My Transpersonal Identity Crises
This is an open letter to my Eurotas friends across the world.
The following is an excerpt written in an article in America’s popular Time Magazine (February 13, 2017):
“During the (presidential) campaign of 1800, an opposition newspaper warned that if Thomas Jefferson were elected President, “murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced…the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.”
For those unfamiliar with American history, Thomas Jefferson was the third American president. It is widely accepted that he was one of the great ones. Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence and was a major collaborator of the American Constitution.
Over two hundred years later, similar malicious words that attacked Jefferson are now being spewed at Donald Trump, America’s 45th president.
This article is not political. I am neither a Democrat nor Republican. Instead, I am an Independent. In the US, this refers to someone who does not fully identify with either party but rather votes for the person or party that makes the most sense at a given time.
I am reaching out to Eurotas because I want to share that I am having a “transpersonal identity crisis” and it is feeling very uncomfortable. For the last year and a half, during America’s presidential campaign, I have been privy to the incessant and almost constant hatred targeted at Donald Trump — from Columbia University colleagues, from media, from clients and students, and from some family members and close transpersonal friends.
Many of these people – whom I love, respect, and share common values – have been venting such toxic energy towards America’s new president, that on occasion, I have felt actual pain in my heart.
The US has a new Commander-in-Chief, and the world has a new leader. I had hoped that my extremely polarized country would slowly come together and heal once the election was over. I anticipated that folks on the liberal side would breathe deeply, take some understandable time to grieve their disappointment, and then move on.
Such a reconciliation has not happened. Rather, frenzied indignation and fury around Trump has gotten worse. Half of the US population shouts that Donald is the most cataclysmic horror to have ever happened to our country. Many of my European and Asian friends and colleagues say the same thing.
A Fascist, a bigot, a liar, a psychopath, a homophobe, a mentally ill narcissistic monster, a xenophobe, a billionaire who cares nothing for the average person, another Hitler (even with his five Jewish grandchildren) are some of the common descriptors coming his way. I have read such posts every day for many months from thoughtful, transpersonal, and psychologically aware Facebook friends.
While this spreading aversion seeps through the progressive and “spiritually oriented” sectors of American culture, the other half of the country’s populace experiences deep gratitude, but only utters such feelings among trusted compatriots.
Millions of Trump supporters quietly share with each other, feelings of hope — at last — for their children’s future, for America’s future, and for the future of the world. They speak softly, because the “fury” of the Left, is actually quite frightening for many of them.
From a transpersonal perspective, why are so many people not willing to give America’s new president a chance to develop, progress, and possibly transform? Is this not the foundation of all transpersonal teachings? How can it be that there is an almost paranoid terror that this very politically incorrect, grandiose, fragile, ex- reality show TV star will turn the world upside down and destroy it – all by himself?
America is not a fascist or totalitarian regime. It is a republic with three branches of government – Legislative, Judicial and Executive. This means America has checks and balances. It also means that presidents are in office for only four years if the public decides not to re-elect them.
Where have our transpersonal values disappeared to, in relation to this one man? Eurotas members know very well that all people are part of a single unifying consciousness, and each of us – even Donald Trump – has a heart and a soul. We know that no individual is perfect – each person holds shadow and light within. Yet, there is always the opportunity to grow – the Hero’s Journey is available for anyone with courage to go through the Initiation. We understand that duality is an illusion – and overcoming this duality necessitates opening our hearts to love. But how can we love, when we hate another? Is it not true that we attract what we give out? Carl Jung wrote that the characteristics we despise in others are actually repressed in ourselves. We recognize that both inner and outer reflect each other, and through consciousness, the world can be transformed.
For those identifying with Buddhism, why have so many turned away from its teachings when the topic of Donald Trump comes up: principles of nonattachment; of surrendering to what is; of understanding that suffering comes when we resist change; and acknowledging that what is called right or wrong, good or evil, is illusionary.
Can this story change? What will happen if those in the transpersonal field begin to feel compassion for Donald Trump, maybe even letting themselves imagine what it must be like for him in the silent hours of the night? Can there be empathy for the awesome challenges and divisiveness that he faces each day? Is it possible to wish him well on his own Hero’s Journey, and hope for his success as leader of the free world?
I believe that opening the big heart is the way of social activism — even when there is radical disagreement with another’s policies, personality, and perceived values.
As transpersonal students and teachers, will you please help the US heal. Will you also please help Donald Trump heal, so that he might stop fighting and learn to forgive? If we can all do this together, then life around the globe might just become a little more gentle, nurturing, and peaceful.
Thank you. Judith Miller