While eating lunch last Friday I noticed a scrolling banner on the restaurant's tv news that said the FBI was reopening the Clinton investigation. My gut tightened, fear awakened and I heard myself say, "not now, this close to the election." The TV just had the headline of this issue on the screen and no sound or details, I couldn't wait to get home to watch the news after work to understand what was happening.
So, here we are...such a bizarre country and election process we are living in right now. It feels like we are in a war, with such vehemence, hatred and killing energy that Donald Trump expresses himself from and through his rhetoric stirs up the worse aspects in humanity. My gut knows that Hillary is no saint, but she sure isn't an embodiment of darkness like Trump.
As we all struggle through this crazy political climate we are in, we can feel powerless to change whatever will happen on Tuesday. I voted early just so that I could feel a sense of agency and power at this time.
Simultaneously, I've been recovering from an illness...either food poisoning, the flu, or maybe election indigestion- all I know is that it hit my gut like a sucker punch. I've been in bed for a few days, so I've been listening to many dharma talks for some much needed inspiration to keep my spirits lifted a bit during this challenging time. I'd like to share some of this inspiration with you...how to relax your guts, soften any fear that is opening up at this time whether its due to the stress of this election or whatever else may trigger your fear.
In one dharma talk by Gil Fronsdal that I've it included here(I'm also including a second dharma talk he gave that reflects some of his thoughts about the election process), he talks about the importance of the breath and of keeping our belly's soft when we breathe. The short podcast which is called a "dharmette" talk he shares how our breath can "lubricate" our minds. You know how our minds get stuck like records with a scratch on it, for those of you that had record players like me when younger. So breath, in its unending, fluid, wave-like flow can transform the agitated, restless, unsettled mind. And a belly that can soften can help shift our energy in such a deeply profound way.
Speaking of soft bellies, I remember while studying qigong with Robert Peng last year, the advice he shared with us that he received from his teacher Shifu Tan. When Robert asked him how long his qigong practice should be each day, Shifu Tan shared he could be practicing qigong every minute of every day. When Robert asked how that was possible, Shifu Tan said you nourish the qi through each breath you relaxfully and consciously takes into the dan tien, the reservoir of qi within the belly center. This nourishing the qibreathing practice centers our energy in our core center.
Our gut center is so vulnerable to fear. To reconnect with our inner confidence and inner stability as we are holding fear in our guts is very, very difficult. So breathing practices certainly help. Also, it is important to engage our awareness of our body during our day. Notice how breath and belly are this day for you. Stay connected to how each interaction or activity you are engaged in is being processed by your breath and belly. As you sense any tightening in your belly or unevenness or shallowness of breath, know that your gut is reacting to your world. Stay connected to what the message is from your gut...most likely there is some fear being stirred up and your inner being needs your attention vs glossing over the situation or pushing through.
At this time of such unrest we all need to take care of our energy, modulate our fears, and send healing thoughts and energy out across this incredible country we live in as we suffer from such division, narrow-mindedness, lack of communication and true understanding.