Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Opting Out of Opinion


Sitting Upright No Matter What

Whatever appears
Sit upright in it,
Neither hoping
You can endure,

Nor fearing you can't.

Just sit upright with
Poise and grace.

And have no opinion
About your circumstances.

A student asked,
"How does one have no opinions about one's circumstances?"

Have no opinion there either.
-Zen Master Dae Gak from Upright with Poise and Grace 

I've recently been thinking about opinions, and how you don't always have to have one. Someone presents an argument or an issue, and everyone assumes you have to come down on one side or the other. But you don't. It's nice to just let your mind stay in that openness.

When I was a teenager I thought entirely in black and white. Mostly this originated from my Christian upbringing. Everything was either awesome (a blessing from God) or horrible (the devil is after me). Nothing could ever just be. 

Having no opinion isn't the same as not caring, though. Caring about the outcome and those affected by it is crucial. At times, I've felt obligated to have an opinion or takes sides on an issue. Not having the option of no opinion has pushed me, on occasion, to not care at all. Politics would be a good example of this. You can get that apathetic mindset and completely opt out.

If you allow your mind to just stay open but still care, without getting attached to one side or the outcome, it helps you stay engaged.

I've been feeling a little guilty lately about not taking sides on the recent gay marriage issue. It's all people are talking about on Facebook. And I have lots of gay friends whom I love dearly. Not that I don't think everyone should have equal rights. I'm just not sure legalized marriage is the answer -- for anyone, not just gays. (A blog post for another day ...) And ultimately, I really have no opinion either way.

I certainly empathize with those who have had their rights denied to them because of sexual orientation, lifestyle choices, gender, race, age, the list goes on endlessly. However, the real problem here isn't the laws, it's the culture. It's the mindset and the paradigm of those making and enforcing the laws. All of my blessings and kudos to those solid souls who take this on as their role in this world.

I've decided that not having an opinion allows me as an individual to care for those who need it in the best way I know how, without getting caught up in sides and politics. I can relax into my life without having to "fight" for one cause or another. I've decided to display my platform, my beliefs, though my my life, my words, my actions, how I raise my children, how I treat others.

This is my subtle way of changing hearts and minds to a way of existing that doesn't need laws to tell people the right way to treat each other. Sitting upright with poise and grace, as the Zen master says.