Political Miracles at Such a Time as This
"A new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization"
Life is tough these days for those who don’t believe in miracles.
Given the current state of affairs, I wasn’t surprised to receive this text from a close friend yesterday: “Everyone I know is feeling disturbed - disempowered - depressed.” That pretty much matches what I’ve experienced too, as passing moods within myself at times but as serious states of anxiety among many whom I know.
The list of egregious offenses against people and planet doesn’t need to be enumerated here (though they’re listed pretty much daily on my twitter account!), except to say that multi billion dollar subsidies and corrupt dealings with everything from Big Oil to the military industrial complex, to rising authoritarianism, to all manner of social toxicity and dysfunction, to physical and criminal and economic injustice, have formed such a dark cloud over our democracy, and our future, that our collective emotional nosedive is understandable.
I’m aware of the deep corruption that now infuses our society, and I’m hardly one to pussyfoot around it. But while I have my moments of grief about the state of our world, I’m not in an emotional nosedive. Don’t get me wrong, I see the depth of our problems. But I see miracles around the corner.
Someone asked me on twitter if there was a book they could read to attain my level of optimism, and of course the answer is any genuine spiritual source material. For all of them tell the same story: Life starts out beautiful; a very dark, mean, loveless force within our minds then tempts us to manifest painful, horrible things; then a loving God ultimately delivers us from our own mis-creations. Amen.
So as Americans, we’re definitely in the “manifesting painful, horrible things” phase, but that’s never the end of the story. The Israelites made it to the Promised Land, and resurrection followed the crucifixion. Those are not just stories, or myths. They’re messages about how the universe works. Faith is not blind, it is visionary. It’s an understanding of the entire story from start to finish.
One of the most interesting parts of both of those coded messages from God, as it were, is the element of time between the darkness and the reassertion of the light. Whether it’s the forty years during which the Israelites wandered in the desert, or the three days between the crucifixion and the resurrection, that time element is important. My friend Sandhi used to call it “tomb time.” It’s when the old condition is still prevalent in our experience, but the new condition is already programmed and on the way.
So you can view these times in various ways. Is it the Fall of Rome, or a new Renaissance? A time of spiritual crucifixion, or a time of spiritual resurrection? The end of the American republic, or the time of a great American awakening? I think it’s potentially both, depending on where we put our energy. We should look with very clear eyes at the damage that’s been done in this country, but with equally clear eyes at the breakthroughs that are possible. In A Course in Miracles, it says “Look at the crucifixion, but do not dwell on it.” Don’t look away from the darkness (that’s not transcendence, it’s denial). But look through it to the other side. Don’t deny its existence but deny its power over you.
Yes, I know it will take a miracle to get us out of the jam we’re in now. From the state of our democracy to the state of our planet, it does feel at times as though sociopathic forces have it all sewn up and that we’re headed for catastrophe. I’m not unaware of any of that, in fact I’ve been articulating it longer than most people have. But the heart is a portal to miraculous possibilities that transcend what the moral mind thinks possible. It is true that traditional political activism alone is ultimately powerless before the forces that now threaten, but we have more tools in our tool kit than that.
In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, ‘We have a power inside us more powerful than the power of bullets.” “It is time,” he said, “to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.” And with that, he brought into existence what was nothing short of a political miracle. He used the spirit of love to inspire a non-violent revolution, bringing down one of the most evil edifices of racial discrimination that had ever existed. In the presence of light, darkness cannot stand.
Segregation, like slavery before it, existed - and then it did not. We have not yet completed the task of creating “a more perfect union” - far from it - but there have been times in history when our ancestors made a damn good stab at it. They too fought intractable odds, and their successes are as much a part of our legacy as are the forces they pushed back.
To me, such stories - from the deliverance of the Israelites, to the success of social justice movements throughout our history - serve to counter emotional gravity. While events can definitely weigh us down, a higher Truth brings us right back up. Every flower bends toward the light and so do we.
I know these times are tough for many, but it’s so not over yet.
It is so not over.