Manjushri on Post-Election

Posted on: November 13th, 2016 by PennyGill 6 Comments

Conversation with Manjushri, post election
November 11, 2016

Oh, Manjushri, these have been very tough days since the presidential election. Many have asked me if I have received a teaching from you about all of this. And though my grief is deep, and I have wept a great deal, I must say, the results – though shocking to me – did not give me new information about the deep values of a significant part of the American electorate. We are an immature society, a society that countenances violence while it tells itself a story about its own exceptional qualities and its right to impose itself on other nations. It often seems to me to be arrogant, self-congratulatory, and focused on the pursuit of wealth over many other possible values. We praise freedom from and ignore the possibilities of freedom for. Perhaps in some way, we deserve what we have done to our republic, for surely, we have done it. And surely there is a very great deal about how we govern ourselves and manage our affairs which could well be changed, often radically changed.

I come to you this evening with a very heavy heart, full of worry for our poor earth and the cascade of environmental destructions and for those Americans with the least access to power – people of color, the poor, Moslems, the ill, immigrants, the unemployed, and surprisingly, so many women and children. Once again, I am deeply concerned about the American role in the global world, our foreign policy, and our global economic institutions and policies. We are a challenging presence in the lives of many other nations.

And once again, I am impossibly stretched between these matters and the call of the Teachers to greater consciousness, to opening our hearts, to recognizing our interdependence with all beings, and to lives shaped by both wisdom and compassion. I wish I were brave enough to ask you to direct your shining sword against our ignorance, but I am not.

Perhaps you could grace us with some strong and clear advice about how to understand our grief, even when it seems self-righteous, and how to gather ourselves up to get back to our essential tasks in these precious lives of ours? Or is there another way to address our deep confusion? Anything you might be willing to say would be a very great gift to all of us.

Ah, yes, student whose energy I have come to know well, yes. Some words for you and your friends. First, and most important, do not be afraid! You have received many teachings about fear; they always remind you that fear is an enormous obstacle to clear thinking, deep understanding, and creating solutions to problems. Of course, you are afraid, all of you. So, take up the arduous practices of the fear-work: name the fear, most importantly, and say it to another. This slight moment of self-acknowledgement shifts the energy of fear significantly. Then, conversation may follow, or sending oneself compassion for the suffering that comes from fear, or inquiring into the roots of the fear; all are helpful.

Second, inquire into a simple question: what in my community or my country is an obstacle to recognizing your deep connections with each other and with all other species? This is the simple question about your awareness of interdependence, simple and extremely powerful, if you allow it to lead you deep into the many institutions and practices common in your society. Again, this may be done singly, but it is much more powerful to do this in conversation with others.

Third, ask yourself/yourselves, which relatively focused piece of this great puzzle will you commit to changing? Be clear about how it relates to the larger picture, but do not overwhelm yourselves with a grandiose goal. The possible projects are unlimited, but what matters most, at the outset, is that you join with a few others, promising to stay focused on some important dimension of change in your community and to support each other in the process. In all likelihood, the most important outcome will be to create seeds of resilient, open-hearted community, which in turn will begin to undermine the real sickness of American society, its embrace of competitive individualism.

Young people may need some assistance with this; elders may need support to trust their relevance, but all people, winners and losers in this election cycle and all the rest, can recognize there is much work to be done in their world. Becoming active, moving through the passivity and discouragement, is essential, before anything else can even be contemplated.

So: that is a brief outline of what you might do. I must once again re-frame the moment for you. You experience defeat, rejection, and powerlessness. You are appalled at those who would reverse much progressive social change from the last decades. Let go of all of that. It is not helpful. Instead, recognize that this very upset – a perfect word – suggests opportunity. Structures that seemed impossible to change now seem weak, even tottering. Normal practices and behaviors that seemed of little interest now carry much greater weight, in your view. Grand questions are on every page and in almost every beleaguered mind. All this is very helpful! Everyone is awake, on edge, at the same moment. It is a superb opportunity to re-evaluate, re-imagine, re-shape, and then, re-build.

And none of this is possible, unless you uncover and release your fear. Begin with that work, share it, and move to focused, achievable tasks, on behalf of yourselves and your community. It is a very pregnant moment. Do not waste it, please.

Thank you very much.

