Saturday, October 11, 2008

OBAMA OR McCAIN: Does God Have a Favorite?

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right” Abraham Lincoln

Recently, a group of non-traditional spiritually-minded friends met for lunch. We discussed metaphysics and spiritual growth. Then the conversation turned to politics and the upcoming election. Even though this group would be considered very progressive by most standards, some clear differences emerged in the discussion. Many were Democrats, but there were a few Republicans and Independents as well. The conversation became quite heated and passionate, as political chats often do. Afterward, one of my friends asked me privately, “How can we say it is all One when even those of us in this spiritual community cannot agree on a President?”

I think some of our spiritual communities put undue emphasis on, and misunderstand the idea of 'The One.' We sometimes forget that ‘The Many’ are as critical and eternal as ‘The One’. All religions have some notion of Plurality within Unity. Greek Polytheists established Zeus as The One Leader. Both Hinduism and Christianity agree that there is One Ultimate God (JHWH) or Power (Brahman), yet each speaks of a Trinity within the One. Islam and Judaism are most adamant in their Monotheism, yet each has a plurality of names and qualities of the One God; and each refers to the One as We or Us. Soul-making on this planet requires Multiplicity in Unity. It is the nature of the Cosmos and the human mind.

Furthermore, the Many always contains opposing sides. That is Reality. We can speak of one football game, yet there are two teams comprised of dozens of clashing players. We speak of owning a car, yet it has a motor and drive shaft to propel it forward as well as brakes to stop it. The One always contains the Many which is comprised of opposites.

As nauseated as it might make you feel, it is not inaccurate to say that ‘God’ or Reality is both Republican and Democrat. These archetypal opposites drive soulful evolution; Love and Hate, Life and Death, Male and Female, War and Peace, Negative and Positive, Illness and Disease, Youth and Old Age, Fear and Courage, etc..

We humans are co-creative players in this terrestrial game of soul-making. The Universe has cast each of us into his/her role with a certain amount of destiny involved. Some of us have more ‘liberal’ propensities and others more ‘conservative’ predilections, though each of these reductionist labels is abysmally simplistic, stereotypical and inadequate.

Debate and conflict are prevalent within humanity; life has always evolved materially and soulfully through the clashes of opposites as much as through cooperation. One Hindu comedian put it like this, “God routinely has a nervous breakdown and each fragment gets to do therapy to put God back together again.”

One of my respected friends at the lunch table became very animated about her political views, unafraid of stating her position brilliantly. A couple of others intelligently and strongly disagreed with her. I personally found the honesty from both sides refreshing. Neither was concerned about politically correctness...each said what they really thought and felt. Some at the table held McCain to be the incarnation of war mongering evil, while others felt Obama to be an inept wolf in sheep's clothing. Only time will tell. The conscious participant learned a lot about his/her self. He/she was looking in a mirror. The peacemaker found herself becoming a warrior for her position, the warrior found himself uncharacteristically advocating for tranquility. Each was challenged to see if they were teachable, or simply debating from a position of limited information, more motivated by ideological prejudice than reasoned fairness. This is soul stuff to the conscious person. The election itself is secondary to these character revelations and psychic rearrangements.

These two candidates will be distant memories in a few decades, but the souls forged in each of us by playing the game will last forever. I am not suggesting nonchalance or quietism. Life on this planet matters. Choose an informed position, listen to the other side fairly, play hard with both reason and heart, and play to win! But play with respect – God is the other team too.

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