Meditation calms the mind and opens the heart. Can you have a calm mind and open heart and be a Republican? Can you meditate and believe it is important to have the right to own an automatic weapon with clips of as many bullets you want? Can you have a calm mind, open heart, and believe children who have no papers and no path to citizenship should leave the country? With a calm mind and open heart do you really believe a world growing more full of cars, factories, and homes with air conditioning does not have an effect on the climate?
Can you meditate and be a Republican? In February of 2013 the journal Plos One released a study saying there is evidence that Republicans and Democrats think and make decisions differently. They suggest that there is a red brain and a blue brain. Is it possible there is also a red heart and a blue heart? Could a red heart be more self centered with its passion for patriotism and flag waving? Could a red heart be more fearful in its determination for a strong defense, harsh prison terms, and the death penalty? Is a red heart more intolerant with its emphasis on strong values, proper roles for men and women, and controlling human sexuality?
Can one have a calm mind and open heart and be a Republican? If someone was to meditate would he or she really be against millions of Americans finding a path to having health insurance? Would people with preexisting conditions be ignored in their suffering and hope to have medical care?
With meditation, excessive thinking slows down and there is more understanding. As the mind calms, there is less fear and defensiveness, more openness and compassion. Does a Republican remain a Republican with a relaxed mind and gentle heart? In meditation one begins to feel a connection to others indeed to all living things. In meditation comes an awareness we all have similar wishes for happiness and well being. Even though we may look different, live in large houses instead of rented apartments, underneath our thoughts and feelings, below our busy mind is a vast and peaceful heart. Does a red heart continue to think the problems outside our national boundaries are someone else's problems? Can someone meditate and come into the inner sanctuary of their heart and believe unemployment benefits should be curtailed, head start programs, and food stamps limited? Can a calm mind really vote for smaller government when it means less fire fighters, policemen, and teachers?
Do Republicans have something to worry about with the spread of meditation? The leadership knows their base of white voters are becoming fewer and fewer as minority voters are growing every year. What happens if more white voters especially young people begin meditating? Do Republicans think meditation is limited to East Coast elites and is just the latest fad in the West coast Silicon Valley? Do they really think they do not have to worry that it will spread to the rest of the country? What happens if meditation grows in Texas? Could all the gerrymandering of safe Republican districts be for naught as more people sit in meditation and discover the benefits of clear thinking and a more giving heart? If more people start meditation through out the South what happens to the fear and resistance to gay people being together with the benefits other couples take for granted including marriage? Would people really support new laws that make voting more difficult for poor people, Blacks, and students? Can people with a calm mind and open heart still believe Obama is a socialist and fascist, bringing the country to complete ruin after being president for five years?
Does the growth and enjoyment of meditation spell the doom for Republican thinking? Meditation has been proven to heal stress and relieve symptoms of many illnesses. Could meditation help the suffering Republican? Could a red heart realize that we are all purple? Could a typical, everyday Republican who meditates someday hear the cries of poverty, the danger of rising oceans, proliferation of arms, and aggression against women and children?
I don't think people who are meditating are thinking about red or blue hearts and brains. They are trying not to think but to give their busy minds a rest. People who are meditating are thinking less and enjoying life more. They are pursuing peace, quiet, joy, and gratitude. People who are meditating are, however, a threat to many parts of modern culture. They want to buy less and be more. They want less arguing and more cooperation in every part of life. And surely people who are meditating want a government that is not threatened to be shut down but works together doing what government is suppose to do, govern.
This is all not to say Democrats are perfect and also do not need meditation. We all know at least one overly frustrated liberal who could use a daily dose of a calmer mind and more open heart. Liberals and conservatives of all kinds could meditate. Imagine red hearts and blue hearts joining together towards making a more perfect purple union. Surely with calmer minds and more open hearts anything and everything good is possible.
Bruce Davis is co-director of Silent Stay Retreat Home & Hermitage near Napa, California and Assisi, Italy.