In the wake of last night’s election results, many of us are experiencing feelings of confusion, sadness, doubt, anger, and fear. Whatever we’re feeling, though, it’s important to allow ourselves to fully experience our emotions. As meditation teacher and author Ethan Nichtern says, “The point of meditation is not to suppress your feelings. It is to make friends with yourself.”
As we take stock of our personal emotional state, we might also begin to work with the collective turmoil and pain of this divisive election. How can our nation begin to meaningfully heal? In a recent conversation with the Garrison Institute’s Jane Kolleeny, held just weeks before the election, Nichtern explores this question from the perspective of a meditation practitioner.
“Sadness is the basis of compassion,” he says. “For practitioners, the best thing you can do is practice compassion for those you disagree with and for yourself. That doesn’t mean that you start to agree with the people you disagree with, it just means that you include them in your world.”