United by hope

It’s Super Tuesday. Folks all over the country are either voting, counting votes, or watching the count from afar, hoping that citizens in the Super Tuesday states haven’t set the Union careening towards the cliff. Mindfulness seems to have flown out the window … but perhaps not all is lost. Consider this preview article from the May 2016 issue of Lion’s Roar: “A Buddhist psychoanalyst puts our divided country on the couch,” by Robert Langan.

Langan acknowledges the peril that so many of us feel… “Our country is in the midst of a polarized conflict between hope and fear, with each side’s hope becoming the other side’s fear.”

There seems to be little room for optimism or common purpose, until, as Langan points out, we consider our hopes and fears from the perspective of a famous Buddhist teaching: the Three Poisons of Greed, Aversion, and Ignorance. If we could set these aside, just for a moment, what might we find?

“My experience is limited by my birth, the people and teachers who influenced me and didn’t, the circumstantial drift of my life over which I have had so little, but some, control. Your experience is the same. We drift alongside each other. Pleased to meet you. Shall we vote?

The acceptance of not fully knowing does not stymie action. It credits others’ ways of knowing as complementary indicators of what we humans should be doing with ourselves, our communal best guess. Three hundred million stories should overlap a lot. And seven billion stories criss-cross this naked planet.

We have all been howling babies, powerless and dependent, born to a world shaped by our forbears, now shaped and to be shaped by us grown-ups. We share the hope that our fears can lessen, and our hopes thrive. May we listen to one another, all of us as one.”