As a Buddhist, often I need to kick myself in the butt to remind me that there are ways, even in these troubled times, to maintain equanimity of my spirit mind. As any Buddhist will say, in her or his own words, there are three root poisons that work to impede our divine happiness, those being anger, greed and confusion.
Today, as throughout history, we easily can discern these 3 poisons infecting American society at large, regardless of one’s political persuasion, or apolitical posture. So these poisons not only infect an individual, but spread like rotting fruit in a barrel, pervading all society, ebbing and rising over time. This infection is always present, everywhere in the world, and has been since the proverbial Eve picked the apple (uuummm, that juicy, tasty apple!)
However, the antidotes to any or all 3 of the poisons must first be given to individuals, one at a time. The antidotes are always present, in each of us, but have to be spiritually accepted. And, only the individual can decide voluntarily to take the antidotes, as the curing effects will not be realized if forced upon she or he.
Everyday we witness all 3 poisons flowing and defiling our humanity. From the highest political office in America, varieties of the 3 are pumped through channels of willing receptors, who often do not even recognize their sickness. But every action has a reaction, so those who oppose the policies of the present Oval Office, likewise allow themselves to be infected with other strains of the 3 viruses.
So what are the antidotes?
- To counteract anger: Loving-kindness. We must remind ourselves that each human being is just that, no more, no less, and strive to feel empathy and compassion for the challenges others are confronting that impede and block them from being the loving person they each have the potential to be, as we all do. They are not responsible for our own feeling of anger, as no one can control how we feel if we are masters of our mind. By cultivating a sense of forgiving, unconditional love for those who otherwise infuriate us, our internal anger will be restrained. This does not mean we are not also responsible for externally working to arrest those in the grips of hatred from committing acts of violence or harm; by restraining them from such actions, we are actually helping them.
- To counteract greed: Generosity. We must overcome our own desire in the political realm to want everything to be the way we want it. Our world view may have many good qualities, but it is just our world view, for none of us is omniscient. Generosity can also be expressed by reaching out to those whose views differ from us, offering a white feather of peace and a gentle request to explore together the root issues that separate us. Lastly, generosity will not be sustained externally if we each do not strive to be more generous – consciously generous – in all our social interactions, whether with a partner, a child, family or other close associations.
- To counteract confusion. Wisdom. With wisdom comes the faculties to negotiate this treacherous sea we live in daily. All the great minds, philosophers and spiritual keepers knew this. For instance, Proverbs 4:7 reminds us to get wisdom, get understanding. Personally I like to use the term “overstanding,” to convey the higher quality that true wisdom exhibits. One way of gathering wisdom is to practice critical analysis. I have mentioned this a number of times in my posts. I truly believe that if more and more younger students can be exposed to critical analytical discourse, then the fallacies, delusions, illusions and overall confusion we see today will diminish over time. Most of those who have views supporting the Oval Office I believe are in a state of utter confusion and delusion, because they are not skilled in critical thinking, to search for the truth in any situation. For instance, blaming immigrants for Americans being unemployed will fly in the face of logical cause and effect analysis. Hating someone because of their skin color or customs also will be cooled when real exploration takes place.
Having spoken about these antidotes, I realize too that behind the anger, greed and confusion lurks what we can label just pure evil. I truly believe that there is a negative higher force that is always present in the human mind, which will exist always (until we all attain enlightenment…..but that is another matter). We see pure evil at work in the mass murders recently, but pure evil rears its supremely ugly face throughout all history, whether the genocide in Rwanda or Cambodia, or the Nazis, or the fire bombing of cities by the Allies. When we allow evil to appear it always will. Only the 3 antidotes keep it in check.
So having written this to share with you today, I commit to myself to do be better at taking my antidotes, and not push away the spoon like a sick boy who pushes away his mother’s hand with the spoonful of nasty medicine.
Peace and blessings be with you all.