This post is somewhat different from the others. Perhaps it doesn’t belong on this blog; I’m not sure. I’ll let you be the judge of that. Let me know.

Even as a young boy I had an interest in elections. I remember “campaigning” for the candidates as part of a government lesson in my 5th grade class. Since then I have followed the campaigns of both parties every four years. When I was old enough I would always vote for my favorite. I was interested, read what was being written, and stayed involved. But I never was consumed by it.

This year I check the election news every day. And I have made several donations, thoughtfully, in certain places where I thought it might possibly make a difference. I will of course vote. But something is very wrong this year. I see my attention is being drawn in ways that overpower my normal ability to direct and focus. And I see that I feel strong emotions about it all, something I never have before. I seem to have become a microcosm of our national state. I have a visceral reaction to all of it. This is not healthy. Yes, I need to do my part. I have done it, and will continue to do it, as much as I am able. But I must stop sacrificing my inner life to this election. For me, it has become a question of self respect.

Most of us have begun to understand the idea of an inner life and an outer life. The outer life, in this case the issues of government that we agree or disagree with, is absolutely necessary. But just as necessary is our inner life. If the outer world, the outer life, infringes on our inner life, then something is needed to change this imbalance. Otherwise, nothing is possible for the deepening of our inner life.

I don’t watch much tv, and I am not on Facebook or Twitter, as I have come to realize that they are toxic. I had an Instagram account, but I haven’t posted for quite a while, and I probably won’t going forward. But I subscribe to several online newspapers and feeds, and that is where I turn each morning. It is time to stop avidly consuming all of the political news within them. Five minutes, ten at the most, each morning is plenty. I cannot change the outcome of this election, but I can change the extent of my identification with it.

Discard your misperceptions.
Stop being jerked like a puppet.
Limit yourself to the present.
Understand what happens – to you, to others.
Analyze what exists, break it all down: material and cause.
Anticipate your final hours.
Other people’s mistakes? Leave them to their makers.
     — Marcus Aurelius

Comments are welcome.

 
 

7 Comments

  1. I like that! It’s a crazy time and it appears our fragile Democracy is being torn apart by people who should know better. Absolute Power Corrupts…

    Be Still, Change starts from Within. Surface Waves are only surface waves…

  2. Dear Denis.

    Thank you.

    Through most of my youth and young adulthood I was very interested in politics, at first merely in collecting political facts–history–but then in the opinion-oriented side of politics, focusing on how other people ought to think and behave. (At that time, age 17, I was on the “right” and an ardent fan of the communist-hunter, Joseph McCarthy.)

    But in my mid-20s, I found, much to my surprise, that there truly are Universal values, a universal order, chaotically perceived at first but calling to me. I then wrote to a professor whom I had admired, the head of the Political Science Department in my university, and reported changes then occurring in my outlooks, which, grounded in spiritual and psychological concerns, made politics of all levels seem irrelevant.

    His response has stayed with me, for he wrote: “I assume that someday you will return to the timeless concerns regarding man’s efforts to govern himself.”

    Man’s efforts to govern himself . . . . That was what I was trying, in a beginning way, to accomplish: to govern myself, under the light of a new set of values. I had not seen my newfound interest in a spiritual Way as pertaining at all to human “governments,” including politics, though this, too, can be a point wherein the automatic manifestations of our lives, lived at ordinary levels, may intersect with a beginning capacity to make intentional efforts. Among these interests, too, we may begin see more clearly how automatically everything occurs, and how random events may be met with more intentional questions, even with the refinement of a questioning attitude. (Are my strong opinions today truly oriented to “the good,” or have the stimulations become a kind of “drug?” I’d better “separate” and try to see.)

    I recall also a remark of Lord Pentland’s. How he came to this and how seriously we should take this, I don’t know. But he said, “There is even politics in Heaven.”

    Jim Opie . . . . jamesopie@outlook.com

  3. Love this admonition. Thank you.

  4. Thanks, Jim. I appreciate you sharing your evolution in regards to politics and one’s own responsibilities, and the remark of Lord Pentland brought a smile to my lips. Be well, Dennis

  5. Thanks, Justin, it is good to hear from you, Dennis

  6. Dennis it’s so nice to know I’m not alone! I had the same recent revelation, literally having to tell myself to put down the phone and stop reading the news. I was the one allowing myself to start the day with feelings of anger and fear. I felt like I spent each day waiting… for what?! Covid?! The election?!
    That was when I joined the blog:) In acquainting myself with previous posts I found I kept going back to July: “Only This Day.” What a wonderful reminder of the gift of each day. And we control what we do with it. It was so relevant for me. Working in my beautiful garden, trying a new recipe, an unusual bird sighting at my bird feeder!… I made the conscious decision to slow down and focus on these simple joys:)
    And read the news in moderation!

  7. Hi, Debbie, Welcome to the blog. I am glad you have already found something that provided food for thought, and I completely agree with the direction you offered, “that we control what we do with it”. We are bound externally by the situations of our lives, but we can choose to become free internally, and that is the proper direction for our journey.
    Be well, Dennis

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