Healing Society Through Our Relationships

Have you ever sat in silent meditation, focused on the breath, and wondered, how does this practice help dismantle oppression and make the world an equitable place for all? I know I have. Especially these days of so much loss, infuriation, uncertainty and heartbreak. 

For most of my life, I’ve been at a very external side of social change, mobilizing people to vote. If we can just repeal Citizens United and fund schools and create social safety nets, everything would be fixed, I would think as I left a campaign flyer on yet another stranger’s doorknob. 

But after the 2016 election, I realized our needed societal transformation runs deeper than policy change. Policies are a reflection of cultural beliefs and values, and dominant culture is steeped in control, domination, judgment – which all stem from the story of the separate self.

Our meditation practices help us examine that story. Through observation, we learn how our reactive, unconscious minds create delusion and suffering, and how, indeed, we are all interconnected, all one. 

But how do we rewrite the story at a societal level? How can our institutions and systems and politics reflect interbeing, reflect love? 

There is no one answer to this, but I do know central to this is how we are in relationship to others. What we practice at the smallest scale, in our intimate connections with family, friends, coworkers, Sangha peers, mother Earth – sets the patterns for the whole system. 

In the era of COVID and digital interface, many of us struggle to feel true connection. Can Instagram Likes and comments, text messages, and emails compensate for real intimacy? 

What do radically present relationships look and feel like for you? Even during COVID, I’ve had powerful experiences of them. Listening deeply on the phone, crying and dancing and singing with my roommates. Bearing witness to the pain of others who hold different identities than me in Zoom gatherings. Facing conflict with courage and open hearts. 

I let my body and heart show me how to nurture my relationships. Who would feel good to be with, and when, and how? I let intuition guide me to joyful collective presence. 

Let’s learn how to truly be together. And from this place, we’ll transform the world around us. 

And in the meantime, vote for the most enlightened policies and candidates you can. Start conversations about ballot issues with those around you. Encourage others to vote, from love rather than fear… And breathe. We got this, fam.