Sunday, March 21, 2010

Attachment to Outcomes

An old friend and a fellow-sitter in our sangha brought in some cards this morning for our feedback. The cards are a part of a whole project she has long been working on, having to do with the application of Buddhist teachings and principles to our daily lives. They are designed for one to be picked blind from the pack each morning--as when the magician offers the pack for our selection--and set in a decorative stand as guidance and inspiration for the day. The one I picked, in what she intended as a demonstration, was headed "Attachment to Outcomes."

No accidents. I guess it's a little like throwing the I Ching: no matter what shows up by apparent chance, it happens to be totally relevant to the situation in which we find ourselves that day. Attachment to outcome is what has been keeping me awake at night. My mind has been so attached to the "success" of Persist that I have been unable to sleep. It keeps coming up with new plans and strategies; it keeps rehashing the old ones.

And here we are, today, Sunday, March 21, 2010, awaiting the outcome of the congressional vote on health care reform--and unsure, even at this last moment, of what that outcome will be. I have the TV set turned on, even as I write, because I am so attached to the result. They just played a clip of President Kennedy, back in the early 1960s, proclaiming his passionate belief in the need for a just and sensible health care system in this country, and noting that every other developed country had provided for the health of its citizens for years. That was nearly fifty years ago, and since then nothing has been done. There are still millions of Americans with no health care insurance at all, and millions more whose insurance can too easily be snatched away from them the moment that it's needed.

The wonder of it all is that so many Americans have been persuaded to consider it some kind of devil's work. The wonder is that our representatives, even two dozen or more Democrats, lack the courage or the wisdom to do what is morally imperative. I continue to watch this spectacle of lunacy in utter disbelief.

So yes, here's another outcome to which I must confess to being passionately attached. Is it enough, as my friend's card suggested, to take in the information, smile, and breathe...? The Buddha's wisdom teaches that it must be enough, if I'm to retain some measure of serenity. And yet... there are moments when the Buddha's wisdom just sails out the window of my mind, and I frankly fret. I admit that my fretting doesn't do me any good; it doesn't change the situation. It's not going to change a single vote in Washington. But try telling that to a mind that's passionately engaged...

I'm touching wood, I'm keeping my fingers crossed... Perhaps, if I believed in an all-powerful divine being, I'd be praying! But no, I'll settle for good old-fashioned superstition. And hope that common sense and reason will prevail.

1 comment:

turquoisemoon said...

Great post...she says, as she sits uninsured! The lunacy is founded in fear and greed.