I've been worried for a long time that the entire world is held up in solving its problems by the division in the American political system.
It's the Republicans' fault. No, it's the Democrats' fault. No, it's the Republicans' fault. No, it's the Democrats' fault. No, it's the Republicans' fault. No, it's the Democrats' fault. No, it's the Republicans' fault. No, it's the Democrats' fault. No, it's the Republicans' fault.
And on and on.
Boring, isn't it? And ineffectve. And dangerous.
Because while we fight for control of the country, and over whose fault the messes are, we forget to express care for the world. Who controls our political system has become more important than actually solving the world's problems.
And while the United States is stuck in its log jam, the rest of the world is stuck behind it. Think Solomon's baby except that in the present story no one acts like they love the baby.
So this election day, I got to thinking, what if Americans could bond over their mutual concerns instead of fighting over their differences? Because, in fact, we have way more in common than different.
Our bodies are more or less the same. Our needs for food, water, shelter and companisionship are more or less the same. Most of us even share the same fundamental concerns. In fact, the only thing that we don't share 100% are our opinions, which are–if you think about it–nor more than tiny electrical impulses in our brains.
Meanwhile, most of us care about the world.
Why can't we acknowledge our mutual caring and move forward from there?
So on Election Day, I trundled over to Times Square and, for an hour, performed a chanting ceremony. I know to some, this may sound crazy, but I went over there and chanted a chant whose fundamental purpose is to express an intentionality to care.
It's called Kwan Seum Bosal chanting. Kwan Seum Bosal is the Boddhisatva of compassion. When you chant the name of Kwan Seum Bosal, you are more or less expressing your desire for the spirit of compassion to manifest in the world.
It seems to me that the deisre for the spirt of compassion to pervade the world is fairly universal. It doesn't matter who you are or who you vote for, chances are you perceive a lot of problems and you'd like to see a bit more compassion floating around.
This wish comes before being Democrat or Republican. So I chanted for compassion and I hoped others would chant with me–or at least quietly share my sentiment in their own hearts–whether they had different opinions from me or not.
Because we need to find a way to come together. To bond over our caring.
And the point is not where the chant comes from or from what religion. If I knew the appropriate Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim or humanist prayer or chant for a compassionate world, that would be just as good (In fact, if you know the appropriate chant or prayer from your own spiritiual orientation, I'd love to hear about it in the comments).
The point is trying to find a common point. A place where we can all agree and begin from there. A place to start. Can't we just find a place to start?
Anyway, the video above (made by the excellent Jennifer Prediger) is a record of my Election Day visit to Times Square.
Watch it. Tell me what you think.
Because I'm thinking of doing this for an hour every day for 100 days. And I'm hoping other people might join me in other parts (or event the same part) of the world with their own prayers or chants.
Because I believe that if we strongly express our intentionality together, something good–even something miraculous–will happen. Want to join the fun? Leave a comment with your email address.