Whew. I've been pretty pissed the last few days. The debacle that has been unfolding down South has really gotten under my skin. Now that I've ranted a bit, I've got a clear enough head for some perspective. As is my nature, that means looking inward.
There was a time, as a young adult, that I was fairly idealistic. I'd have gladly joined Obi Wan on some damn fool crusade. Somewhere along the way, I got jaded. World weary. I gave up trying to save the world, and decided to instead focus on enjoying my very tiny piece of the pie.
Then I went and had me a child. My priorities have been in flux ever since. I want the world to be a better place for him. I brought him into this mess, I feel I should be able to help him make his way through it. Problem is, while I'm sure I'll be able to impart at least a modicum of wisdom on to him, I know full well that there ain't much I can do about it. Or to change it. Been there, tried that. I still have a T shirt or two.
I can try to explain the world to him. But I can't help him understand it. I don't understand it myself. Nor can I pretend to.
But pretend I must. I know, in order for him to feel secure, I have to make him believe we're all large and in charge. That grown-ups know what they're doing. That we have everyone's best interests in mind.
You and I can laugh, sure. But do you remember when we believed it too? Do you remember when we thought Mommy and Daddy could fix anything, knew everything, were all powerful? I do.
I can't explain to my child that there are no grown-ups. There are no adults. We're all just children, running around trying to make sense of the world. Trying to survive. The only difference between a child and an adult is that adults have done things enough times so that they know what to do. They've gained enough experience that they can make decisions and function. We've learned how to live on our own. But that's about it, really.
I want to teach TK Jr. about compassion. I want him to believe in something other than himself. I want him to maintain his clarity, so that he can see the world for what it is. I want him to understand people, and to have compassion for them.
I want to raise him Buddhist.
That's going to require a difficult commitment on my part. I'm going to have to be one myself.
I've tried, and I've succeeded. And I've failed. I followed the path for a while, and life was better. There was less suffering. But I'm attached to my attachments. And I'm bitter, and cynical, jaded and faded. I'm addicted and distracted. And it keeps getting in the way.
The more I think about the state of our country today, the more firmly I believe that we could all do a lot of good by taking some time to gaze into our own navels. Think about what we're doing. Think about where we're going. About how we treat ourselves, our loved ones, our coworkers, our neighbors. Our strangers and our enemies. Think about our actions and inactions. Our fears and desires, our wants and needs.
Is each one of us living right? Are any of us? What are our priorities? What are our agendas?
Harmony is not hard to achieve, nor is balance. When we all stop tugging in our separate directions, we can start to exist together.
It doesn't take a Coke. It takes mindfulness.
We can't change the way people think or act by trying to force them. We can only change them by living right ourselves, setting the example. And maintaining hope that with time, it will catch on.
That's a tall order. Think I'll have a beer and finish of my evening staring at my belly button.