Dear President Trump,
Given how much chaos and tumult is going on in the White House, I did some tonglen for you this morning. It took me a minute to settle on what I think is likely the main negative emotion you are feeling. I passed on the obvious ones (rage, anger, and frustration) and instead went with the sense of abandonment. I know you’ve still got Miller, Kelly, Conway, and Ivanka, but your people are peeling off like old paint and the West Wing must now be an echo chamber both figuratively and literally (acoustically). I keep imagining you sitting alone at your big empty desk, forlornly staring into space because most of your audience has either been banished or have left to save themselves. It was equally hard to settle on an emotion or essence to send you back on the outbreaths. I definitely didn’t want to send you a sense of security knowing both that it would be false and that it would not really help you or the situation. I finally decided on a sense of belonging to the whole human family as I thought that might be a good antidote to what ails you.
Doing tonglen for you even for just a few minutes helped clarify for me what an incredibly big ask it was when Jesus urged people to love their enemies. You can probably tell from all the (obviously kind of silly) strategizing I was doing about what emotion of yours to focus on and what to send you, that my love for you is highly qualified and largely theoretical. Basically, I am making myself go through these motions to keep you out in front of me like the reckless scary driver and to keep myself from falling into complete despair and bitterness. It’s helping a little.
The other thing about my tonglen practice this morning is that about halfway through I started having a surreal sense that this whole thing is really just a very bad movie, that when I read the news later I would be reading about President Hillary Clinton. I kept most of my attention focused on breathing in your abandonment and breathing out belonging, but I had images streaming past of you saying one jacked, crazy thing after another and a little part of my brain kept saying “naw! that couldn’t have happened.” But no, you were splashed over every part of the WP and things really are so very surreally messed up.
May you be safe and stop harming others.
May you be happy to be kind and respectful.
May you figure out how to have healthy relationships.
May you not start a war to distract us.