It’s important that your 2020 vote is counted. Doing this meditation before you vote makes it even more impactful.
You’ve had no shortage of obstacles to voting this year. Moreover, you’ve had to contend with strong emotions surrounding this election cycle. Fatigue from a strenuous year. Anger over threats to upend institutions. Apathy over candidates. Fear over any number of the ongoing struggles in public life.
But you’ve made it to the polling place. Perhaps you sense something profound is at stake. Perhaps you believe the future is hinging on being motivated enough to cast this vote, despite how daunting the voting line looks. The future is calling on you not just to vote, but if you are able, to vote mindfully.
Beyond being an unnecessary obstacle, this long line could also be a sparkling opportunity, a precious window of space and time being given to you. A container to get inside your unique mind and glimpse some processes that are happening in there.
Your mind is doing something extraordinary with the experience that is unfolding in and around you right now. The circumstances are highly charged. What you choose to do with this time while you’re waiting to vote can deeply impact the future of this country just as much as voting itself. You aren’t standing here to numb the passage of time merely scrolling through social media. You are here to take action.
Take this opportunity to get clear on what your highest and greatest vision for the future of this country and this world looks like. Use this time wisely to meditate on it. Make every minute that you wait further charge up in your mind the imprint that your vote will make on the future of America. Now you’ve started turning the tables on reality as it’s unfolding around you. You are turning a systemic disadvantage into an advantage more powerful than anyone realized it could be.
You’ve had more than enough struggle and hard feelings lately. It’s going around, regardless of what you believe in or support. Everyone seems to be pointing the sharp edges of their hard feelings outwardly at each other. These feelings are being perpetuated by a vortex of internal and external factors, and if you examine them with a grounded and steady mind, it’s possible to transform the struggles you’ve been dealt into your very own reality-shaping superpower.
Vindication and retribution are entirely justified feelings right now. Anger might have been the best motivator to get you to show up to the polling place, but examine closely the boundaries of its productivity. Anger will have a karmic impact on the future too—one that you probably don’t intend. If you’re casting your vote just out of anger, having the most votes on Tuesday night won’t be enough to change the future.
The algorithm in modern media is designed to interact with the egoic part of your mind, the part that reinforces and keeps your core beliefs intact. You’re probably overly informed of how bad things are, how wrong the ‘other’ side is, and how rightly angry you should be. This narrative feeds the default setting for the human mind, but there’s very good reason to question how helpful or informative any of the mainstream or cult narratives are.
When something threatens your core beliefs, the mind goes on the defense. One way the mind ensures your beliefs are ‘right’ is to make everyone who disagrees with you ‘wrong.’ The media is very good at stoking this defense mechanism. Rather than giving you compelling opportunities to challenge and examine your beliefs, algorithmic media gives you information that reinforces your existing beliefs, reminding you how good it feels to be right.
The gravest consequence in placating the unconscious ego defense system like this is that it downgrades your expectations of the future, and thus, it downgrades the future reality you are karmically creating with your powerful-beyond-words mind.
The idea of karma shows up under a lot of different names—the law of attraction, the Golden Rule, the scientific principle of causality, among many others. The underlying idea is that the things you do, say, and think will create your reality. If you help someone, reality will show up with someone helping you. What goes around comes around.
A thought or an intention is all it takes to set karma in motion. If you are voting out of vengeance and retribution, consider what you are really setting in motion. Regardless of the election results, a part of you will lose. The future we are karmically creating together will lose something valuable you could have given it.
If you care deeply enough to show up to vote, what you should care about just as deeply is what you are doing with your mind as you vote. You aren’t just casting a vote on a ballot. Your mind is also casting the karmic conditions that will shape the future for centuries to come.
The world will become whatever you are holding in your mind, so please, consider your vote with clarity and good intention. Be proactive about what thoughts are happening in your mind as you step into that voting booth. Your vote will absolutely influence who wins the election, but it is the intention you hold in your heart that will generate the reality that unfolds around you.
Even if you’ve already voted early, it’s not too late to reframe your intentions. You can set the intention now that the candidates you voted for will carry your best intentions for the well-being of the collective whole in their mind and in their heart as they govern.
Take this time now waiting in line to imagine the future you want your vote to create. What do you want the environment to look like? What do you want a healthy and vibrant economy to like, and who should it serve? What do you want healthcare, education, justice, civil rights, culture, and so on to look like?
Place your mind in that future America, vote for that vision of a better, more perfect world. There is a simple and easy guided meditation below that will help take you there.
Meditation is an ancient tool you can use to practice where you place your mind. It can help you see more accurately how things really are. As you get more familiar with what’s going on inside your mind, it becomes clearer that what you are doing today is so much more than just voting.
The future is counting on you because your thoughts and intentions, in addition to your vote, shape the reality that is unfolding around you. You are a magnificent reality-shaping creature experiencing a moment in time as an American citizen standing in line waiting to vote.
Except now you’re doing it with greater awareness, and that awareness is the game-changer.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein
The guided meditation below is a gift to you. It only takes 15 minutes, and you do not need to have any experience with meditation to try it. The only thing you need is a little bit of time and a sincere desire to practice. You can keep your eyes open and just listen along as you stand in line. Thank you so much for showing up to vote today.
Michael McSwain is a writer, meditation teacher, and student of Tibetan buddhist philosophy in New York City. You can join his weekly donation-based livestream meditation classes through mindoasis.org and threejewels.org.