Giving In To External Stimuli
I must confess that this past negative presidential campaign had caught me with my Zen guard down.
And for one, I’m not all that political of a person if you know me in real life.
In Buddhist teachings, we are taught that this world is an illusion. And I know that this concept will be foreign to most people, and maybe quite a few Westerners who have been more influenced with the concepts of Christianity.
But as I understand it, there is a veil of illusion. And I’m sure some will agree with me that many things are not what they appear to be. Take for example, the stars at night. Many have had their light extinguished millions of years ago, and they don’t exist anymore. But, we continue to see their shimmering light still coming towards us.
With politics, especially with a divided America between Republicans and Democrats, two majority parties, this causes us to judge others in an extreme way, which is either black or white, when in fact there is a majority of the people that are most likely in-between and moderate with their political views. But, I know some good people out there who are Republican or Democrat. If they didn’t tell you the political party they are a member of, you’d perceive them as the good people they are, but the minute you know they are the opposite of your own political party, then you tend to be biased. Or maybe not. But that thought process is out there.
The mind by itself, without external stimuli, would die from the lack of input. But, we need time to eliminate external stimuli and truly meditate for our mind’s health. And it’s different from sleep, because in meditation you are trying to quiet the awake mind and bring about peace by the lack of external stimuli.
A good example of the influence of external stimuli on the mind is the desire for material things. A desire for things like food when it goes beyond survival and sustenance. And even travel can be a desire for experiencing new external stimuli.
The point I’m getting at is that we crave for external stimuli to make us happy, when its the internal mind that can be disciplined to be less dependent on external things that cause happiness, and work towards finding happiness within.
It’s a matter of being more in control of our five senses, or being a slave to them. In Christianity that is emphasized by the 7 Deadly Sins: Pride. Envy. Wrath, Gluttony and Lust. Sloth and Greed.
When desires go out of control, and without the checks and balances of our inner moral compass, we fall into these 7 Deadly Sins and are motivated by them alone.
People who run for President of the United States always express their desires to do go for the country. And perhaps we can give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their sincerity. But, most candidates are extremely powerful and wealthy. You have to question if they are really for the people, or are furthering their desires, fueled by the motivating factors of the above deadly sins.
Just something to think about as we look toward a new president-elect to hopefully improve our way of life.