Election Day Reflections

This election has renewed my investment in using my life as a site of resistance — making the way I exist in the world a radical response to systemic oppression. As a queer/black/woman living in the United States — where every day my body is at risk of being targeted by homophobia, police terrorism, and violent heteropatriarchy — I am compelled to ask, "What does it mean to be free?" "What is freedom, and how will I know once I've got there?" Asking these questions feels like on-the-ground work. A grassroots effort.  I have chosen to dedicate myself to the pursuit of liberation. It's literally fundamental — I am attempting to return to a state of being that is unmarred by the mental, psychological, and physical violence committed against me.

This election has encouraged me to ask questions like, "How do we begin to liberate ourselves from false truths?"  "How can we design our lives according to the true laws that govern us?" Spiritual law. Cosmic law. Laws of the Universe. We hold on too tightly to political and social laws. Laws created by the powerful to maintain their power. Laws that don't serve us. Laws that convince us that we must do this, wear this, say this, believe this, be this. We forget who we are and what we've come from. We are divine beings having a human experience. No one can disconnect us from our power unless we give them permission to do so. No matter what happens in this election, I know who governs my life: Me.  Buddhism teaches that everything in the universe is dictated by the Mystic Law of cause and effect.  We create the world around us by making causes. Everything you see and experience are effects of causes made by other human beings. Though you may not immediately experience the effects of the causes you make, they are happening as soon as you claim them as yours.  

In the midst of all that which threatens to steal my joy, I am making a cause to live joyfully. I have come to understand that joyful life is a liberated life. When I make causes for my happiness and the happiness of others, I am fighting for my freedom. My ancestors fought for my freedom, and I am doing the same for myself. I am doing the same for my descendants. I am making causes in my own life as a future ancestor. I commit to doing the work of self-cultivation — to be rigorous in my pursuit of consciousness, presence, enlightenment, absolute happiness, freedom — as my mission to contribute to a peaceful, joyful, liberated world.

Jamila Reddy