Trying to release stress isn’t easy these days. Our Sifu (Master Instructor) Eric Sbarge of The Peaceful Dragon in Charlotte, NC, is holding 30 minute meditation sessions via ZOOM 3 days/week, for which I’m grateful. Today, we each chose a short mantra for our 30 minute session.
I suddenly thought of a book assigned by my TaeKwonDo Master for my 1st Dan (1st degree black belt) test preparation in 1998: “Living Buddha, Living Christ,” by Thich Nhat Hanh . Thankfully, it didn’t take me long to find it, and I found my mantra on pg. 2. It spoke to me about the anger, sorrow, and bitterness that I feel towards the people, who are failing our nation during the Corona virus pandemic. It reminded me, that I may be wrong about some things. That being rigid in belief due to anger, is no different than the rigid beliefs of those denying it.
“Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded & bound to present views. Learn & practice non-attachment from views to be open to receive others’ viewpoints.”
Turns out, I’d already blogged about this struggle in the summer of 2019: Seeking Peace Amidst Existential Despair. It was during a time, when many reports about accelerating climate change and natural disasters. I was worried about the future of humanity, in the time that we will grow old and our daughters will grow up. I’d also blogged about my thoughts on the future of human civilization in The End of the World as We Know It in Jan. 2019. It’s even more on-topic during the Coronavirus pandemic.
I’m struggling with this non-attachment to views, because right now, the viewpoints of Trump, the GOP, etc. are directly leading to the hospitalizations & deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Soon to be hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of us. https://bit.ly/39eqoOk. It’s difficult to let go of my passionate beliefs, that they’re immoral monsters, because Trump’s incompetence, arrogance, narcissism, and ego are blatantly displayed, but the GOP continues to do nothing to hold him accountable, correct him, or stop him.
Yet, they are people, too. They hold views that seem to directly contradict their oft-stated Christian beliefs, but they are attached to them. They believe them to be eternal, changeless truth. As long as I am passionate and angry about my views being (even if temporarily) changeless truths, it’s impossible to hold any kind of dialogue with them. It’s hard to even want to hold a dialogue with them. I want to condemn them and hate them. But what does that make me? Does it accomplish anything?
I Can Only Change Myself
Regardless of what happens, before I can take any beneficial external actions to effect change, I need to find peace within myself first. Especially since I’m stuck at home and have limited ability to take external actions. For myself and my family, peace must begin with me. Practicing non-attachment to my own views is a good first step. True – this is going to take some work on my part! Thanks to Sifu’s suggestion last week though, I’ve been prompted to start. I will be meditating on this, as well as re-reading a number of books, including Living Buda, Living Christ.