I am going to see Trump as a gift in this instance and put some new methods into practice. I apologize for the facetious title. But I needed to draw you in.
I am not going to tell you that Trump is a gift because I believe he is the next chosen Messiah. Nor will I tell you that Trump is a gift because he’s revealing what a circus spectacle the government is (although, he is doing that, from my view of things). I believe that Trump is a gift because of a few reasons, and none of them have to do with supporting him or praying for him. I mean, if you feel inclined, you do you. Prayer never hurt anybody—but sometimes it does fall on deaf ears, certainly not God’s… but I digress.
If you have been following my work, you’d recall that I have been writing about my journey for a Radical Transformation, thanks to the mystical, masterful wisdom and insight of Dr. Alexander J. Shaia. One of the most challenging applications of this journey has been to receive everything as a gift. It has been one of the most difficult practices for me. I am so inquisitive as it is, that I find myself caught in reflection, tracing back all the woes of my past and receiving them as gifts.
As I have widened the circumference of contemplation, to apply such inquiries to present social and political matters; I must ask how all that I am witnessing and participating in and with, is a gift? Shouldn’t I be giving gifts of love? How does receiving help anybody else?
Receiving is not the nature we are instructed on. Dr. Shaia admits this part “is not easy.” “We cannot be on the journey unless we are able to receive. We must be able to participate in both sides of a relationship—giving and receiving.” (238)
For me, I had been taught all my life to be a cheerful giver. That it is better to give than to receive. But Dr. Shaia convincingly articulates why receiving is so important to this journey. Receiving is part of the joy every bit as much as giving is. In this sense, receiving does not feed the ego.
So, here I am, receiving all that I can, as a gift. Which includes: Donald Trump. How is he a gift to me?
To answer this, I turned this question into a talking point on my podcast Recorded Conversations.
I asked my guest (podcast host of Can I Say This at Church) Seth Price if he could see Trump as a gift.
Seth and I have been participating in a book study for Heart and Mind: The Four-Gospel Journey for Radical Transformation, since April of this year. (Four of us are in this group, and, serendipitously, the symbolic nature of the book hinges on the number 4.) All of this is to say that Seth is familiar with the concept of receiving gifts.
Seth’s response is worth listening to. As for me, as I state in the intro, I wasn’t satisfied with my initial response, but since publishing, I have thought more intently about it. It’s a big, huge question.
The essential application of the receipt of such a large gift as Trump is that we must take what it is and turn it on its head. Michelle Obama anticipated such an era in 2016, when she said, “When they go low, we go high.” This is how we counter the rage, the reaction, and the unawakened: with attention, reflection, and intention.
Ultimately, Trump is a gift to me, because he triggers something from within. He creates a deficit in my reality. To me, it looks like a projection. And to counter that, we offer compassion. Trump is not in my proximity. But others are. And when he shows me a deficit, I can add a credit to someone else.What do I mean by that? If-when anybody says things that are foul or unkind, or lacking compassion and love; it shows me that there is an imbalance of compassion, encouragement, and understanding in the world that I can level out. I can do that. I can correct that. But I am not the only one. We all can.
Trump shines a light on the holes that need to be filled with love. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true and, it’s a simple fix. Speaking of cheesy, remember that movie Pay it Forward? That movie stuck with me and I always tried to apply that mantra to my own life. If you see someone (for example, Trump) saying cruel things to someone, find 3 random people and say loving things in return of the debt that Trump’s negative comment costs. The government isn’t a balance of powers, we are, collectively, as One. We can receive (as a gift) the negativity put out in the world, filter it through our hearts, and send it outward on the highest frequency possible. But it’s up to us to plug in the amplifier.
More than that, we can pay it forward, big league, by not imitating that which we are criticizing. All I mean by that is simple, if Trump bullies someone on Twitter, to transcend that, be sure to encourage someone new. If Trump insults a child, to transcend that, edify a child. Compliment your child. Pray for the child he did insult. When Trump resorts to ad hominem, be watchful that you refrain from such fallacies.
This is truly one of the most lovingly aggressive ways we can counterbalance the tipping of the scales of negative energy sent out into the universe. We combat it by turning it into something we would be willing to receive if it had been filtered through a conscious, attentive heart. For those of us beginning to open our eyes to awareness in the now, this means that we understand the “negativity” that comes from all people, including ourselves, comes from a place of unconsciousness—from a place of sleeping.
This is not to say that one should give Trump or anyone else a “pass.” But, as I have been learning from the insight of Dr. Shaia, sometimes it is best to hold things in our hearts. Reflect first on the things that make you want to make an impassioned statement—because sometimes our reactions are habitual, and habits end up being not only redundant, but passionate reactions can also be harmful without attention.
I don’t think it’s necessarily productive to state the obvious; we are all in agreement, bullying is atrocious, using Twitter like a teenager (no offense to teenagers, who are passionate and emotively reactive for a short time) while occupying the Oval Office is not a conscious act; grabbing women or anyone, by their genitals (without their expressed permission) is unacceptable, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Stating the obvious for the sake of holding an opinion is another habitual performance that does not increase love. We need to counter the habitual, reactive, unconscious ways we react and confront that which provokes us.
I return to the cheesy things that I can do to subvert all the icky that I am exposed to. That is all I can do. Perhaps I can do more, and I will figure that out as I continue down this path. For now, I will receive Trump as a gift. He will show me all the things that need to be countered. With each depiction of a debt offered by the sleeping Other, I will gratefully receive another image to filter through my heart and repurpose with love. It’s like happily receiving an ugly painting— the canvas is of extraordinary quality, but the picture needs a fresh coat of paint. What a gift it is knowing you have plenty of paint and brushes to repurpose this painting into something new and beautiful.