Blog: Healing the Divide: How to Find Our Way Back From Negative Intention
By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.
For the last year, our psyches have been under attack. Every waking moment of public life has been a bombardment of political partisanship and bellicose assertions. Even those of us who unplug from television and other forms of media have not been immune to it. There has been a general sense of unease and fear in the air and no matter which side of the political aisle you take your seat, you are bound to be feeling some sadness, confusion, or anger as a result of the accumulation of negativity experienced this past year.
I would like to offer some thoughts on the current state many of us find ourselves in and hope that it is helpful. First, it is important to resist being swept up by the tides of polarization even when confronting forces that seem to foster harm rather than benefit the collective good. We must not forget that the world of duality retains an inner structure of unity even when external circumstances seem to be a play of opposites. In order to truly understand how that unity embraces both the dark and the light, we have to confront it constructively. We cannot deny that duality exists and we must develop strategies that help us navigate the very real frontiers between love and hate, exclusion and inclusion, ignorance and awareness.
Many people have expressed concern that the forces of hatred, exclusion, and ignorance have gained momentum in our society. If this is the way you feel, it is important to discern what the correct relationship to these forces should be. We have all seen the results of ineffective responses to perceived negativity in the wars that are being waged all around us. Raging against it does not work. The attempt to destroy it does not work. Collapse in the face of it does not work. Making deals with it does not work.
The benefit of finding oneself in the presence of undeniable negativity is that it helps us catalyze our understanding of what goodness is for us. It is important to foster this catalytic process toward understanding good within ourselves in order to be able to hold ground in the face of what may seem like overwhelming odds. To do this, it is important to take a moment to understand where positive intention lies within us. It is so easy to lose our footing when it seems like negativity is gaining ground. But if we are truly dedicated to goodness, we can always find our positive intention within us. Positive intention for the purposes of this discussion is the impulse toward wanting the best for ourselves, others and the planet – and being aware of that which is best for all of us – not just for a few.
So, take a few minutes to articulate your positive intention. Don’t focus on how it might or might not be received by those around you. Don’t focus on how completely you may or may not have followed through on manifesting your positive intentions in the world up until now. Just focus on your vision for flourishing, happiness, and creative engagement for all beings. Take your time with this. And then focus on the strengths within you that can help you further that intention to manifest good in the world. Don’t think about the obstacles to that manifestation either within or outside of you. Focus only on your strengths and understanding how they work. Take your time with this as well.
Now, allow yourself to feel the feelings you are struggling with such as despair, hopelessness, and rage. Then focus on your positive intention. Focus on your strength. Bring all of your awareness of your positive intention to these feelings. Imagine the sun illuminating your positive intention and your strength and hold steady there until the wave of despair or rage recedes. And whenever it arises again, bring your focus back to positive intention and strength.
This is not just a facile exercise in positive thinking. This is a formidable foe to counteract negativity that may arise around you or within you. This practice can become a beachhead to hold you steady in any situation where you might feel that all is lost. You cannot legislate goodness in others but you can cultivate it within yourself. And to help you hold steady in this practice you can remember all of the people who are also working to hold their positive intentions steady in the face of adversity.
There will always be more work to do to manifest our positive intention and to exercise our strength in the world. Trust that the path toward this manifestation will open for you. Trust that you will be provided the tools you need to offer these gifts to the world in your own special way as you strengthen your resolve to maintain your connection to them – no matter what is happening around you. By affirming the positive, rather than dueling with the negative, it is possible to get through the rapids of change and help create a world where everyone has equal access to abundance, goodness, and prosperity.