Donald trump Jr recently released an email thread in which he describes meeting a potential Russian agent to get high level dirt on Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign. But he insists it turned out to be a waste of 20 minutes of his valuable time.
Oh, OK. No harm no foul, at least according to certain media outlets.
Is this becoming the new normal, where to be sane is to be insane and to be insane is to be sane?
I am reminded of a teaching in Theravada Buddhism, in which the Buddha explains that to be a “run of the mill” human (that is, an unenlightened person) is to crave what certainly brings suffering, whereas the enlightened are drawn to what brings peace and harmony to the world.
According to the Buddha, most of us are living in this kind of upside down world.
Lots of folks complain to me about the current insanity, on the verge of depressed desperation. So here we are and what can we do?
You want to know what I do?
I trust the Buddha’s wisdom, especially where he instructs his students to “turn their minds toward the Dharma” – and handily provides four great contemplation to help turn toward a life of profound sanity.
One of these four contemplations is called “contemplating the suffering of samsara.” A more contemporary rendering of this can be found in Alan Wallace’s writing, where he calls this “appreciating the dysfunctional assumptions of one’s culture.”
Samsara is the everyday world of our experience – and to put this in a nutshell – it is full of problems, and always has been.
A toddlers’ lifeless body dressed in shorts, tee shirt and tiny sneakers, washed up on a beach in Greece, is not some incredible anomaly; toddlers die every day, even those who are not refugees.
Of course it breaks your heart; but hearts are meant to be broken some times.
Any sane person reflecting on current events is drawn into this great contemplation, of the suffering of samsara, whether you “realize” this or not.
It’s a kick in the ass for those who might fall for the passive yet insidious conditioning going on around us: the unfolding of a stupendous pathology latent somewhere in the reptilian brain.
If the Republicans can manage it, their new health care bill will kill tens of thousands of innocent people.
But let’s not wallow in energy-sucking cynicism of us vs them. The Buddha was way ahead of the curve on this one. He dealt with the Trumps and Pinochets of his day, so this is not something new on the scene.
So here we are and what can we do? Trust the Buddha on this: we are in this together, embrace this.
Trump is not the problem. Life has always been this way. But there is a positive side: the impetus to cultivate the paramis of generosity, patience, skillful use of our energies, love, caring and inquiry have never been stronger, embrace this.
This great contemplation of samsara is a kind of deep acknowledgement at times for me. I can’t say much more about it, but it feels truly and pre-verbally profound.
Recognizing the so-called faults of samsara can also deeply free us to do what we can: build healthy communities from the grassroots, ore breath and one foot step at a time.
Nurture the parami of caring, beginning with yourself. Can you care for yourself wisely without indulgence or punishment?
Cultivate focus and attention, as well as love and acceptance in your marrow.
In other words, practice meditation.
In these trying times of uncertainty and anguish, can you sit down for a while and meditate?
The actions which follow will surely be wiser and more effective.
Katina and I are here to support your meditation practice in any way we can, just contact us through the Contact Page on this site. Or if you live in Honolulu, or ever visit, feel free to drop by our free, weekly meditation evenings.