I am a natural grump. Not only that, but all male primates (that’s me, too!) tend to get grumpier as they age. I could refer you to a passage by Loren Eisley, biologist, if you want a citation.
I would like to believe that the human race and the planet I love and the country, state and locality I love are not going to hell in a handbasket but it is a struggle.
The American Buddhist writers like Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sylvia Boorstein and Phillip Moffitt have given me a new tool in my minute-by-minute struggle to stay on top of moods and such. It is the simple step of waiting a minute. Yes, those guys I just read about in the news are idiots but wait a minute! Maybe there is more to the story, maybe there are other views. In a minute, I won’t care very much.
The writers assure me that the Buddha and his predecessors and successors see life inextricably including suffering. For one thing, any good may be something I don’t want to let go of, something I don’t want to end. So, good can deliver me a little suffering, too. I learned in logic class that “if A, then B and if also not-A, then B”, then B is, as we might say, really on. If suffering comes with the bad things and it comes with the not-bad things, then suffering is there. You can count on it.
Like the Buddhists, I want to escape suffering, leave it, side-step it as much and as soon as possible. I find they are quite right. Suffer consciously for a sec but realize that my attention, my moods, my thoughts and my business change all the time. I mean all the time. So, wait a minute. Look out the window. Have a drink of water. Then, check again. See? Now I don’t care or I am more willing to look at the matter or my leg hurts or something else is on the agenda. Just wait a minute.