Monday, June 18, 2007

Zen and the art of surviving politics

I found an article just now called "The Zen of confronting George W." and I'd like to give you an excerpt:

Some of the ancient philosophies teach that the only way to attain something is to give up all hope of ever attaining it. You must let go before you can embrace, but you must also hornswoggle your mind that you really don't care about embracing that "something" to begin with. Then you can, and will, even though you don't care to, but of course you do, which is why you're letting go in the first place.

It's all a bit of a mind trick, but it does seem to be the only path to sanity these days when it comes to contemplating America's future.

It doesn't have one.

Well, of course it has one -- whether good or ill -- but perhaps we must first forego all hope of it ever regaining any virtue before it can, or will. Put another way -- in the way of the most commonplace vernacular -- perhaps we must hit rock bottom before achieving any ascent.

There's something to this, of course. But I liked even better someone's posting in the "Comments" section, part of which goes like this:

Actually, Zen is a method in the larger path of Buddhism. The goal is not to give up caring, but give up attachment to results. The main focus, to coin a phrase, is to be fully aware of the present moment.

It's a bit dicey mixing Zen and politics, but any meditative practice will not only improve your outlook, but will make you more effective.

As far as the Bush criminal regime is concerned, there was a time before it, and there will be a time after it. All is impermanent in time and space, another emphasis in Buddhism.

One thing meditative practice can do for you is to help you from seeing the world in binary terms. The "Democrats" are one day standing tall, and the next day are spineless connivers. The New York Times is one day exposing the Bush crime family, and the next is a corporate shill.

I agree. "All or nothing thinking" is a classic cognitive error. Reality, actually, isn't like that.

1 comment:

  1. `there was a time before it, and there will be a time after it.'

    Yes, but how much more prolonged will it be, and what things will be prevented from happening, because of the poison it leaves around in others' minds who will prolong the ill-feeling?

    Make a note to watch The Trap: what happened to our dream of freedom some time.


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