Divinity is the magick that pumps my blood and breathes with the trees and wakes me up in the morning after a night of dreams. My dreams are the divine, and the breeze on my skin. The way my chest feels as I silently commune with a tree, a bird, a flock of white snow geese swimming art in the sky grey with rain. The divine is conversation with a friend, being immersed in a vast ocean of like-minded souls like at the Women’s March in D.C. on January 21st. The divine is meeting teachers, like Bernie.
Bernie Sanders on March 13, 2017, modeled for me magnanimous spirit, compassionate heart, what forgiveness can look like, as he sat in a Town Hall meeting in a mining community in McDowell County, West Virginia, 75% of whom voted for Trump. Without a trace of irritation in his voice Bernie stated again and again that not everyone agrees with him, and that’s fine––then he firmly and clearly stated what he sees as the truth.
Oh, I see the anger and resentment harbored in my own heart. The pugilistic anger from my fear and pain as so many people continue hurting other people, hurting our Mother Earth, extinguishing species, destroying through greed and ignorance. I hesitated before writing the word “ignorance” because my anger is based on the belief that everyone sees the divinity of life, like I do, and they just don’t care that they are destroying it. They lie and manipulate because they are cruel and mean. But the words keep coming to me, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
People tell me that because a person with whom I once was close is an alcoholic he is incapable of realizing the pain he inflicted for years through verbal and fiduciary abuse, even when I cried again and again, “STOP!” My heart does not want to forgive him, to be a passive recipient of abuse not only from him, but from #45 in the White House and CEOs of Monsanto, etcetera, and brothers Koch. This brings to mind W.E.B. Du Bois’s writings in The Souls of Black Folks. There he observes that slave owners in the South of the United States were so happy for their slaves to be Christianized, for then they stopped rebelling against injustice and instead longed for freedom in heaven with the Lord after they died. Fatalistic was the word Du Bois used. And oh, it was all so convenient for white supremacist capitalists.
I refuse to become passive. But I see in Bernie’s actions his heart that truly wants people to be happy and have the dignity and well being they deserve as human beings. And he understands that sometimes we believe lies, believe false promises. Bernie said to the Trump voters last night that he understood they voted for Trump because they believed his promise to make their unbearable lives better. But then Trump didn’t deliver on his promises and now he’s working to make their lives even worse by attempting to repeal Obama Care, leaving them high and dry without rural healthcare.
Bernie spoke the truth without bitterness or condemnation when he stated that the Republican health “plan” was actually just a way to funnel even more money into the pockets of the super rich (who already have more than they need) by taking it from the people who truly need it, such as the people in the Town Hall meeting.
What if I could talk with that type of open heart with people with whom I disagree, to truly respect that they don’t agree with me? What if I could converse in a way in which I could be heard by SGI “leaders” who I am angry with because they ignore the voices of the members? This lay Buddhist organization, Soka Gakkai International, has been my spiritual family for more than 30 years. But now so-called “leaders” shove authoritarian orders from above down our throats, even though our mentor Daisaku Ikeda writes “the SGI is a humanistic organization. It is not authoritarian, giving orders from above.”
I am in a divine struggle within, how to speak the truth while loving and forgiving? But I’m afraid that if I forgive that would enable slave masters to do their dirty deed with even more impunity. How can I help the SGI walk the talk? To practice the egalitarianism that we preach? How can I help the U.S. government to truly be by the people and for the people, where we welcome the world’s huddled masses, yearning to breathe free?
There are allies. Cracks and crevices. The grass grows through. Just keep growing and pushing the dead concrete of institutionalized habits and things will change.