I know that what happens in the UK doesn’t qualify as breaking news in America, especially with all that has happened there since we left on June 9th. But having been here in England now for two weeks, I feel I should share with you two things that will have happened here by the time you read this newsletter that will have impacted me greatly.
One of them has already changed the hearts of the British people and, dare I say it, opened the heart chakras of the English in much the same way as Diana’s death did a generation ago. The other one may well have changed the course of history for the United Kingdom forever.
When you open this late on Thursday night or Friday morning, you will know, just like the rest of us, whether the UK is still part of Europe or has cast itself out on a vast sea of unknown direction and uncertain destiny, having decided in a hotly contested referendum to leave the European Community.
One politician who has campaigned for leaving the EU has called it Britain’s Independence Day. (Pity they didn’t schedule the day for the big decision on July 4th. Even so, I’m sure you can relate to it.)
Only a week ago, Jo Cox, a young, vibrant and passionate Member of Parliament was brutally stabbed and shot in broad daylight outside her constituency office after holding a meeting for her constituents.
The country was stunned. Unlike America, we are just not used to this kind of thing. To make it worse, it was a politically motivated murder. Everything ground to a halt. The campaign for and against exiting the EU, which was nearing its climax, was suspended for two whole days and the whole country and the government focused on the loss of Jo Cox and all that she represented. The outpouring of grief was palpable all over the country.
However, what struck me about these two events, one a year long in the making, and the other having just occurred, is how much heart energy was involved in each case but in very different ways. By all accounts, Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two children, epitomized love and compassion. She had a huge heart and shared her love widely and unreservedly wherever she went. She really cared about people and her constituents knew it. Her fellow MPs knew it, too, even those who were opposed to her brand of politics. For the entire week, love was what everyone was talking about. Love is and will be for a long time to come, Jo’s legacy.
The Brexit debate, on the other hand, has been bitterly fought with a lot of what is most unlike love being exhibited on both sides in a very un-British way. Even today, it is too close to call as to which way it might go. Each side of the argument to stay or leave has been hashed over, day after day, all over the country and still we are undecided, myself included. I still don’t know which way to vote, and I probably won’t know until I enter the voting booth today.
But in discussing it with others, I have noticed that in spite of all the argument, all the statistics, the dire warnings, the obvious risks involved, etc., it has come down to this. My heart says leave, but my mind says stay.
I hear loads of people putting it this way, and I think it accounts for why it is so close. On the one hand, the peoples’ hearts yearn, not for safety and the status quo, but for the freedom of the road and the excitement of the unknown. Conversely, their rational minds seek safety, security and the status quo no matter the cost.
For many, me included, it has become a battle between heart and mind. The energy emanating from the heart is hope, love of life and trust while that coming from the mind is fear, risk aversion and desire for security at any cost.
I have been listening very carefully to the evidence given by most experts that if we leave it will have a bad effect on the economy, the strength of the pound, jobs, and all that stuff. I listen to it, and it makes sense to me. I fall in with it. But then something inside of me still says no. It’s my heart.
A great deal of recent research shows that of the two, our heart is more intelligent than our brain. The two work together, but it is now recognized that, rather than it flowing from the brain down to heart, intelligent processing of available information coming from more than just our five senses, moves in the other direction. From the heart to the brain.
This being the case then, I think I am on my way, as I write this blog late on Wednesday night, just hours away from a historic moment, to rationalizing why I should vote to leave rather than stay. Apparently, my heart wants that, so I will make my choice solely on that basis. My heart knows best. It is telling me that the right choice is to leave and to hell with my fear-driven monkey mind.
That said, though, and when all is said and done, what we know to be true in life is that destiny is destiny and whatever route we take we get there in the end. From a Radical forgiveness point of view, then, it makes no difference which way it goes. As Yogi Berra famously said, “When you reach a fork in the road, take it.” Trust the process.
And quote another one of my heroes, Buckminster Fuller, who said that “The only failure is the failure to participate.” It’s the process that matters not the end result. So I will go out in the morning and participate in one of the most dramatic turning points in the history of my native country, Great Britain, and cast my vote. And I might yet change my mind!