Our daughter Melanie introduced us to her new boyfriend last night. Although she’s been dating for years, she’s never been as excited about a boy before; she even suggested I blog about love.

That surprised me because she’s really not the starry-eyed type; in fact, she’s generally on guard in her relationships—in part because that’s who she is, but also because we’ve encouraged her to be mindful of her own hopes just as much as other people’s motivations. I was perhaps a bit overbearing on that count—she once begged me to let her enjoy her illusions while she was still young and innocent!

Still, she knows better. Last night, she confessed to falling in love. “It’s crazy,” she said. “We’re crazy. We both feel that way, and we haven’t even known each other a month. That’s not possible is it? I mean, it can’t be real, can it?”

Obviously, her feelings are real. We tell her so. Our concern is that she doesn’t jump from this fact to the belief that this love will last forever. Of course, it might; plus they’d be crazy not to want that—after all, they’re risking their hearts. Still, chemistry is volatile; they’re better off avoiding interpretations about ‘what it all means’ and enjoying the moment. Apart from avoiding complications, it enhances the experience and the focus one brings to it.

Mindfulness is so useful—it cultivates letting go of compelling thoughts and staying with what we know. We all gravitate towards what we want, and speculating about that usually means thinking wishfully. Hopes and dreams beg to be believed in; it takes skill to keep letting them go, but to the extent I’ve been able to do that I’ve found myself more able to follow my gut, sidestep my fantasies and trust myself.

Melanie’s made a good start on these mental factors, and her new boyfriend seems to be of like mind. If that’s part of their chemistry, they’re off to a good start. We found out that he plans to run for public office one day. Lord knows, we need leaders with ethics and clear-headedness. He believes that that career path “holds the greatest potential to effect positive change for the most people.” Let’s hope he pursues both his personal and his public life with discernment and a clear head.

Author: Stephen Schettini

Host of The Naked Monk

5 thoughts on “Hope”

  1. Hi Stephen,

    I would watch out for this new boyfriend, as anyone who wants to run for office is either a dreamer or a very cunning person.

    I think change is only attainable by putting pressure on the system. Either by lobbying or showing our elected officials that if they don’t do what we want we will not vote for them (petition or blogs). It’s blackmail to be sure but it works.

    It’s pretty obvious that I have no children of my own….. :O)

    Good luck.

    PS will you be able to know if he reads your blog to gain your favor ????

    1. Eric: It’s easy to be skeptical of big government and even bigger business, but I I think there’s still hope for the human spirit. It’s pretty limiting to define people merely by their abilities to dream or strategize. I came to my present path via politics (revolutionary, not parliamentary) and although I ended up walking out on my ‘comrades,’ it was nevertheless a hugely important step in my understanding of freedom. As for Melanie, she doesn’t need us to tell her what to do. She asks, but we tend to throw it back on her; it’s made her highly discriminating and independent.

  2. You are right that we cannot define people but I think we can define people if they do not change or are not willing to change in the face of facts. Your daughter’s boyfriend has the advantage of being “new” or a novice to the reality of politics. If he is surrounded by people who will advise him and tell him the truth, then he will become more aware of how things work.

    Frank Zappa had the same approach to his kid’s brush with religion. Make your mind up if you want to join or not, it’s your decision.

    As for your comrades, with what’s happening with the financial mess we are in, they might have had a point. True some, if not most, were too radical and not media savvy to get their message through (think of Marx’s beard….hahaha) but right now it would be hard to argue on some of their basic tenets.

    See you thursday….

  3. Marx critiqued capital very well, but his only alternative was a dreamy utopia-nightmare.

    “…democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” —Churchill

    Back to the point: you seem to have formed a firm view of Melanie’s boyfriend without ever having met him. How does that jive with non-judgemental, curious, present-moment awareness? Mindful reflection that only applies to some aspects of consciousness will get you nowhere.

    “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” —Churchill

  4. Yeah I know, but at that age isn’t politics the last thing on a teenager’s mind ????

    In my youth it was music and chicks, sometimes the order was reversed….

    As for being a closet communist, I am not. It has done more overt problems than the covert ones capitalism has done. But that’s another discussion.

    I wish Melanie all the best and to her boyfriend too, do I know him ? No and I do not stalk the local high school…hahaha

    But I think I’ve been skeptical quite a bit now. And it is very difficult to change or better yet transform after all these years. Being in your classes has brought a new dimension of thought and awareness. But old habits are hard to overcome. But we try and in the end, that’s sometimes good enough.

    Maybe if I had mindful reflection in school, I would be more mindful in life and who knows what that would have done….

    It’s something to think about.

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