Given that this is probably the most fucked presidential election this country has experienced in a looooong time, it’s understandable if you’re feeling stressed out about the state of things right now. There is so much that could go wrong! So how are we going to make it through the next six months without collectively as a nation going insane?
For some guidance, we turned to Jason Headley, who created the video “Fuck That: An Honest Meditation” last year, which has since been turned into both an app and a book. The video encourages a very specific type of mindfulness in which you send distracting thoughts out of your mind with the acknowledgement that “all that shit is fucking bullshit.” It’s the exact kind of direct spiritual guidance that America needs as we prepare to choose our next leader.
We asked Headley for some techniques and advice for dealing with specific anxiety-inducing situations we are facing.
People have already been experiencing grueling waits in order to vote. Where would you recommend people picture themselves in order to remain calm while standing in line?
A voting line is a particularly frustrating place to find oneself because the only thing keeping you from voting is time and space. Other people are voting the entire time you’re in line, so use that moment to ponder the benefits of time and space. Without time you would simultaneously have already voted and never get to vote. Plus there would be dinosaurs and you’d be wearing parachute pants. And without space, the people in front of you and behind you in line would be in your exact same place in line. That isn’t a line at all, it’s a pile. And I think we can all agree that waiting in a voting line is way more comfortable than waiting in a voting pile.
Everyone has family members with crazy political views. What can your recommend for when you accidentally get involved in one of those political discussions at a family reunion this summer?
Finding yourself in a discussion with your family about politics, religion, race, lunch plans, driving directions, who has or hasn’t had too much to drink, and whether you went to school with that one girl you definitely didn’t go to school with can cause you to question your very existence. So try “silence transference.” You want them to stop talking. You can’t get that to happen. But you can stop talking. Be the quiet you want to hear in the world. Meet their every half-formed but full-volume opinion with sweet, soothing silence. Maybe they’ll shut up, maybe they won’t, but you won’t be pulled into their conversational tar pit.
As long as Donald Trump is running for president, people are going to get arrested for protesting his campaign events. How can incarcerated protesters practice mindfulness while behind bars?
Incarceration is a real mindfulness opportunity. Most of the barriers to living in the moment come from uncertainty about what’s going to happen next and an attachment to material possessions. In jail your time and itinerary are decided for you, so there’s no need for any uncertainty. And material possessions? Those are waiting for you in a small envelope at the front desk. So look at you, you just protested your way to a perfect mindfulness environment. Get yourself thrown in solitary to double down on the benefits.
If this election is close enough that we go full-on recount mode, people are going to lose their shit. Before it comes to that, would you mind talking us down, as a nation, and help us gain some grounded perspective on this whole thing?
If I knew how to talk us down, as a nation, I would be in charge of something important. But I am not. There’s no one-size-fits-all for this group of individuals we call America. Each of us has our own shit and there is no lost and found for it. So we all need to try a little harder to not to lose it in the first place.