As this year in the US has unfolded, we continually hear reporters discuss how polarized people in the US are. I’m sure you’ve heard your share about this issue. But for me, it’s like constantly reporting that someone has a broken arm but not commenting on how it got that way and surely not suggesting what can be done about it. I keep asking myself: why keep saying the same thing repeatedly like it’s just a fact and that’s the end of the story. So let’s discuss the cause of the polarization and what you and I can do about it.
Everything in life can really be explained pretty easily if you just remember that we live in an ego dominated world. As I’ve discussed before, the ego is the part of our mind that believes we are separate, we are alone, and that we live in a hostile universe. In the world of the ego, you’re over there, I’m over here, we are separate and you’re the enemy. Another way of saying this is that the world of the ego is about you vs. me, win/lose, either/or and competition.
If you read the last paragraph, doesn’t that completely explain the reason for the polarization? The folks on the so-called left see those on the so-called right as separate from them and the enemy (and vice versa). If they’re going to win, that must mean we are going to lose. Hostility is the name of the game and it’s a game that one must play to survive.
And after last year’s election, it’s gotten so much worse. Personally, I have lost two friends because I dared to express an opinion different from theirs. I was stunned to the degree I was demonized for even considering having a different point of view. It’s alarming. People who watch Fox News can’t bear the thought of watching CNN and vice versa. Have you watched a Daily briefing lately? Nobody is interested in the news. They just want to be right and make the other side wrong.
The purpose of this post is not to express a political view. I’d likely lose half of you if I did that. The point is to have you understand what the source of the problem is and what you can do about it. It’s all summed up in my favorite Albert Einstein quote: “The most important decision we make is do we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” When you allow yourself to be dominated by the voice of your ego, which is what so many are allowing to happen, you are choosing to believe we live in a hostile universe and you will be part of the problem.
Here’s my recommendation: make another choice. Choose to believe we live in a friendly universe. Refuse to play the ego’s game. As the Dalai Lama said, when he was asked why he did not fight back when the Chinese exiled him from Tibet, “The mind can always rationalize fighting back, but the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”
Christmas is about 10 days away. I ask you make yourself a promise that you will go forth in the next year in the spirit of the season and commit to staying in your heart, not in your head. The force of love is the greatest force in the universe and will eventually win out if enough of us commit to expressing it instead of fear. Simple choice, love or fear, just not so easy. But if you do the work, it does get easier. Happy Holidays to you all.