I was spending the morning putting up posters for our upcoming meditation workshop called 'Overcoming Anger'. The poster seemed specifically designed for this morning after the US Presidential Election of 2016. I walked into coffee shops, oddly silent with 20-year olds tethered to laptops and phones, not talking to one another, their faces blue from the electricity.
Then I took a coach to the moneyed towers of Boston. Here, cafes were full and buzzing with college students. I was having tea with a friend. While I waited for her, I read a newspaper stuck under the glass tabletop, the front page was from November 23, 1963. The day after JFK was killed. I read about how Johnson, that day, walked down a lonely corridor of the White House, "bearing the tremendous weight and burden of becoming the leader of the free world."
We found them gathered under the historic steeple of Park Street Church as the sun set on this first day of this new reality of life in America—and I had my first genuine taste of its ancient past.
There were hundreds of people standing in the dark, simply listening. That’s what struck me first, how deeply they were listening—without screens or electricity in the way. This is the type of American politics you don't see televised. One by one, a string of speakers stood on boxes as wafts of sage moved through the air, and as rush hour buses carried exhausted commuters home.
Some speakers spoke of politics and the anger was palpable. But those who spoke of the water—the water that unifies us—had a deep peace to them. It was mainly the women who spoke. Because it is the women, they explained, who are the ones in charge of talking about the water, the giver of life.
It made me think of the sign again, the one from the morning. How love is also like water, unconquerable and constant. And how important the development of love is for our modern world. Because for us to be able to see the sacred around us, we first need to do some work within. To start identifying and removing the thoughts of anger and harm that are polluting our minds. Thoughts that are causing us to engage in actions that harm others. Because when our mind is purified by love and compassion, the sacred naturally starts to appear. I thought of my meditation teacher, who often says that if we could all learn to genuinely love and cherish one another, many of the problems in our world would be solved.
The talks came to an end and the group began to prepare for its march to the Charles River. They closed the discussions with a prayer. The singular sound of two male voices rising and circling into the air and the surrounding buildings of stone, steel and glass, songs that once would have bounced off lakes and forests.
Photo credits: (Top) Tree of Life by Kimberly Post; (Below) Image by Bessi from Pixabay.