Friday, June 3, 2011

What To Do? Part 1

Most of us know that life is ongoing changes.

We sometimes remember that conditions inherently can not satisfy because of impermanence; because particular changes that we do not want occur, or what we do want does not occur.

So our life task is to live joyously in the midst of changes, to see what to do skillfully and appropriately in the midst of not seeking satisfaction in the particularity of changing conditions. This is true of this body-mind state, of this wider world.

"Illinois is said to be the most corrupt state" I was recently told by someone who lives in the state capital and has some experience with this.

The former governor is on trial for corruption - and justifies his actions in his testimony as just the "way" politics in the state is done. His predecessor as governor is in prison after conviction on corruption charges.

Illinois is now a one-party state in that the legislature and governor's office are controlled by Democrats. Currently, the state promised pensions and benefits are being cut and bills the state owes, along with constitutionally mandated funding, are going unpaid for long periods due to the near bankruptcy of the state. Taxes are being raised and new fees levied on ordinary people - all the while the state politicians are creating rewards for themselves and their allies.  Someone troubled by this asked, what to do?

A new contorted redistricting plan has just been created in a secret, backroom process with little real public input. It is designed to insure that those in power stay in power and even expand their power.

What is our skillful and appropriate practice when circumstances either close or far create difficulties in life? Of course, in the above political situations you can call and write political representatives, organize groups and protest. And when that does not result in changes that satisfy, what next? In fact, this is always our practice question, whether dealing with political and economic circumstances or those of family and social relations, as well as sickness, old age and death, this ongoing change. As the 6th Ancestor of Ch'an/Zen says, Ongoing change is Buddha Dharma.

When there are no actions that we can see that are skillful and appropriate, or when our actions seem to result in little or no change, what to do?

In general, if we find that we are upset or angry it is useful to truly experience this anger bodily. Allowing holding to be released, there can be arising and passing. Then we might see more clearly what is skillful and appropriate.

If we continue to hold to upset, anger, there is the practice of body-mind looking, who is upset/angry?

Another way is to look, what is this?