By NANCY NATILSON
Voting can be an act of compassion. Fred’s Dharma talk several weeks ago inspired me to reflect on ways I am engaging in compassionate action to ensure that I am always showing up with an open heart and aspiration to be of benefit.
We’ve been taught that compassion, “karuna” in Pali, is one of the four Buddhist Immeasurables that we practice to relieve the suffering of ourselves and others. Caring for one another and all life on our planet is the way we can express our compassion for living beings. I believe that we can manifest this caring by our participation in the upcoming election to find practical ways to bring healing and transformation to the suffering of our societal body.
We have to be careful these days that we don’t let our anger, apathy, frustration, and/or feelings of powerlessness stand in our way of exercising our right and responsibility to vote. In Florida, early voting opens on October 19, and absentee ballots can be requested up until October 24. Each state has an election website with up-to-date information. Florida’s is: https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters.
It’s easy to get carried away with the presidential race, but the elected positions up and down the ballot and the amendments all will have an impact on our lives and the lives of others. Please educate yourself about the other races and issues before you vote, especially since the wording of amendments can sometimes be misleading. The League of Women Voters publishes a useful non-partisan website guide for amendments by state. For those in Florida, the website is: https://www.lwvfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Printer-Friendly-2020-Amendments-LWVFL.pdf
I know many of you are doing what you can to ensure a fair election and are taking actions you deem appropriate to help create a better world. I am volunteering with some non-partisan groups to make sure that all people who want to vote and are eligible to vote are able to cast their ballots. If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity to be a non-partisan Moral Observer or Poll Defender (anywhere in the country), please visit the Compassionate Voter Campaign Organizing Guide at https://greenfaith.org/USCompassionateVoter or go to www.thefrontline.org for details about the Poll Defender training, which has already begun. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at email@example.com.
In closing, I offer you my vow to manifest as a compassionate presence in my actions of body, speech and mind and wish you the same liberation:
May we be free from anger, fear, and worry.
May we be of benefit to others on their healing and transformation journey.
May we fill our heart with compassion for ourself and others.
May we be open to receive others’ love and compassion.
May we vote out of compassion; and may we support others to do the same.
Nancy Natilson of Tampa joined FCM in 2005. She is a member of the Order of Interbeing and has served on FCM’s Board of Directors. She has taught many mindfulness courses and enjoys mentoring new FCM members.