Sunday November 13, 2016
Trump…what reaction do you have when you see the name?
I am sure, like me, you have been caught up in the media circus about the presidential election and now are trying to make sense of it all. How can an electoral system, involving millions of people, produce candidates for the most powerful position in the world who can be justifiably criticised for their track record on honesty and integrity? In answer to such questions journalists are telling us that Trump was elected because of a dissatisfaction of the political establishment which ignored the legitimate concerns of so many people. The same answer is given for Brexit.
But is it true?
To find the answer we have to look at not only the US or UK but the world in general and reflect on what is happening to people. Fear seems to be on the increase, something which is translated into anxiety and stress. If people are consumed with fear coupled with anger then their behaviour will reflect these limiting emotions and they will increasingly feel an absence of internal peace.
A feeling of peacefulness is necessary before we can show love and empathy, which is in turn necessary before we can feel happy and contented. If enough individuals feel peace-less then this dissonance is reflected in the political system and leaders are chosen who reflect our emotional state e.g. Trump.
What can we do? Begin by asking yourself to what extent you experience a feeling of internal peace? Is your mind consumed with anxiety and is your stress level higher than you would like to be? The evidence suggests that our mental health and mental well-being are declining, as is our general level of resilience.Therefore my heart-felt suggestion is that each one of us needs to pay greater attention to the state of our own internal world, resolving to create a deeper feeling of internal peace.
A simple way of doing this is to spend time with ourselves - just a few minutes each day - being aware of the activity of our mind. In this activity we simply focus our attention on our breath and when our attention wanders, as it will, we bring our attention back again to our breathing. You will be amazed how you will begin to feel if you practice this for at least a month. You will find that you become much more aware of the quality of your thinking and able to be curious about what and why you think and feel in the way you do. The outcome will be that you will feel more peaceful, able to share your love with a renewed sense of well-being. This does not mean that all the challenges of life will have disappeared, but it will ensure that each one of us can, in the words of a very different type of world leader, 'become the change we want to see in the world'.
I believe that the power is in each one of us to transform ourselves, which will then benefit society. The Trumps of this world will then cease to be given the reins of power.
Associate Dr Neil Hawkes is the founder of Values-based Education (VbE) and the author of the book From My Heart: Transforming Lives Through Values.