Mindfulness and William Henry Harrison

22 Feb

It’s really hard to be mindful in the world. Pulling away and meditating, ok, but when things around me are happening, say at work, and there’s all this stuff going around, I can feel myself scattering and losing focus. I feel like a firefighter putting out one small fire at a time on the fringes of a barn burning.

Why is this? Why all the daily chatter? Maybe I’m afraid of having a blank slate. Maybe it’s scary to do that with other people. They might draw their pictures on me, they might leave greater imprints. I know this is not necessarily true.

It’s such an odd thing to look towards my individual motivations, the why of things. I don’t know why I tend to do certain things, and maybe that part is unimportant. (Or more likely the why will show itself when the why shows itself and there’s no amount of thinking to make it happen even a second sooner.) I guess why comes last.

In the meantime, a thing I saw today at the V.A. was a showing for president’s day. They had Washington and Lincoln (ok I can dig it), Reagan (not my cup of tea, but I can see why he’s there) and William Henry Harrison. The last threw me for a loop–why him? He was only the shortest termed president ever who didn’t have a chance to do just about anything. Perhaps they wanted someone to round out the group or something.

And then I was happy, because somewhere William Henry Harrison was being celebrated for something, because of the oddball choice that brought him to this passed presidential show at the V.A. Because even with his one month of office he was still president, and his name is still on the list. Also he did accomplish one thing:

in his death, he forced the American government to figure out the problem of succession, much better with a peaceful death like this than after an assassination where everything is tense and dramatic. That succession solution has allowed America peaceful transitions even after assassinations.

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