Sunday, January 22, 2017

Spirit Sunday: Culling beauty from hateful words

Meditation takes a lot of forms, and for me, it often takes place with pen in hand.

When I’m writing, I tend to go deep and make discoveries about who I am at the core. And I renew my connection with what I regard as the source of all knowing, while also gaining reassurance and stillness. It’s what I try to achieve with seated meditation, but writing gets me there more reliably and meaningfully.

To get to where I want to go, I just lay down some words—sometimes I’ve thought of them a bit before starting, and sometimes, when I’m feeling a little dry, I just move my pen or fingers. A kind of energy seems to flow, as if the words on the page are sparking, pulling toward one another. That’s where the discoveries happen.

Yesterday, the first full day of a new president’s administration, I started a brand new writing meditation, and I’m interested to see where it goes.

What I plan to do is look for words from the new president each day. I don’t doubt that his words will be belligerent or spiteful or self-serving; he’s not a person who is prone to generous speech acts or writing.

I honestly can’t stand the bellicose, hateful posturing of this person, and his words are repugnant to me, and yet I like to stay on top of the news—it’s the duty of every citizen to do so, after all. That leaves me in a pickle; how will I take in vitriol from this terrible person, every single day?

I plan to take the worst words from this person who claims to know all the best words, and I’m going to sit with them in front of me. I plan to see how they move—what a loving perspective can do with these raw materials. And I’m going to shift them from hate toward love. I’m going to move and manipulate his words so that they represent everything our president does not—love, compassion, intelligence, and humor.

When you think about it, it’s the ultimate pussygrab. “I can do anything,” the president said in the famous bus video. And I can do anything, too. But my plan is to find the love that is there (surely there must be love?), and I will manufacture the love that is needed.

Words are seeds. And I won’t let the president’s hateful words take root in my garden. That doesn’t mean I can’t let them blossom into something beautiful—and that’s just what I plan to do.

Yesterday’s poem, sort of a nonce American sentence (seventeen syllables, usually presented as just one sentence), was based on the president’s lies about his inauguration crowd, and his accusation that the media was dishonest in reporting about numbers. The president said, in part, “We caught them. And we caught them in a beauty.” All of the words in this poem are from this brief utterance.

Looked out: a million people! Caught them in beauty—
now, that’s not a lie.

My plan is to post a new poem each day in a series I call “Love in His Throat.” I’ll guess I’ll go until I can’t stand it anymore—until the meditation no longer serves me well.

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