Friday, October 2, 2020

GOODWILL IS SOMETIMES HARD TO PRACTICE

I note that I have been silent on The Buddha Diaries for a whole week. I have been preoccupied with matters on which I usually prefer to remain silent here--though I am not always successful. I try to think of these pages as something of a refuge, where I can reflect on things that I find more important. I can say, though, that I manage to keep up with my daily meditation practice, and that this is a physical and mental health necessity in these uncertain, even dangerous times.

I heard last night before turning in that the president and his wife had tested positive for the coronavirus, and had to make a conscious effort to suppress initial feelings of I-told-you-so. He has been publicly, loudly, excessively flouting every reasonable precaution recommended by the experts, and has persuaded millions of his fellow Americans, by word and deed, to do the same. As much as his refusal or inability to promote policies, his behavior has, by reliable scientific estimates, cost tens of thousands of lives. And thanks to his neglect, the virus continues to spread--in some areas, virtually unchecked. His insistence on the opening of schools and business, in flagrant contradiction to the rules of the country's public health experts, has given impetus to the virus, and deaths continue to mount.

So what are we to make of the announcement of his personal affliction, and his wife's? I am beginning to see the word "karma" flung around, but in a narrow and purely populist understanding of the concept. Still, there is some unkind and ignoble corner of my heart where I find it hard to find compassion for a man who seems to have brought this on himself. It was in all honesty an effort this morning, as I sat in meditation, to reach a place where I could send out sympathy for his predicament, goodwill, and wishes for his speedy recovery.

And wishing for his full recovery, I find myself adding the wish that his heart may become more fully human as a result of this experience, no matter how asymptomatic or severe it may prove to be; that he will come away from it with at least some of the empathy and wisdom demanded by his high office; and that the world will become a better place for all of us as a result.

7 comments:

Marie Smith said...

Oh if that could be so...I wish the man no ill will and that he recovers quickly. I fear how it will all play out however.

Catalyst said...

I fear your hopes are in vain.

Dr Michelle Frantom (aka Dr Grafix aka Munted Doll) said...

I've been grappling with the same dilemma Peter. I hope he recovers but I also hope he suffers just enough to appreciate that his lack of duty of care has badly affected others.

In the end I console myself with the knowledge that other forces much larger than me are at work here. I've always maintained that 'God' or Mother Nature, or whatever you want to call it, will prevail - for all of us.

Linda said...

You are a better human than me at this moment.

Peter Clothier said...

Thank you for reading, and for your comments. It is, indeed, a "dilemma", Michelle. The larger forces are at work--we humans so small a part of the great picture of the universe. The question that bothers me is whether those larger forces, indifferent to our fate, will continue their great march forward despite our species and simply trample on us as they go!

Dr Michelle Frantom (aka Dr Grafix aka Munted Doll) said...

Peter I'm convinced these larger forces will trample on us. The human species is a blip on the radar of existence. We tend to think we are important but I don't think we are.

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