Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Attatched to the Outcome

Well one of the lovely things I got to do while away was read the latest Amy Tan book, Saving Fish from Drowning. I quite enjoyed it. Her narrator is a dead woman and it's an interesting tale about how the book came about as well. Her narrator talks several times about American Buddhism and how those people are those who just think it's okay not to care because, of course, we need to detach from the outcome.

I think there is a fair bit of that among people like myself who sort of dabble. Perhaps even amongst those who go farther than dabbling. It's a tough balance to care but not be attatched.

I have an issue with the concept of saying that to be unattached to the outcome means that you don't care. That thinking can lead down the road of do nothing because nothing matters anyway. It doesn't allow any room for passion either and that doesn't seem right.

The example is that if an injured person comes into the ER, the doctor does the action--the working on the patient. They use all their knowledge and understanding of the human body and the injuries and apply it to this case and use the best treatment that they can as a doctor, given the circumstances they are in. However, the doctor can't be attached to having the patient survive. Some injuries are just too great and nothing we do can save the patient. We are only human, not gods. For his or her own sanity, the doctors in these situations MUST let go of the outcome because otherwise they would be overwhelmed with the futulity of healing.

What it doesn't mean is giving up on acting. I think when we are so attached to the outcome in any situation, we end up with that same sense of futility and think why should we even try or bother? What I think is that it's the action that counts. It counts that doing your best and acting in the best way you can is what counts, not the outcome.

Failure is not the outcome of the action. Failure is not acting on the desire and acting on it in a way creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Next time we are faced with thinking we'd like to do something but then think we can't, maybe we should look at what we might accomplish if we even set out down that path. Who knows what we might learn? We might never get to the outcome we envisioned and thought we couldn't do but our actions might take us to new and wonderful places leading us to envision outcomes we never would have dreamed of.


Blogger Andrea Rusin said...

Excellent point!

9:11 AM  

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