After the presidential election in the US last week I began thinking about exemplification of spirituality. How do some individuals live their spiritual understanding as an example for the rest of us?
As I continued to ponder, I began to see some examples of spirituality in the way Barack Obama conducted himself during the recent presidential campaign. Today we will begin a multipart series of articles on this subject.
First, however, we will give our usual welcome back to our readers. I hope everyone had a safe and happy weekend. If you are so inclined, submit a comment to tell our other readers about your weekend.
This is spiritual not political
Before we get into looking at what I see as application of spiritual understanding by Barack Obama, I want to say a few words. First – this is a spiritual discussion not a political discussion. The subject will be how one person applied spiritual principles in a very public manner to achieve his goals. If this had been a movie actor, or a doctor, or Joe the Plumber applying the same principles in the same manner, the discussion would be the same.
The other point that I want to make here is that this not partisan. I am a firm independent. My choice goes to the person who I feel will help us to learn and grow and to help each other. I assure you if I saw John McCain exemplify the same spiritual principles in the same way, this series of articles would be about him as well.
Staying in the moment
The first thing that struck me after the election was how Barack Obama always seemed to be in the moment. I do not ever remember him being upset, being defensive, or being angry.
Every time I saw Barack Obama on TV he was calm, quiet, and confident. Some people have learned to make this behavior an elaborate charade. They are calm and quiet on the surface but seething underneath. All of our intense scrutiny by the media eventually brings this out.
I never saw Barack Obama get upset. Sure, he made a few missteps and unfortunate statements. However those never seemed to be coming from a place of anger and upset – just a place of being frank and open.
There were a few times when Barack Obama raised his voice. As best I can tell that was only to make a point. I never saw him raise his voice in anger or upset. He seemed to speak in calm, well modulated tones most of the time.
As best I can tell I never saw Barack Obama out of the moment. If you remember a time when he was not in the moment please tell us about your memory. Better yet, if you can find a video clip please send in the link so we can all view it.
Don’t defend or attack
This is one of the points on which I think that most people did not understand Barack Obama. He behaved in a manner that was antithetical to every accepted norm of political campaigning of the past thirty years. He rarely defended himself or attacked his opponent.
This is one those examples that hold so much for each and every one of us. This can show us how to live a nonviolent and spiritual life every day. This shows us that spiritual principles can and do work when we properly understand and apply them to our lives.
As I understand it, the essential principle of nonviolence is to not attack our enemy. When absolutely necessary we defend our self. When that is done as little confrontation as possible is used.
The best examples of nonviolence in action that come to mind are Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Ghandi. I think the most accessible example of these three is the movie Ghandi. We have discussed this movie elsewhere on this site and it is listed as one of our recommended resources.
Ghandi would frequently allow his opponents to attack. He instructed his people to take the blows of their attackers. When he decided to do something in a proactive manner (like march to the sea to make salt) it was done in a calm, nonviolent manner.
I have seen similar behavior in Barack Obama. I have no doubt that he will use the armed forces to defend the country if we are attacked by other armed forces. However, I do not think he will use armed forces to stomp around the world enforcing his policies or proving that he is not afraid of anyone.
To return to the campaign – just watch the footage from the debates to see the nonviolence in action. When John McCain went on and on in a very confrontational manner, Barack Obama just sat back and waited. When John McCain ran out of time, Barack just calmly replied to whatever charges John McCain had made.
When necessary Barack was a bit more forceful when he needed to make a point. When he thought that John McCain was wrong he would calmly say so. He never tried to talk over John McCain unless McCain was being unreasonable in the amount of time McCain was using – or when John McCain had interrupted Barack while Barack was talking.
The bottom line is that I was inspired by the solid application of nonviolence as a campaign tactic. If we all recognize the success of this tactic we might be able to convince our other elected representatives to learn how to use this for themselves.
That is all for today. I have several more points to make regarding this subject. We will probably be reading about this for a few days. Hopefully we can be discussing it much longer than that. Please submit your comment so we can begin this very important discussion.
Until tomorrow –
Es kava turen hai
We work towards an identical goal.
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