VIDEO: How Can Our Nation Begin to Heal After The Election?

Ethan Nichtern on Engaging in Practice and Politics

By Garrison Institute

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.”

6 comments on “VIDEO: How Can Our Nation Begin to Heal After The Election?”

  1. Len Leeb says:

    I would like to hear more about healing from this recent event. I feel as though I am in the second day of sitting Shivah with aperennial lump in my throat….not a very good position for a psychotherapist to be in.

    1. Shelley says:

      You are not alone. Go to Lion’s Roar for some wisdom dealing with the current situation. Who would have thought we’d have to be marching on Washington again to save our environment, women’s rights etc.

  2. Diane Abatemarco says:

    Oh yes I feel similarly. But after my daily sitting I end up feeling detached. There is a deep sadness and an optimism at the same time. I guess my spirit believes that this will pass. And I keep thinking of Rumi’s poem The Guest House. Compassion for all of us who feel downhearted

  3. Jaimi says:

    Feeling a sense of urgency to try and bring compassion into my classroom of 4&5 year old special needs children. Just started to have a child from each table serve the other children water. That was something I always did. I’ve explained how important water is to survive and to thank the person that is giving you this water. So much hate in the world I just need to try everything that is appropriate. Next week going to help institute a short age appropriate childrens meditation. On a personal level I’m terrified that hate has won. Would love to hear any suggestions that others have tried in their classroom.

  4. Sylvie Graff says:

    I feel like meditation is the key to make a difference between our present and our thinking process and our feeling process… which is now ,very sad , difficult and hard to live with it….
    Mindfulness is the key for healing … many of us know this….
    However, if we want a more mindfulness world, we need to teach it: and i believe that the teaching of mindfulness starts in the classroom.
    How can we? as a mindfulness community make sure that children have the possibility to learn mindfulness ? to have a possibility to build an independent mind and to have independent choices?…Only then compassion toward the self and others will naturally be born…
    Is it a group or an organisation that tackle the possibility to include mindfulness against bullying in school or in education ? where should we start ? what are the people that we should contact? If such organization existes… where are they ?Who are they? Connection between us must happen in bigger scale…We need to be more effective in the education process…Where is the help?

  5. Brenda Johnson says:

    I don’t know if it is a question of healing at this point, but I think one must see, know and feel the despair and hopelessness in order to then have the necessary compassion leading to right action. There is fear for our nation, but I am feeling more fear for the planet since Tuesday. I don’t see any hope that Trump will work toward saving our planet, all sentient beings, and the ecosystems all beings are part of. I can imagine feeling compassion for him. I surely feel compassion for those living in poverty without choices who voted for him, hoping that they will get jobs or lower taxes or a wall or. . . I am sad for those who think that a man with so little disregard for human life will act in behalf of their well-being. This is a man who doesn’t even pay taxes, a man who owns enough property that many of the homeless, and the veterans he says he cares about, could be given a room in one of his many properties to live in. Generosity is something I can practice now, and kindness and compassion. Compassion for myself is more difficult as I criticize how I spend every moment. I am not doing enough.

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