About three weeks ago I was interviewed by Josh Fox for his show on The Young Turks network. At one point he asked me what the difference was between a hunger strike and a fast, after I had used them pretty much interchangeably. I said that a hunger strike was more political, issue-oriented; a fast had more of a spiritual dimension to it, even if it was also political.
I’ve increasingly called this “Fast to Defeat Trump” a hunger strike as it has gone on, now in its next to last day. I’ve called it that in large part because it has not been a very “spiritual” experience for me, as distinct from most of the other long fasts I’ve done. I remember, for example, while fasting in Brooklyn, NY back in the 70’s feeling a real sense of connection to other people and to other living things in what can only be described as a “spiritual” way. I really could identify with Gandhi’s statement that “fasting is the sincerest form of prayer.”
Yesterday, while making get-out-the-vote phone calls to Georgia and Florida, I spoke to someone in Georgia who choked me up and made me think about this issue. He was an elderly African American man, a military veteran. When I asked him if he had voted for Biden he said yes, and when I asked him if he was talking up voting with other people he said, yes, that he lived in a retirement community and he and others had gone on buses to do early voting, and they were always talking about the election. He went on to say, “I’ve voted and talked to people and as far as myself, all I can do is pray and put it in God’s hands.”
I sputtered my thanks and appreciation through my choked-up voice and hung up, and then shed some tears. I think in part it was an emotional release from all the anxiety and tension that it is impossible not to feel right now. But maybe it was more. If I believed in such things, I’d wonder if this man was an angel telling me to “relax, God is in charge.”
I believe in a higher power in the universe, what I call The Great, Unknown, Creative Force That Rules the Universe, or the Great Spirit in short. I very much identify with the Native American approach to spirituality. On my wall I have a sentence I once read referencing that approach: “Every step was a prayer of thanksgiving.”
It is difficult to comprehend a loving “God” foisting devil Trump upon the world for another four years as President. Of course, “God” doesn’t work like that. The Great Spirit works through human beings and all of the various mysterious and unknown processes that keep the universe evolving and the world spinning on its axis, creating and sustaining life, advancing humanity, hopefully, toward a world truly based upon love in all of its best manifestations.
The Great Mystery of life unfolds through the thoughts and actions of each of us as individuals, no other way. And it will do so no matter what the results of this critical, oh so critical, election. I pray that we, the people, the multi-racial rainbow people, will see the victory the world needs so, so much.
Personally, I’m fine. I’m being more disciplined with my consuming of fruit and veggie liquids. I’m looking forward to eating steamed potatoes and carrots tomorrow evening after the polls close and to working my way back to normal, post-Trump-presidency life.