Election seasons are good times to check or evaluate our understanding of ourselves as either one of the Children of God or a frightened, guilty ego in this transitory world. As a young boy, I remember my parents voting and it became obvious who they hoped would win. Early on I seldom heard anything very negative about the opponents. President Eisenhower was a popular hero of World War II and the 50’s seemed to be a prosperous time. Everyone from our little rural world seemed happy. We even progressed so that in 1953 we purchased our first television “miracle.”
In 1953, after we became more involved in the local organized Church, I remember becoming more opinionated about candidates. Certain leaders were even suggested possible candidates who had God’s approval and other leaders named candidates for the coming “Anti-Christ.” The years went by and in college I became more involved in politics and more strident about candidates God would most certainly seem to approve. Later, although political preferences changed, I still felt my preferred candidates would be on God’s shortlist. I joined the Presbyterian Church where God’s way could be settled by having a vote with the majority revealing God’s Way. Several years ago a young minister from a nearby church surprised me saying she told her congregation that unless they voted for a certain political candidate, they couldn’t possibly consider themselves Christian! Soon after the election she felt “called” to another church.
So who should we vote for as our next leader and leaders? Does God actually have a preference? How can we be sure? In recent years, as a result of my growing interest and experience in having a deeper spiritual awareness (which in itself seems a risky phrase), I have grown less and less interested in strident debates about who would most certainly save us from the harsh scenarios of cultural decay and ruin. Dictators and elected leaders have both shared in destructive and violent pograms and brutality. Hitler was a democratically elected leader, endorsed by many church groups. In our early American history, 100 elected congressmen were shot and killed in duals following hot debates over morality and honest government. It was so bad they set aside the “Maryland Dueling Grounds” for senators and representatives to shoot it out in a dual to decide who was truthful. On July 11, 1804, the elected Vice President under libertarian Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton over hot arguments about federalism. All elected leaders are demonized and scorned within hours, many with good reason. Will it ever change? Hardly. The only thing that can change is the way we think or look at the world and this process.
The Bible says we are not to love this world as our true home. It suggests it’s actually an illusion of reality and in the big picture, nothing but a dream. Some mystics call it a bad nightmare. “Do not love the world or the things of the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world–the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride of riches–comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.” (1 John 2:15-17 NRSV) And from Paul, “…we look not at what can be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18, NRSV)
In one of my favorite spiritual readings, A Course in Miracles, the world is described as an attack on God and love. “The world was made as an attack on God. It symbolizes fear. And what is fear but love’s absence.” (Workbook for Students, Lesson 240, “What is the World?”) The world is described as a guilt laden, ego-fighting-ego place of survival, where some take and win and others give up and lose. It’s a world where disease, death, sickness and pain rule and all that comes here faces certain death and extinction. Where did this world come from, originate? It came from our imagination, our dream of what it would be like to be separated from God, to be on our own. It was the origin of the “Big Bang.”
Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects. Together, we can laugh them both away, and understand that time cannot intrude upon eternity. It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity, which means there is no time. Schucman, Dr. Helen (2007-12-25). A Course in Miracles (p. 585). Foundation for Inner Peace. Kindle Edition.
Here the world is a dream, OUR dream, not God’s. This understanding is close to the early church and ancient views of what were called “Gnostic”, later repudiated by the 4th century church and its creeds. In this dream, we do feel lost and afraid. It is survival of the fittest. Those who vote and don’t have the same experiences. Democracies and Monarchies rise and fall and in both, confusion, disease, extreme inequalities exist. The world is a place where the “laws of chaos” rule, where ultimately, nothing makes any sense at all. Wars, anger, hunger, depression, sadness and senseless violence are the rule rather than the exception. Death and extinction are the only certainties, elections notwithstanding! How can we survive is the question, beyond the clamor for a different form of person and his or her thought system saving us a little longer before the grim reaper makes its harvest.
Mystics of the ages have taught that freedom, peace, and joy are experienced through detaching and letting go. Peace is experienced by understanding and seeing this world in another light or way. It comes from seeing another world, a world of transcendent spirit, eternal, changeless and without duality. It is known by seeing and experiencing ourselves in a different way, not as temporal bodies, but as Spirit, One in Unity with the Source, the Great Spirit, That which is Eternal and Changeless. It is in seeing ourselves as part of the eternal Unknown or Transcendent world, eternal and unbound by space and time.
It may take many years or lives for humans to come to this realization of their True Home. Traditional mystical teachers have taught it takes many lives to awaken to our Higher Reality, to forgive ourselves, the world, and the universe for what being what we thought it to be but wasn’t. It is a dimension beyond sensory reason, discourse or form; it is experienced in the transcendence of silence and solitude, known amid the arts and the solitudes of nature untouched by “development”, in sittings quietly observing our breath.
What then does this have to do with picking a President or anyone for public office? First, we simply do what most normal people seek to do; reflect, evaluate, and then vote. But we can do it with love, forgiveness, and the knowledge that in this world, on this plane, nothing lasts for long, and every idea, every slogan, and every form will soon change and evolve differently. What can make us different is that we do discuss, share, propose ideas with love, kindness, forgiveness, recognizing candidates elected and installed are mortal, limited, and mere mortals.
Someone once told me that studies show that most elected politicians or aspiring leaders are what might be called “young souls.” In this theory, they have only traversed a few rounds of incarnations and are young in their perception of the temporality and insanity of this passing world and universe. “Older souls” tend not to become so strident, angry and judgmental in their opinions, because they realize they are just that; opinions, judgments and ideas rather than facts or certainties. Yes, they may vote and work for a kinder more gentler world, but they realize it comes from within rather than from without. Peace isn’t the goal, but the inner way. Only a few may have this realization but it’s part of hopefully a growing body.
Yes, I will vote and share my reasons quietly with whomever may ask, but without the certainty that my choice is God’s Final answer or the only choice. I have read books on Libertarianism, Free Markets, Communism, Capitalism, and Keynesian economics. I am always looking and praying for the way to bless people with peace and well-being, stopping senseless wars, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, setting those in prisons free. Here the debate and forms are endless. In God, Christ, the Great Tao, it, we are already complete, traversing our short journeys here hopefully in forgiveness and peace before we move on, returning back Home.
All of us in my view are God’s Children, created in His image. To judge and damn another as less is to judge ourselves as the same. To judge one as the cause of the world’s or country’s demise is but to project our own fears and guilt outward rather than to forgive and let go the hatred and fears of our own lives.
Yes, do vote but be kind, forgiving, humble, open, always loving as an Eternal Spirit Son or Daughter of God, the Tao, the Way, the Unknown, Beyond all, the All in All. Don’t take yourself and the process too seriously. Regardless of who wins, the violent, perilous world we live in will continue. But during our short sojourn, free or bound, rich or poor, hungry or well fed, healthy or upon our death beds, True Peace and Prosperity are always found and experienced as within, with each conscious breath. They are eternal. Time is but the illusion of reality. In eternity, this is only now a bad dream but made happy and bearable with the experience of awakening and forgiveness.
Awake them from the dream, your sleep, and walk on with home, peace, and perspective.