Meditation or Prayer Before Going to Vote
by Michael Lerner
Thank You, the Power of Healing and Transformation in the Universe, that Your energy has moved through human beings in the past and inspired them to create democratic institutions that would give me and others this wonderful opportunity to participate in shaping our world. I know that the outcome of this election will have consequences for all six billion people on the planet, and that if democratic norms were to be fully established that they too would be able to participate in shaping the decisions about how the world’s resources should best be used.
So I hereby take it upon myself to vote in a way that is sensitive to the needs of all the people of the planet, not just to those who are blessed to live in the richest and most powerful society. I recognize and affirm the unity of all being, and the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all people with each other and with the well-being of the planet itself.
As I approach this holy act, I recommit myself to the message revealed to the prophets and sages of old: that our highest task on earth is to bring more love and kindness, generosity and sanctity into the world, and that to do so we must vigorously pursue a world of justice and peace and avoid violence and hurting others directly or indirectly. May my votes actually contribute to these results.
Please give strength to those for whom I vote. If they are elected, let them actually contribute to achieving a world of greater peace, justice and love. If they are not elected, let my vote be one of the factors that contributes to empowering them to play a positive role in continuing their efforts for peace, justice and love, so that they represent my intentions and so that they do not personally fall back into despair or into personal opportunism and forget that they have the task of vigorously articulating the aspirations of those who were seeking through voting for them to bring more caring and more generosity into the world.
Give me the wisdom to understand those who do not vote in the way that I do. I already know that most people on this planet share with me the desire for a world of peace, justice, loving-kindness and caring. So it is hard for me to understand why they don’t support the candidates who I see representing those values.
Please give me the wisdom to understand the complex psychological, social and political factors that could take fundamentally decent human beings and lead them into paths that may, I believe, lead to a world exactly the opposite of what they really want. And let that understanding empower me to be more compassionate in the way that I think and talk about those with whom I disagree, and more intelligent in finding ways to reach them, speak to their goodness, and bring them through my love and compassion for them to be able to see a better path to achieve the goals that they share with me.
From this point forward, I commit myself to seeing the good in all others, and to finding the decency and generosity in those who disagree with me, and to keep that in front of my consciousness even as I continue to disagree with the paths that they have chosen – and let that understanding give me even greater energy to act for the causes of social justice and peace.
Meanwhile, let me also have compassion for the leaders of movements and candidates for office whom I do support – let me not judge them for their personal failings, for the ways that they are not in their PRIVATE LIVES the fullest possible embodiments of the ideals that they articulate. Yet let me simultaneously have the energy and commitment to hold them accountable in their PUBLIC ACTS to working even harder for social justice and peace and ecological sanity.
I know that my vote is only one little part of the whole, and nevertheless I will not belittle what I am doing today in going to vote. But neither will I use this vote as a way of excusing myself from doing more. I commit myself to putting more of my time and more of my energy and more of my money into activities explicitly aimed at tikkun olam, the healing and transformation of our planet.
Please let me be witness to a dramatic surge of the world’s energies toward love, justice, peace, nonviolence, spiritual awakening, and ecological sanity – quickly and in my lifetime, and let it be so. Amen. Shalom. Salaam.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us!
Rabbi Michael Lerner