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Lions Roar : January 2017
As we discussed in the last issue of Lion’s Roar, many people are deeply worried about the state of the world and politics these days. How do you understand the situation from a spiritual point of view? The truth is that what is behind all of the worst things that are happening is human fear and pain, human suffering. We know how to get outraged about it, we know how to come up with a plan to solve it. But we do not know how to stand, collectively, in public, with pain and suffering. Our spiritual traditions are about honouring that pain and suffering. They give us the courage and tools to walk through suffering. Because if we don’t dwell with fear and suffering, if we don’t honor it, it will continue to haunt and define us. Public life is a magnification of life. It’s human life writ large. What we see now is so much pain, so much suffering, so much fear. So we rush to be upset about it, we rush to solve it, we rush to deny it. What we have to figure out is how to have some pub- lic forum for the discipline of dwelling with pain and walking through it so we can bring some health to our public life. Our public life needs that so desperately. It needs wisdom and what the spiritual traditions have to teach as much as it needs a better pol- itical campaign. Pema Chödrön talks about the fact that when we understand groundlessness, there is a possibility of growth and of health. Boy, does that describe where we are collectively now. With that in mind, I am actually encouraged by the way Americans are openly bewildered right now. Things are so bewildering that they’re saying, “We don’t know what to do about this.” That’s a potential moment of advance. That’s new, because we’re usually so on top of things. There’s an opening here. But we need spiritual life— its insight and its disci- plines—to navigate this. Where do you see the spiritual movement going from here? Culturally, we are opening up to this part of life with a new integ- rity. That is going to help us be more complete human beings, and therefore it’s an important aspect of manifesting the wholeness of our best human potential—not just in private, but in public. The culture, the collective, is lagging behind where masses of individual people already are. But I think this next up-and-coming generation of deep, deep searchers and people committed to joining their inner integrity and outer presence in the world will do it differently, if we can just fasten our seat belts and not self-destruct. This spiritual life that’s been emer- ging will be good for all of us. ♦ PHOTOBYBRYANMELTZ/EMORYPHOTO Krista Tippett discusses pursuing happiness with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and translator Thupten Jinpa at Emory University in 2010. LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2017 49