Posts Tagged ‘zen’

Keeping Zen in an Angry World

Posted: June 19, 2018 in Life, living, politics
Tags: , ,
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When I was a young boy, I got into a lot of fights. It happens when the gang at school finds something about you they know will push your buttons. Once they find it, they take no end of delight in gleefully pushing it. So they did. And so I lashed out. I got into fights all the time. Most of the time the fights came to a draw or I got beat up. Snivelling and crying because life was so damned unfair.
Mom – bless her dear departed heart – was a rock for all six of us back then. She was the disciplinarian whose job it was to keep us in line, make us laugh, comfort us and bandage our cut up knees. And she taught us all that it was better to keep our mouths closed, to be respectful and to practice kindness.
I grew up, eventually, and that whiny little boy decided Mom’s way was better. (It helped that I got heavily into religion at the time too). We’re now in an age that seems surreal to me. Where cruelty and spite is the norm. Where cowards get to voice their deepest angry and hateful thoughts behind their oh-so-safe keyboards. Life is once again unfair, as the world at large discovers more and more of these buttons that we all possess, and they just *love* pressing them. There is what I would call a “hate movement” going on right now. You can see it all over social media. And it’s happening on all sides of every debate you can think of. If you’re not for me, you’re against me and I won’t listen to you. I will hate you. We’ve lost the art of conversation, and of healthy debate. The minute you put your stake in the ground, you attract sycophants just as you attract hate mongers.
I know this all too well, because I have participated. It’s no secret who I hold hatred for right now. But here’s the thing:
Because I participated, I lost. Because I was so willing to spew my own well reasoned, justified sanctimonious hate, I’ve fallen into the trap of this movement.
One night last week I was on a bus ride home. I forget where I was coming from. It suddenly occurred to me. I was just as complicit in this orgy of hatred as the people (well, more precisely, the person) I hated. He won, because I participated at all.
I made up my mind right then. I wasn’t going to play the game anymore. You can’t lose if you’re not playing, right?
I scrubbed all of my hate-filled tweets from Twitter and resolved to not engage anymore.
You know what though? It’s hard. It’s so very hard when you see parrots repeating that hatred all over the place, coupled with lies and exaggerations and some truly loathsome evil shit. I find I have to sit on my hands and grit my teeth.
Regardless, Mom’s boy will adhere to her training. I will do my best to avoid hatred, and to consider only those things which bring life.
My hatred isn’t gone. Far from it. But if I don’t give it air to breathe, maybe it will die. Maybe I’ll reach a point where I can merely observe, silently and patiently, as the
maelstrom of hatred we’re all seeing will dissipate. Or it won’t. It may get stronger.
Something’s going to give at some point. I’d rather see it from a zen vantage point, rather than dance in its mosh pit.