Filled with Loving Kindness: Amid so much trouble

When all your desires are distilled; You will cast just two votes:
to love more, and be happy.


Recently, I came across a sermon by Unitarian Universalist minister, The Rev. Meg Barnouse (also published in the UU World) in which she addressed the dis-ease so many of us are feeling after the election. She offers not only consolation but some very practical considerations for how any of us move beyond whatever our expectations and hopes were prior to the election.  I enthusiastically recommend that you read it or watch it as she delivered it at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin.

Since reading what she has to offer, I’ve been able to try some of her ideas for talking with folks after the election–especially those who hold very different views than I do.  I found myself becoming embroiled in an argument about whether or not someone was a racist or not, accused of playing the race card, etc.  I paused, and I went to this:  Can you tell me what hope you have for the coming President and his government?  I’d love to know what drew you to him.

And the entire conversation changed.  The rancor that was so evident seconds before dropped away.  Within the space of maybe 5 sentences, the person with whom I was talking and I had found some significant common ground.  Later in the conversation, the other person actually offered that we had much more in common than we disagreed about, and I concurred.

I have and will continue to have strong reservations and even distrust of our President-elect.  He has much to prove to me before I can move from that position.  However, I will likely never have a personal conversation with him, and I will most certainly never live in community with him.  Meanwhile, I will be in many conversations and live in the midst of a large community of individuals to whom I owe more than my outrage.  I am outraged on many levels, but when I bring my outrage to any one individual without any attempt at really being with them, hearing them, understanding them, my outrage simply becomes part of the problem.  I think that we are in too fragile a position in this country for me to contribute to the problem.

Now for Hafiz’s words.  I suspect they mean this: survey your entire feeling life.  Look at where all those feelings take you, where they become emotions–words and actions in the world, for good, for bad, for blessing, for cursing and even for some neutral effects.  Now, trace them all back to their source.  What you will find is a source that is something like a very basic desire to love and be loved.  In my own heart, it almost always comes down to being included without judgment.

I thought the vote casting was over.  I guess not.
Happy Thanksgiving

Bob Patrick

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