Are you amongst the many of us who would happily hide away for a few months with a good book, and your phone switched off?
In the UK we’ve been hit by the perfect storm of Brexit, Covid, and the Ukraine war. Even if you live elsewhere you will be aware that things aren’t good here; but are they good anywhere at the moment? There’s a feeling of the world going backwards.
Oddly, for a spiritual thinker, politics fascinates me, I even gave it a try. I only lasted four years and I was fed up with everything from my co-councillors, to the government, to the public. Once my life had been threatened, quite seriously, and I’d been insulted, cursed, and spat at a few times, I realised that I didn’t have the character to be a politician. Even though my local party were already trying to line me up for prime minister. No way!
What always surprises me is that the public criticise politicians for things that they themselves do, holding them to a higher standard of humanity. For every thing a politician does that we don’t like, somewhere a member, or members, of the public are doing exactly the same thing.
The other thing regularly stressed over is that politicians never tell the truth. Two things I learned are, one, people don’t always tell the truth, and two, we don’t want to hear the truth. All we want to hear is that taxes will be lower, benefits and social care will be higher, we will be able to keep more of our money, whilst our respective governments will still be able to make everything we need free!
It just doesn’t work in the real world does it?
So why is this important?
On a spiritual level it’s crucially important. Politics affects every single area of our lives, and if we’re constantly stressing about it then we are building anxiety, developing the dangerous emotion of anger, and have plenty not to be happy about. When you consider that the Buddha said that Enlightenment is happiness, you can see the seriousness of the problem.
As you know, when you’re winding yourself up, when you’re making yourself anxious, what you’re not thinking about it what you can do, steps you can take, changes you can make, to put things right. If you stress on politics your mind will be full of other people that you can’t control until your next opportunity to vote, and then only for as long as you’re making that mark on that paper. Seconds.
But with politics it isn’t just losing, it’s knowing that now you may have the wrong side running the country and you have to be disenfranchised for 4/5 years. Every decision made will be wrong in your eyes, everything they do will be called into question. When you consider they’re working for the many not the few or the one, and it’s not that they can’t please all of the people all of the time, they can’t please anyone ever because even their own voters will turn on them until the next election, then vote them back in; you can see that they’re on a hiding to nothing. So are we.
Spiritually it’s also worrying to see countries polarising to extreme levels over their political parties. I love America but I will say that my eyebrows have been joining my hairline quite a bit in recent years. I can’t quite believe that the free world is that shape.
So why this subject?
If you want to live a happy life then a bit of realism is critical, and spiritual realism is lovely because it’s non-judgemental if you get it right, and I do try. That’s not to say that I don’t look at certain things and feel that they’re wrong. I do. Any violence is a huge red line for me. When it’s another country I mind my own business, when it’s my own I realise that unless I swim in the cesspit again – which I have no intention of doing – I can do nothing except cast that next vote and pray.
Realistically, politics can’t work for everyone. It can’t suit everyone. Democracy might be the best of a bad lot, but that’s exactly what it is. An imperfect solution for an imperfect world. Full of imperfect people. Spiritual distancing can help.
Learn from politics
At the moment we’re being encouraged along the route of detachment and observation in my groups. You’re probably thinking that they’re quite normal things, but when you work with spirit guides these ideas reach entirely new proportions of wisdom and support.
You can say you’re detached and then realise that you’re still affected. To be spiritually detached isn’t to take refuge in saying that you don’t care, it’s about undertaking regular internal reviews and taking action when your mind goes to a place that upsets your stomach, cramps your muscles, and renders you unable to sleep. Even when you’re not caring about whatever isn’t affecting you.
Once you come to terms with the idea that you can do nothing unless you join one team or another. Once you let go of the emotions politics create in you. Once you accept the way the world works for what it is. Then politics can teach you the kind of detachment you need in every area of your life.
You can’t make anyone, anywhere, any situation, work for you if it’s not within your power to do so. But you can learn to observe, do what you can, shrug, and pick up that book…
AND NOT FEEL THOSE FEELINGS AND PRETEND THAT YOU AREN’T!
Hiding doesn’t work
I know many people who don’t follow politics, don’t watch the news, and try to exist in blissful unawareness. Except the prices in their supermarkets, the cost of their mortgages, the eye-watering price of heating and lighting their homes, all those things and more are still affecting them. So actually, just being detached when there’s going to be an effect on you, won’t work.
Stepping into a place where you recognise how tricky things are, recognise the effect it’s having on you and counter it as best you can, is far more healthy than saying you take no notice when a problem is smacking you in the face at every turn.
This goes for people too. You can’t control your colleagues unless you can get another job. You can’t control and uncontrollable family, they’re not within your sphere of influence even if you are related and supposed to be alike. I know that far too well. You can’t control friends who betray you. If you pretend you’re unaffected and detached, yet you’re still hurting, then you’re still being affected.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT AFFECTED YOU WON’T THINK OR TALK ABOUT IT EVER! If you are then a reality check is needed.
It’s natural to feel upset in life. Natural not to get on with everyone. Very natural not to like politics. But the perspective you choose will dictate how you cope.
Politicians are human. They make mistakes, have affairs, lie when they’re scared of being caught out, and say they will please you because that’s what you want to hear, then discover when they get into power that they can’t. Then they won’t tell you because it scares them.
People are people, they either belong with you or they don’t, but you have to make that choice. Quietly distancing yourself and moving forward with your life seeking people you can resonate with. Finding a new job and letting connections go. Realising the one you thought was the one wasn’t the one because you’ve just actually met the one (which was very disruptive and completely wonderful), and taking action rather than desperately trying to pretend everything is okay.
I don’t feel it’s too generalist to say that most of us see politics as a game of smoke and mirrors, where the truth is never quite told, never quite clear, rarely spoken of in more than a whisper and only to certain people. Where they know they’re never going to win, we know they’re never going to win, and they know we know that they’re never going to win.
If you can become detached from politics and you can watch it without yelling at the TV and needing a tablet to help you sleep. If you can become detached from everything that hurts or upsets you, excepting losing a loved one or pet, or struggling through a war or natural disaster. Then you can view what’s going on, and if you’re unable to move on from it, you won’t mind because you’ll be in control of your emotions.
YOU WILL NOT PROTECT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH BY HIDING, OR PRETENDING THAT SOMETHING DOESN’T MATTER IF IT DOES.
If it matters to you then it’s important no matter what anyone else thinks.
Use politics to help you learn the right kind of detachment that allows you to observe, shake your head, smile quietly, and take action. Whilst still feeling relaxed, happy, and in control. When you can deal with something by understanding that you really can’t change it, you’ll find it easier to deal with the things you really can change.
Little trick I learned whilst navigating an inexplicable world.
To your happiness