We hear a lot about the idea of mindfulness. The most developed people are mindful. Oprah is mindful. That has to count for something, because she’s Oprah. Quod erat demonstrandum.
“Mindfulness” is the state of being totally present in the moment. A mindful man is not worried about what transpired yesterday. A mindful woman is not thinking about what she has to do tomorrow. A mindful person is living in the now, fully experiencing now with 100% of their consciousness. Some people utilize meditation to great effect in returning their scattered thoughts to center. The act of sitting attentively, but attending to nothing, is more powerful than its inherent inaction would indicate.
Buddhists employ mindfulness toward the end of removing want, thereby removing suffering, from their lives. If you’re only experiencing what’s happening now, you are not thinking about what you wish you would have done, nor what you want to have happen. Focusing on this moment serves to detach you from yesterday and tomorrow’s outcomes.
It’s with all of that deep stuff in mind that I turn to our current political reality, and assert this:
Donald Trump is the first accidentally Buddhist President of the United States.
Now, before you tell me that he can’t be a Buddhist because he’s a rich guy, he’s a self-centered asshole, he’s greedy, he’s disingenuous, he eats a lot of McDonalds food, he’s a womanizer, he’s a slime-oozing lizard man from space wearing an orange human costume…hear me out.
First, I didn’t say that he was a good Buddhist. He’s not intentionally following the tenets of the philosophy, and he’s completely missing most of the Noble Eightfold Path.
But I challenge you to find a human being more naturally living in the moment than Donald Trump.
People work entire lifetimes to clear their minds of yesterday’s regret, embarrassing missteps, and flubs. There are Buddhist monks who struggle daily with quelling the anxiety and anticipation of tomorrow.
Donald Trump naturally wipes the slate clean each night and wakes up in a freestanding today. He unconsciously disregards tomorrow as his stream-of-consciousness flows freely from his mouth and his Twitter feed. Each day’s agenda has no obvious connection to the past or the future.
He has an uncanny ability to completely divorce himself from the continuity of humanity’s timeline. That is all the more impressive when you consider he’s the most powerful human being on earth. The weight of responsibility for making decisions that affect seven billion humans deprives most leaders of sleep, youth, and peace. But Donald Trump innately makes world-altering decisions without a speck of worry about our history or his legacy. Suck on that, Thich Nhat Hanh! Scoreboard, bitches. Or Thiches, as the case may be.
Sure, Donald Trump is a pompous, self-aggrandizing stack of triglycerides crammed into a mismatched suit, which doesn’t indicate that he has separated himself from want. His actions seem to show that he wants to attain popularity and riches.
But, as an alternate theory, what if he doesn’t “want” any of that? What if his natural way of being an unrelenting cascade of jackassery simply rewarded him with notoriety and money? Could it be that The Donald was born without the capacity for want, but our programming leads us to believe that anyone who attains wealth had to want it?
I know it’s a stretch to think that Donald Trump is a reincarnated Buddha on the cycle of rebirth, en route to manifesting as a future enlightened being. I understand it strains credulity to believe the President’s ways are indications of his divine, transcendental nature.
But if I’m wrong, it means that his desire to be rich and immortal have resulted in him being rich and, well, I doubt we’ll ever forget that we had this guy in charge. If I’m wrong, we’ve accidentally elected to the highest office in the land a person who has the attention span of a puppy who just ate a bowl of Skittles. If I’m wrong, his “mindfulness” is simply a function of having zero competence for a massive undertaking, and too big of an ego to take advice from people he’s hired to advise him.
I really hope that all of the bullshit I’ve seen from him so far only seems like bullshit, because I’ve never seen a late-stage reincarnated Buddha in the White House.
It’s either that, or he’s unquestionably the least qualified man to ever hold the office.
Brothers and sisters, please join me in prayer:
Dear Oprah, intercede on my behalf. If I am wrong and this giant Oompa Loompa gets us all killed, please let me be reincarnated as something really cool, like a racecar driver or a hawk or something. Amen.