The mind can objectively study history of the past and present it to the mind of the now. This helps think and plan for a new future with confidence. This happens when the mind carries out its natural function: thinking, writes Getachew Tamiru.
At an emotional level, however, living in the now means, freeing our mind from the internal resistance that is rooted in the past and is keeping us slaves of yesterday’s hatred.
If you are a social media user, you know what many people in Ethiopia are posting, sharing and talking about these days: changes in Ethiopian politics and “Abiymania.” Take a few minutes and try to look into the comments and posts on social media. The varieties of ideas raised are fascinating. They are also frustrating and sometimes annoying. Some people express sense of excitement and freedom at some of the new developments. Others express fear, frustration and hopelessness.
Social Media are very good when they connect people, ideas and causes. They can also become an instrument of hatred and other social evils. In this context, do we understand that our comments and posts on social media are direct reflections of our emotions and state of mind?
Eckert Tolle, in his book “The Power of Now” says peoples emotional problems are rooted in their identification with their minds. The mind creates fear, anxiety, and frustration when it emotionally exists in the past or in the unknown future. The only way to remain at peace with oneself is to live in the present moment – in the NOW. It is in this state of Now that we can experience the true power of love, forgiveness, peace and all the good virtues.
What does this got to do with our politics? Though Tolle’s spiritual reflections focus on inner movements of individual persons, it gives us insights into how individual behaviors are reflected on politics. After all, politics is run by individuals, so emotions cannot be ruled out.
The jubilations and elation we have seen over the last three months in Ethiopia were caused by a state of “Being” that has made the present moment – NOW – its focus. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) message of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness are accepted only when we accept the NOW – the present moment that is free from the shackles of the past and worries of the future.
But it does not mean that the past should be forgotten. Nor does it mean that we should remain ignorant of the future. The mind can objectively study history of the past and present it to the mind of the now. This helps think and plan for a new future with confidence. This happens when the mind carries out its natural function: thinking.
At an emotional level, however, living in the now means, freeing our mind from the internal resistance that is rooted in the past and is keeping us slaves of yesterday’s hatred. Living in the now means, not worrying about the future in which the negative past would probably repeat itself – the future we are not sure about. We can achieve this simply by remaining conscious of our emotions and state of mind. Some people call this process “discernment” of emotion and mind.
One year ago, who thought that the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) would be a staunch advocate of Ethiopian nationalism? Were some of us not a slave of the worry that “Qeerroos” would be a threat to national unity? Who thought that Ginbot 7 would see a positive grain in Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) reform? Didn’t some of us think that it was a force bent on bringing back the old system under which ethnic identities are bound to be crashed? These have happened because our mind was living in the past or in the future – not in the Now.
What makes Abiy different from many of our current leaders is his ability to accept the Now. The now that believes in dialogue. The now in which the past is remembered with gratitude and the future is awaited with hope. The now in which he envisages sitting side by side with Berhanu Nega (PhD) and Dawud Ibsa. The now in which they can openly discuss their aspirations, worries, hopes and fears without fear of tomorrow – without fear of losing power. What matters is to live in the now – to do what is right now and leave tomorrow in the hands of the Owner of Tomorrow. What matters is the politics of Now!
Are we then living in the state of Now in the world of social media? Do our reflections, sharing and comments bring us peace and joy? Do we promote brotherhood, love and respect? Or do we propagate our fears and disillusionment? Let us take this time to reflect on these questions. What if we start to experience the power of Now also in our politicized and polarized social media setting?
Ed.’s Note: Getachew Tamiru is a journalist by training. The views expressed in this articel do not necessarily relfect the views of The Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]
Contributed by Getachew Tamiru