Dear President Trump,
I had a little-big epiphany as I was going through my loving-kindness prayers on my walk this morning. I realized that it doesn’t make sense to send intentions for my life, my family’s lives, and strangers’ lives to unfold with ease and intentions for your life to unfold peacefully – that really, all of us need to be focused on peace if we are to going to set the conditions for selecting leaders who prioritize peace. I’m not sure how long ago it was, probably a year and a half or two years, when I switched from sending all of us, including you, the standard LKM ease intentions and made yours about peace. I’m sure you did something overt to prompt the switch or your political fortunes looked grim enough that it seemed like a good war would be all that would save you, so it wasn’t illogical that I made that change. However, I didn’t go far enough and I see that clearly now.
Of course my private LKM prayers aren’t beaming out and actually influencing anyone else; they’re just sort of keeping me steady and keeping me from having an iron grip hot-hate-coals that would end up burning me even if I managed to hurl a few at you. However, even with the realistic limitations of LKM in mind, the overall calculus doesn’t work properly. I see this now and understand that the following equation is much more accurate: (me + family + strangers + everyone but you) x ease ≠> peaceful president (note: you have to read the equation as though the left side is really math).
In other words, we get back what we put into our politics. If our focus is on having lives that unfold with ease then chances are we are going to get a POTUS who is all about his life unfolding with ease rather than one who is invested in doing the hard work of making and maintaining a flourishing (as opposed to an oppressive if still nominally tolerable) peace. So, from here on out, in my tiny LKM universe, along with wishes for safety, happiness, and health (which you will continue to get too) we are all going to be challenged to live lives that unfold and intersect peacefully.
I don’t really know what let me see that this change needs to happen. It was pretty visceral and not terrible cerebral at all – I just felt it all of the sudden and knew that sowing ease is never going to reap peace.
I have no illusions that I’m bringing you along with me. If I were somehow influencing you with these letters and my LKM practice, I doubt I’d still see you as my most difficult person and I wouldn’t need to worry so much about peace or feel so compelled to try, even in tiny ways, to balance out your numerous dangerous, oppressive, and poisonous qualities. Obviously there would still be danger, discontent, ill health, and conflict in the world if you weren’t in power or if you were a positive sort of leader – it’s not all on you, by any means – but you and your cronies have managed to do a number on us all that’s going to take a very long time to fix.
May we stay safe as we plod through the muck.
May we nonetheless be willing to make radical space for hope and happiness.
May we use whatever antidotes we need to repel the poison that is our current politics.
May we all invest in peace.