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You could say election season presents a spiritual challenge. Your former classmate is picking fights with your great aunt on social media; dinner with good friends can dissolve into tension, thanks to a television turned to cable news; and coworkers stumping for candidates via t-shirts makes for uncomfortable meetings. Where is a yogi’s place in the highly charged field of politics?
"If you know what changes one life, you are the one who has a clue as to what would change the world."
When it comes to draining, toxic dialogues, those committed to finding peace on the mat may be tempted to shut down or avoid all traces of political conversation to find the peace in social situations. Marianne Williamson, international spiritual teacher, best-selling author, and no stranger to striking up political discussions during her events and in social media posts, couldn’t disagree more.
“I have long felt that the spiritual community are the last people who should be sitting out of the political process, because if you know what changes one life, you are the one who has a clue as to what would change the world,” says Williamson. “We should not be withholding our gifts here. We should be demonstrating a more noble way of participating in the political conversation and taking a very powerful leadership role.”
In The Course of Miracles, her seminal spiritual teachings, Williamson says it’s our job to be the presence of the alternative. And embodying the principle in the divisive world of politics requires a similar process as when we try meditating for more patience or try mastering Handstand: It takes practice.
“Wake up every morning and pray for Donald Trump’s happiness. Pray for Hillary Clinton’s happiness. And pray for Bernie Sanders’s happiness. Surrender to God all your judgements about any of them,” says Williamson. “This will not make you any less passionate, intelligent, or articulate about political issues. It will give you greater capacity to discern the truth, and diminish your temptation to personally demonize any candidate or to participate in the lowering of political dialogue.”
Looking to practice positive politics like a spiritual leader? Williamson shared this prayer to get in the right headspace:
Dear God, We place in your hands the country that we love. May this campaign season be blessed and delivered from all darkness. Place within us the true meaning of citizenship at such critical times as this. Restore our politics and restore our hearts, renew our minds, and renew the world. Thank you, God. Amen.