6 Responses

  1. After listening to Penny’s conversation with Manjushri, the four of us in the Self-Ordination Circle did fifteen minutes of receptive writing. Here is my contribution. Much love, Olivia

    Blessed Ones, Help me to open to the harsh realities of these times and find wise ways to respond. I can feel old patterns reasserting themselves and want to bring fresh vision to how I live in such turbulent times.

    “Be gentle with your tendency to always look for the best in situations which sometimes means ignoring, or turning a blind eye, to the brutal truths right in front of you. It is a self-protective mechanism, and although some of that positive perspective is healthy, you don’t want to ignore the shadow and what must be faced with courage.

    You’re remembering the man who lived in Chile under the dictatorship and watched how quietly a country can slip into chaos and authoritarianism. So you need to be vigilant and honest.

    What will help the most is to follow the impulse you’ve already been aware of in yourself – namely to find some oppressed group or an interfaith group whose mission calls to you. Check out several websites that you’ve had but haven’t explored. Be in touch with Jonas and Margaret whose form of social justice work is aligned with your own, mainly through interfaith groups taking action. Remember how heartening it is to connect with an oppressed group as when you went to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s mosque near CIMC after the Boston bombing to express your solidarity with that community. That was a people-to-people action, simple yet affirming that when people stand together, the anxieties and fear are eclipsed by well meaning people supporting one another.

    We would warn you against overdosing on the news. So much of it either is not to be trusted, or gives a partial picture, or a distorted picture – all of this just feeding the imagination in unhealthy ways. Ask yourself, “what is my agenda today in how I respond to news that comes my way? What is most important?” Honor the things that may not seem to be connected to the question you raise: for example, support of your family, friendship, having a steady heart in a turbulent world, trusting that there is a deeper movement of consciousness happening which most don’t see — all of these things are wise responses to the times you’re living in.

    Remember the illusory body teachings and extend them to the illusory nature of the world. Trust the wisdom teachings that keep reminding you and your friends of a far more vast vision, that there is a monumental shift in consciousness happening. This chaos – the world seeming to be turning upside down – needs to happen for change to come. Too many old, rigid forms and complacent people and groups would prevent that from happening. You all need to be shaken to the core for change to happen. Trust not knowing. Trust the groundlessness. Trust the uncertain future. All of this will help you to stay steady in your heart, for that is the only true place of refuge.

  2. louise cochran says:

    what does “your comment is awaiting moderation” mean?

    is there something i should change?

    with palms together, louise

  3. louise cochran says:

    12-14-16
    In our Self Ordination meeting, we have just listened to Penny’s conversation with Manjushri post-election and her own reflections on the situation. We then spent time doing the practice of “reflective writing”. There are four of us: Demaris Wehr,
    Ilona O’Connor, Louise Cochran and Olivia Hoblitzelle. We will all be posting our responses.

    I wonder now, blessed mother Tara, what you might have to offer.

    Good morning beloved,
    We welcome you, as always, with all our love.
    In the first place I want to remind you and your friends that you ARE love, as are we all; we of the formless realms as well as all the sentient beings of the realm of form. We urge you to remember that we are all made of the same…well not material, but not immaterial either. A simpler way to put it would be to say, everything is love. You have heard this many times and from many different sources, but you have never needed to take it as seriously as at this present moment.
    As Manjushri said, fear is rampant and is erasing possibilities for creative thinking and action. As Jesus said, perfect love casts out fear. So we urge you all to focus on working your way through whatever it is that prevents you from knowing and being Love. Teachings abound. Examples abound. Take whatever is most inspirational to you, digest it and transform yourselves into love. Your world, not only your country, but your world needs you and your friends to be living examples of what is possible for all. Your increased consciousness and compassionate actions are what will make the difference in this very charged moment on your planet.
    Penny has spoken wisely when she suggests that you get involved with a few others and work to change something that is wrong. It needn’t be something public and grandiose. Choose something that needs to be done differently, or help someone who is helpless, or keep doing what you are doing. The what is less important than the doing. This kind of evidence in this time is crucial to providing courage to the fearful, and hope to the hopeless.
    Look within. See your fears. Look deeper. Find Love. Then BE it.

  4. Angela says:

    I came for solace and direction, and you delivered. Thank you for this post.

  5. Joanie says:

    Thank you!

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