Being An Enlightened Citizen
The birthday of the United States feels very different this year. 2020 is already one for the history books and we are coming up to an important presidential election, the first to be conducted during a pandemic in over 100 years.
This season is a good time to pause to reflect on the ideals our country was founded upon, how close to or far from the lofty goals of our founders we are today and what we want for the future of the United States.
Many of us take our political views for granted—we know what we believe in and what we oppose. But many of us have not really explored where our beliefs were formed and who or what influenced them. Many of us find it difficult to understand those who have different political views.
I propose that this historic year is a good one to step into the role of being an “enlightened citizen.”
With thanks to Amy Falchuk, who has written about these issues here https://goop.com/wellness/environmental-health-civics/political-consciousness/ , I think being an enlightened citizen starts with:
- Knowing your core political values (personal freedom, full self-expression, shared responsibility, justice, equity, and equality are examples of core political values.)
- Looking at your participation, if any, in the political process? Why do you participate? Why don’t you participate?
- Questioning how informed you really are. Where do you get your information? Do you tend to go only to sources that adhere to your own beliefs and viewpoints?
- Considering how often you engage with opposing views. When you do, how do you engage with them? What happens to you energetically and in your body when you find yourself having a discussion with someone who differs from you politically? Do you stay open? Do you become defiant and closed off? What do your tone of voice and your body posture say?
- Picking a policy issue you feel strongly about. What is the essence of this issue? What draws you to it? Does it relate to anything in your own life? Do you know the viewpoints that differ from yours on this issue
- Choosing at least one aspect of your political life—or lack thereof—that you would want to explore (choices could include to be better informed, to learn about opposing viewpoints, to increase your participation in the process, etc.)
One definition of politics is the “total complex of relations between people living in society.” Each of us can have a vision of what that type of politics may look like in our communities and our country as a whole.
As citizens, we each have a right to our own views and beliefs. As enlightened citizens, we can develop more awareness and understanding of the roles we want to play in the political process and how to interact more effectively with our fellow citizens in the political arena.
At the Sattva Wisdom Center we look forward to providing resources to support you in being an enlightened citizen. We can’t wait to welcome you!
With love and light,