The current ruckus over health care reform is fascinating to observe. Who is right; who is wrong? First, doesn’t that depend on one’s definition of ‘right’? If we are referring to ‘Right’ from a Buddha’s Eight Fold Path viewpoint, then those who rant on either side are certainly not ‘Right’. The ranting we see are emotions at play — at war actually. When such needs and fears stir, chapter 16’s, Knowledge of the constant is known as discernment and One’s action will lead to impartiality is not possible.
The biases caused by need and fear consume awareness so much that we seldom even notice this is happening. What is more, no attempt to reason calmly and clearly ever counteracts such emotional blindness.
Emotional fervor, like a wildfire, just has to burn itself out. This can be discouraging to anyone who wishes that humanity acted differently instead of behaving so animal-like. Trying to shoehorn reality into ones’ ideality of how it ‘should be’ is not only futile; it adds fuel to the emotional fires.
We’re victims of our biology — emotional and cognitive. So surely, true “impartiality and discernment” is humanly impossible. Not even God is capable of impartiality. ‘He’ is on the side of the Good, right? Still there is a bright side…
Thought offers a way to nurture “impartiality and discernment” by challenging all ‘should be’ stories. There is hope and help in chapter 56’s replacement story: This is known as mysterious sameness. Episode #1 in this Taoist story is simply seeing oneself as no different from any other animal. Once the ego adapts and settles into that sameness, it is smooth sailing. Any blow to one’s ego is just the price to pay for greater peace of mind.