Finally, we have reached the homestretch of this tumultuous election. Though we may have become shortsighted by the commonplace "news cycle" normalcy of these past few months, we should make no mistake: History will treat 2016 as a watershed moment of American society.
This gut-wrenching election is splitting the very seams of our body politic. A sweeping array of cultural pain points have suddenly been brought to a head. The battles lines of privilege, gender, race, and class could not be more searing in these final weeks of the election cycle.
As our collective edginess accelerates toward Super Tuesday, one thing is for sure--the entire nation will exhale a deep breath come Wednesday morning. The question is: Will it be a breath of grief, relief, or perhaps something more?
As today's most astute business leaders and political strategists alike have observed, we live in a Volatile Unpredictable Complex and Ambiguous world--VUCA, for short.
The term VUCA was first employed by the US military to describe the conditions following the Cold War. Since then, it has been adopted by those surveying the 21st century commercial and geopolitical landscapes.
The circumstances surrounding this presidential debacle of 2016 are certainly volatile, unpredictable, complex, and ambiguous. VUCA worlds necessitate a novel set of psychological tools in order to adeptly navigate the terrain.
How to find some perspective
By now, you've probably heard the word mindfulness, which often refers to a state of objective, non-judgemental awareness. More broadly, it refers to a range of consciously driven life practices.
Mindfulness is a big word in 2016. True, it can be (and has been) exploited as a miracle salve for all the ills of our burgeoning digital age. Yet, don't let the hype obscure the momentous significance of the growing mindfulness movement.
Mindfulness is needed in our society now more than ever. I do not intend to imply that 300 million people need roll out the meditation cushion and burn some sage (after all, Bernie Sanders left the ticket months ago).
Rather, we each need to grant ourselves a moment of intentional non-judgemental awareness. The polarization in our society is far too strong for us to just stand by and be swept by currents of distrust and malintent.
If you care about America, and your fellow Americans, you have an obligation to act. We can all benefit, "Trumpistadores" and "I'm With Her" groupies alike, from a bit of conscious self-reflection aimed at achieving a greater unity.
Take time to reflect
I propose that all sincere participants of our citizen democracy commit the time to reflect on this momentous election--more specifically, to cultivate a far wider, less-parochial vantage point on current events. Herein lies the power of mindfulness: to move beyond our established patterns and habits in hopes of realizing an aspect of ourselves far greater.
This is not a call for spiritual revolution. I'm talking about sustained, non-judgemental awareness. Simple and pragmatic.
This can be practiced while under the covers, sitting in a taxi, standing in an elevator, or waiting in a conference room. Its effects can be transformative, increasing empathy, stabilizing our emotional response, and helping us make better decisions, especially in regards to the dreaded "other."
If we treated ourselves to this short pause amidst the grind of our jam-packed lives, we might discover that we in fact inhabit a much less fractured nation. We might even discover the seeds of a burgeoning Mindful Nation (see the book by Ohio congressman Tim Ryan).
So, instead of exhaling a habit driven breath of grief or relief when the results pour in this Wednesday morning, let's invest in a breath that has the potential to transform our society and ourselves to something far greater.
Yaakov Lehman contributed to this article.