What The Buddha Might Say To Mitt Romney
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. –Buddha
One of the truly great things in life is to discover our genuine and authentic self, to dance to the beat of our own drum. And so, conversely, one of the greatest challenges is to know what we think, feel, and believe, for ourselves. It is far easier to agree with others, or be influenced by them to believe as they do, than it is to be firm in our own convictions.
Trying to please others by always agreeing with them, or saying what he thinks they want to hear even if it means constantly contradicting himself, is an obvious trait of Mitt Romney’s. He appears to have no idea what he really thinks, feels and believes for himself. As a result he is constantly flip-flopping to fit in with current policies. Hence the comparison to Etch-A-Sketch. For instance:
Flip: “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.” Flop: “I did not see it with my own eyes.”
Flip: “Roe v. Wade has gone too far.” Flop: “I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.”
Flip: “I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.” Flop: “I never really called myself pro-choice.”
Flip: “I have a gun of my own. I go hunting myself. I’m a member of the NRA and believe firmly in the right to bear arms.” Flop: Asked by reporters at the gun show whether he personally owned a gun, Romney said he did not.
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. –Buddha
Another word for flip flop is confusion. When we are confused we lose sight of what is real or where we are going. This is what can happen when money and power take over and add to the delusion that we are invincible. The Buddha taught of the dangers of greed, hatred and ignorance, that he called the three poisons. Where greed grabs our desires, hatred abuses our fears, while ignorance clouds our vision.
Greed has many relatives, such as jealousy, ambition, self-centeredness, pride, and grasping, which lead to dissatisfaction, irritation, even depression. The craving to possess generates a fear of not having and limits our generosity. Romney personifies greed, not just in his many houses and cars, but in his desperate desire to win, no matter how.
Hate is destructive, indiscriminate, like a snake it can rise up out of nowhere and attack. When we are fixed in the belief that we are right then anything that questions or threatens that belief becomes the enemy to be done away with. Such hatred becomes its own worst enemy, however, for no matter how much we try to annihilate the hated one the hate remains within us.
Words have power to destroy or heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world. –Buddha
Where hatred closes our heart, delusion makes us believe there is a permanent, separate and fixed ‘me,’ which means we take ourselves much too seriously; it is the belief that ‘me’ is all-powerful, and the ignorance of our essential connectedness with others. But when we constantly focus on ourselves we create suffering; such selfishness means there is no room for kindness or compassion.
When we met with the Dalai Lama, he said to us: “We are all equal here.” This is something that Mitt Romney seems to have a real difficulty with, as he continues to make insensitive comments such as: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,” and how his wife Anne “drives a couple of Cadillacs.” Or, as Arianna Huffington said in her last Sunday Roundup blog: “Mitt Romney once again failed to defuse the dog-on-car-roof controversy, conceding that if given the chance he’d do things differently — not because it was cruel but because of the flak he’s received in the ensuing years.”
Surely it’s time for Mitt to stop trying to be loved and convince everyone he is the man of the people. He comes across as hopelessly awkward when he attempts to put himself in someone else’s shoes or equate himself with their problems, such as saying that he too was unemployed while at the same time having $100 million in the bank. Rather, it’s time for him to discover who he is and what he genuinely believes.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. –Dalai Lama
Image: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons