The Dominic Cummings Controversy - A Mindful Reflection

It always seems like such a big deal. A controversy grabs the headlines and the story can continue for days, even weeks. We get caught up in it. We talk over the newsreader on the television to express our anger, sarcasm, and pessimism with our spouse, parents, children, whoever happens to be in the room with us, whether they want to hear our opinions or not. In the midst of the pandemic we do the same virtually on Zoom, Messenger or whatever method you use.

It makes us feel angry. It makes us feel betrayed. It makes us feel there's no one in power we can trust. It makes us feel that, always, there's one rule for some, and another rule for the rest of us.

Or, if we are a supporter of the person or the events, we feel angry at those who argue that what was done was plain wrong. Or we mock such people, calling them idiots, snowflakes, or other belittling names.

Eventually, sooner or later, the story disappears from the news and from the forefront of our minds, to be replaced by whatever news item is now deemed more topical and important. The once-huge story recedes into our ever-growing memory bank of distant scandals, resignations, controversies, and let-downs by those we hoped would lead us well.

So what was it all for, then? I don't mean the Dominic Cummings controversy. I'm thinking of our reactions and responses to it.

How many never-to-be-regained moments did you spend watching the story? How many never-to-be-regained moments did you spend discussing the story with family? When you come close to your own final demise will you look back and say it was good use of your precious time to dwell as much as you did on that news story? I doubt it.

Life is precious. Priceless. And it's made up solely of moments. Once gone, a moment is gone forever.

The logical conclusion to this fact is to use our moments as well as we possibly can.

It's sunny outside as I write this. I stopped writing this for a minute or so to look at the beauty of the trees, the mix of blue sky and white clouds, the big rocks and the tall grasses in our front garden.

How does the Dominic Cummings episode compare to the view I have? It's nothing. A non-story. A non-starter, and an utter irrelevance in my life.

Some people might argue that this is an important political matter, and political issues should be our concern. I agree. I have been active in politics myself. But practically, you either do something about the issue - write to your MP, you may even start a new political party or (hopefully non-violent) revolutionary organisation to topple the "elite".

Or you don't do something about it. Generally speaking it takes someone about two minutes to decide if a political person is guilty or not. It doesn't require endless discussions or watching the news for hours, nor does it require anger or rage. You can just do something, or not. If you choose not to do something about it, then it would be wise to expend no more of your precious life on the matter.

Social media is a particularly horrific place to venture into when matters like this controversy are in the news. Your precious moments will be gobbled up by the thousands. Your potential peace of mind - available to you at any time with practice - vanishes in the quicksand of bile and counter-arguments.

Meanwhile outside your house it's still a day to be loved and lived and enjoyed. Inside your house there are hundreds of practical or fascinating things to be done, to be enjoyed, to engross yourself in.

We must learn to manage our moments. To manage our minds. We should try to not let distractions like the Dominic Cummings affair enter into our precious mental space. Note it if you're interested. Decide quickly and calmly. Do something about it or choose not to. Then drop it forever from your life.

There should be a new political slogan once lockdown ends: Protect your Mind. Save Moments.


© 2019 by Martin Stepek.