I was recently sent an interesting book titled, "Obama Karma: Lessons on Living Inspired by the 44th President" by Russell Razzaque. I don't normally talk politics on here (I have a separate blog for that) but this book intrigues me.
I voted for President Obama in 2008, but what I admire about him most isn't his politics necessarily, though many I do support. I admire him greatly for being calm under pressure, ability to listen and for his poise. Those are qualities that I can connect to from my Buddhist practice. Irregardless of his political beliefs, he is a wonderful example on how to calming deal with challenges in life, which is something I lack at times.
Mr. Obama is Christian, but he has qualities of a Buddhist who has experience with mindfulness. He seems to approach issues with an open-mind, willing to listen to other viewpoints before sharing his personal opinions. This speaks of a natural ability to practice "right speech" which hinges upon being able to listen, and truly listen, which means not just waiting for your turn to speak again. It means being mindful enough to truly absorb the intention behind each word, rather than just the words themselves. If we are listening but get caught up in our own thoughts at the same time then we miss vital pieces of information that could be gleaned from body language and intentions behind words. Being able to perceive these other signals can only come when we are truly present and aware of our partner in discussion.
This are some of but a few thoughts and lessons I learned from reading the book, "Obama Karma." The book also includes practical exercises on how we can ingrain similar traits into our personal lives. It's a book that straddles the political and spiritual without drowning in the overly political. It's a nice, short, read but deep with insights. I'd really recommend it. I'd give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. A good gift idea for your political friends, Obama supporters or just people looking for lessons on how to be more mindful in political discussions.
~I bow to the Buddha within all~