The political season in the U.S. is upon us. We’re bombarded with political ads making, in many cases, outlandish claims against opponents and the other party. Civil discourse in our society among people with differing views has disappeared, supplanted in so many cases by vitriol and venomous contempt. It’s enough to make us ask ourselves, “Are there any true leaders among them?” 

As we face existential threats to humanity and to our planet in the forms of war, climate change, the pandemic, mass migration, terror-inciting regimes, and resource inequities, instead of taking bold measures to address these crises, we’re retreating into ideological camps and pointing fingers at each other. In many recent presidential elections in so-called democratic countries, the voters have chosen autocratic leaders intent on squelching opposing views and, instead of working collaboratively on critical issues, choosing to instead fall back on playing the blame-game. 

All in all, these are times in which we can understandably fall into despair. Instead, though, we need to double-down on elevating our own traits of compassion, gratitude, and hope. We must elevate ourselves to a higher consciousness that enables us to honor the underlying humanity that we share with everyone on the planet.  

This is a tall order to fill, but if we spend time each day in a Mindfulness practice, it will reveal to us how to be our best selves and exude a sense of calm clarity to others. By quieting the busy-ness of our mind and letting our breath connect us to our calm internal core, we surrender our ego-driven self and get in touch with a benevolent, spiritual self that allows us to reveal the sense of oneness of the world in which we’re a part. 

A regular practice that brings awareness to the forefront gives us the ability to leave behind the vitriol and to shift our attitude to one of respect and unity. We are able to use our words kindly and wisely, elevating the civility of our discussions and honoring our fundamental humanity. 

Just think what the world would become if our leaders used Mindfulness as the backdrop for how they approached their role. Such practices would provide calm amongst the chaos. It would raise the level of integrity and compassion among fellow leaders, opponents, and constituents alike, and allow everyone to bring their best selves to the job at hand. Mindfulness would change the discourse so that we were more considerate and effective at problem solving. Even if we disagreed, we’d be able to place our focus on moving cooperatively toward solutions without all the malice. 

Until that time, we must listen to our leaders carefully and decipher whether what they’re saying is compassionate, intelligent, and mindful. Do they remind us of the need for civil discourse by the way in which they speak? Do they elevate a collective spirit that represents integrity and civility? 

Yet in the meantime, we must all take a stand to improve our current political environment. As individuals we must do our part by overcoming our negativity and directing our focus to a promising future. By regularly practicing Mindfulness, we can open our hearts. It will enable us to transcend limited thoughts and stay in touch with the oneness that underlies our humanity.  

Start each day by practicing Mindfulness through focused breathing. Begin with several deep breaths to help you clear your mind and connect with your inner calm and spiritual being. When you make the effort to mediate on your breath at the start of each day, you move into your day with decreased stress, increased focus, and the ability to navigate your interactions with others with calm neutrality. 

Consciously aligning each day with the supreme consciousness that breathes life into us all will allow us to shift our own awareness to promoting the greater good and begin to raise the consciousness of others upon which we share this planet.