came to be in the first place. Why the extremes of darkness and light? And can spiritual practices like those that I’ve been studying and practicing ever eradicate those extremes?
Depressingly, I came to the conclusion that they can’t. We human animals seem to have a fundamental need for power that results in sustained inequality, and fears of the unknown (including death) that result in a desperate grab for control. Combine that with the scars (samskaras) of past experience (whether in this life or another, if you believe in that) and the neurobiological functions that produce psychopaths and sociopaths, and the prognosis for a happy, healthy, unified planet begins to feel very bleak indeed. I imagine there will never be an end to the dualism till death — a return to unified source energy.
Aligning with that perspective made things feel even worse. I saw the things I didn’t like or agree with in others and I judged them, harshly. I felt intolerant and angry. I blamed them for my negative feelings. I felt the profound sense of “other”-ness which contributes to that divide between those of us with differing beliefs. Teach yoga? Teach peace? Please. Call it the proverbial existential crisis, but really, it felt like crap.
Then came the stupendous rise of the president-elect, whose election I admit I believed could never happen. So many of us found our sense of reality turned on its head. Racism, hatred and vitriol that was simmering all along boiled over, blindsiding many Americans who had faith in the social progress we’ve made over the years. Immediately after the election, friends of mine plunged into that dark, disbelieving despair through which I’d already been slogging for some time. They were angry, afraid, dispirited. They didn’t know what to do.
After the initial shock, I noticed a strange shift. I began feeling lighter, more upbeat, even inspired. Wrestling with those big questions of why it all came to be and whether we can ever fundamentally change suddenly took a backseat. Instead, I knew exactly what to do, and — as I told my suffering friends — what we all need to do. Those of us who know right from wrong need to do the right thing. We need to uphold the values we hold dear and the way of life we cherish. We need to raise our voices in support of the causes that move us most. We need to “be the change.” The cancer of hatred is more widespread than we wanted to believe, but at least now it’s visible — we know what we’re dealing with and we can target it more effectively. And it’s happening — people are contacting their representatives, they’re protesting the pipeline, they’re speaking up against discrimination against Muslims…and that’s just the beginning. Will any of this serve to have an impact on the interplay of darkness and light? I don’t know, but the urgency of now is the thing that matters most.
I would never have chosen this outcome but I’m grateful for the resurgence of passion it has generated in me and in so many others.
Donald Trump inspires me.