In my piece from a couple of weeks ago, I said something that, on further reflection, I felt to be mistaken. I wrote about the shift from a sense of shared social identity a few generations ago to the radical polarization we're experiencing now, and said:
The shift happened naturally enough. It results from tendencies within us that aren't even something to especially decry. One of the core tenets of TTW is the cultivation of a state of ease in all things that we do, and from that perspective it's clear why people would choose to consume media produced by people who share a similar worldview: it's far more comfortable. Who wants to choose the discomfort of constantly experiencing the dissonance of dealing with people whose worldview does not match your own? Instead, at our current level of energetic development, we seek the comfortable consonance of "This affirms what I already think."
As I thought about it later, I realized that I was confusing the state of ease we seek to cultivate through TTW practices like centering with that which is simply easy. They aren't the same thing.
Easy often means a path of minimal resistance, usually relying on habit. Indeed, if there's anything I have learned through the going-on-three years I've worked with Jerry, it's that the easiest thing in the world is to stay embedded in your current habits and not change, no matter how strong the impetus. That is, in a sense, what habits are: a state requiring little or no energetic input to keep up. They are easy. This is the benefit, and the curse, of habits.
Ease, from a TTW perspective, is a different thing entirely. When you practice centering and cultivate the state of flow it engenders, blocks to that flow reveal themselves. If, for example, your habit in times of stress is to tense up, tensing up is the easy thing to do, but it's the very opposite of ease. Ease will result when you become aware of that tension and use a state of consciousness and flow to release it.
If we bring this concept back to the political realm, then we see that the current polarization of our discourse, driven by habitual patterns of thought and behavior, is extremely easy, but it is far, far from a state of ease. Indeed, we're watching our system become more and more toxic, and no one seems to have slightest idea what to do about it. As I write this, the Senate is debating invoking the so-called "nuclear option" with respect to the confirmation of Supreme Court justices. Really consider what the analogy is there. We're likening this shift to the decision to go to nuclear war. You tell me: energetically, is this going to invoke creative energy (ease), or destructive?
I've written off our government at this point. The toxicity runs so deep that the government is already in a state of collapse, and that collapse is accelerating. But I have been trying to imagine what a state of ease seeking to counter these destructive patterns might look like. I have started envisioning something like this: going up to someone whose political views differ completely from my own and shaking hands--a gesture of peace and respect--and then saying, "I don't understand your point of view. Can you explain it to me?"