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I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Political/Spiritual Epiphany in the Dentist’s Office

Photo credits: bevshoenberger.com

Due to a busy schedule I’ve not posted much lately. I was guest speaker on Sunday at a local Twin Cities Unitarian Universalist church, and I was occupied Monday organizing my mindfulness meditation group. I just got back this afternoon from my six-month check up at the dentist’s office, and I’m going out later this evening to help with fundraising at the seminary where I earned my master’s in divinity degree.

No doubt you’ve already glimpsed the thread of spirituality running through the above list of activities. No? I’ll bet you don’t get the spiritual connection with the dentist’s office.

Let me explain. I’ve been seeing the same dentist at least twice a year for about the past eight years. Dr. Fuller and I never fail to get into an intense political discussion while he’s completing my check up. He’s fair, though. He removes the gadgets and allows me to speak when it’s my turn.

A lot had happened since my visit last July, but we zeroed in on the economy and quickly moved to discussing Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine.” Dr. Fuller was putting his tools away, when I mentioned we’d managed to thoroughly depress ourselves this time around. That’s when I told him I was starting a mindfulness meditation group in my neighborhood. Startled, he replied, “That’s the only way out of this. A lot of people have told me they’re doing the same thing.”

Could the global financial meltdown be moving us toward a deeper appreciation of the spiritual? Just a thought.


  1. Could be good I guess.... in a Pan's Labyrinthian kinda way....

    You know what I mean. Where the escape, no matter how horrific, is better than the reality.

    I hope you don't run into any Ogres over there on the other side. (Cuz, I mean... the ones on this side are bad enough.)

    If you do see an Ogre ... PLEASE DO NOT eat his fruit. That is very BAD I understand!

  2. Yes, I think it can move people towards spirituality,although the people I know are moving into fear. A lot of people think the worst of others. They think if things get really bad, people will basically lose it and start stealing from each other in order to eat. I don't think that is necessarily what will happen. If we look at people's behavior in disasters, the majority end up helping each other, not hurting each other. It brings out the best in people,not the worst. I think our leaders need to tone down the negativity and start promoting unity and working together and supporting each other. Amen.

  3. Hi SYD,

    I don't think of mindfulness meditation as an escape. It's actually just the opposite, a means to awakening and heightened awareness, and also a source of strength and calm in difficult times.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Puma for Life. I'm hoping that participants in our small meditation group will find nurturance, support, and increased wisdom as we learn and practice mindfulness meditation together. Hopefully, we'll take renewed strength and energy back to our own families and circles of friends and acquaintances. Maybe it will be contagious?!!

  5. I was joking, of course. Hope I did not offend.

    I practice mindfulness myself... as in yoga.

    But... your question about whether, when things get awful, people turn to the spiritual... reminded me of the labyrinth....

    It can heal, that's true. But, it can also bring horrors to the fore.


  6. Hi SYD,

    I'd gotten the impression previously that you were familiar with mindfulness meditation. In a way, I'm still a novice. I followed the mystical/contemplative path with a Jungian flavor for many years before I discovered mindfulness and began practicing it daily.

    I am so looking forward to having a Sangha - we'll be starting up in March.

  7. I have attended many mindfulness retreats and meditations. I like the Buddhist retreats because they know how to maintain silence and the food is always really good. All organic and fresh. I also have attended Centering Prayer retreats and meditations; same deal as mindfulness but the people tend to want to talk and the food is not as good. I consider myself an interfaith Christian on the path of Bahkti yoga. I was involved with the Unity Church for many years; hoped to be a minister, but didn't work out. Right now I seem to be attempting to bring together the political and spiritual without that much success. It seems either one or the other...I need to take my own advice and stay positive. I like your blog.

  8. Hi Puma for Life, I know what you mean about the difficulty in bringing the spiritual and the political together. I've almost decided it can't be done intentionally. But if we continue to practice mindfulness, we'll be transformed from within and eventually it will affect our political activities and the rest of our daily lives.

    Thank you for sharing your spiritual journey. It's so great to connect with people like you out here in the blogosphere!!