We like to think George Bailey and Jefferson Smith (The Mr. Smith who goes to Washington) are Everyman, and that Donald Trump and his people are not. The assumption is not valid. The people who profit handsomely at someone else's expense are legion. Beyond counting. And they never stop with the conniving, contriving, plotting, scheming, coming up with new ways to make money at our expense. Jimmie Stewart did us no favors. We have to be alert and at the ready at all times. We cannot assume everything is fine, or that we can trust people to be who they say they are, or to have our best interest at heart. They have their best interest at heart. If you think that is cynical, pay attention to the news. My position is ratified, verified, affirmed and confirmed every day. Beware. They are everywhere. And so, we have to stay tuned into what is going on. Congressional inspectors have their place. Local newspapers were good sources for investigative reporting, but they are nearly gone. The Lobbyists who write the bills that Congress passes, write in loop-holes that effectively neutralize the bills that pass. Cheating, lying, stealing is a big time business. The George Baileys and Mr. Smiths are swamped, in "The Swamp is alive and well" sense of the term.
We have to bear the pain of our own development. We grow up against our will. We draw our own lines, establish our own boundaries, assume the duties that are rightfully ours, and live within the limits we set for ourselves. We determine the Thou Shalts, and the Thou Shalt Nots, that are ours to honor and serve. "We are the marble and we are the sculptor" (Alex Carrel). We are the chisel and we are the stone. We are who we become over time. With luck, we become who we are over time. "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all of our exploring, will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time" (T. S. Eliot). If it goes well, after all that work, we will be us at last. "The shortest way through is the long way around." It takes a lot of looking to be able to see. We learn as we go-- that is what going is for. Live so that each day brings us closer to who we are, or at least doesn't take us farther away.
If you have an agenda, you have an idea for the situation that is not organic to the situation. You are bringing something to the situation that is foreign to the situation. You are willing an outcome upon the situation that doesn't take the needs of the situation into account. You are imposing your idea of the good of the situation upon the situation. You are saying, "NO! Not this! THAT!" What needs to happen, here and now, is the question. Not what do you want to happen. Our duty-- our dharma-- is to be true to ourselves within the circumstances of the time and place of our living. What is it time for, here and now, is the question. We have to bear the pain of the answer, and do what needs to be done, regardless of what we want done. How objective can we be, is the question. I have left situations that needed something I could not give them without betraying myself. It would have been wrong to impose my idea for the situation upon the situation. And, it would have been wrong to turn away from myself and my need for self-expression and self-determination. I have also remained in situations and changed the situation to reflect my understanding of what the situation needed, and other people have left, unable to embrace and participate in what I was doing. How do you know when to do what? There is no formula that says, "Here is where you do this, and there is where you do that." There is only being still and quiet and seeing what arises in the silence as an impulse from your nature, and living out of that knowing. We wait for the mud to settle and the water to clear in order to know what it is time for here and now. Our agenda is to see what we look at, to hear what is called for, and to do what needs to be done in light of what we see and hear.
Be what the moment needs you to be! Be what is called for, moment by moment! Sometimes that means taking a nap. "Eat when hungry, rest when tired." Read the moment, moment by moment. Go where you are being asked to go. Do what you are being asked to do. Our moments carry us along to where we are going. If we ignore what the moment is calling for, and follow our dreams, whatever they might be, they will bring us back to where we started, having learned, perhaps, to listen to the moment, and be what it is calling us to be. And do what it is calling us to do. It may be that following our dreams was it to begin with. And it may be that was the moment's way of waking us up to the importance of the moment. Our moments add up to a life. Do enough moments well and we do a life well-- and that is the most that can be asked of anyone. We cannot do more than to live moment by moment well. Start with any moment, this one, say, and it will lead to the next moment. Before you know it, you will have lived an entire life well, one moment at a time. Just by doing what was called for. The art of life.