The anger subsides. I spent some time yesterday morning checking out media and blog responses to the infamous debate, and found that the vast majority agreed that it had been a disaster , not just for the candidates, but for the ABC TV network, its ill-chosen moderators and their ill-considered questions.
Much later in the day, I had the opportunity to put these things into perspective at a chamber concert by the Beaux Arts Trio in the series hosted by Ace Gallery. The main fare proved to be two late piano trios by Franz Schubert. Largely ignorant of the history of classical music, I learned that this composer died at the age of 31 in 1828, and that the two trios in question were written in the last six months of his life, with adumbrations of his approaching early death. The music, to my unskilled ear, was alternately light and somber, delirious and mournful as I listened with closed eyes and tried to focus on the track of each of the three instruments simultaneously--a demanding task that required full mental concentration.
Listening to these musical masterworks, I found myself reflecting on the basic, but still interesting phenomenon that it's impossible to conceive of quiet without loud, slow without fast, joy without sorrow, delight without suffering. And I was not surprised, as many times before, to notice how precisely the simple, practical wisdom of the Buddhist teachings sheds its light on every aspect of human experience.
In the light of Schubert's music, his short life, his intense, passionate dedication to the work by which he is still known today, the absurdities of current political events gave way to an appreciation of the deeper realities, the deeper truths that provide the too often unheard bass line of our lives, the work of the human spirit. I myself have already been given more than twice the number of years than those Schubert was allowed. All the more important, then, to be listening for that bass line in everything I do.