Friday, October 31, 2014

Being Good To All.

"Being nice is an overrated experience to people who don’t deserve it.”
We should never be ‘good’ with the expectation of extracting something for being so. Simply because someone is mean or vicious, does not mean we should be cruel in return. This does not mean we don’t respond, and at appropriate times, with great vigor. However, being cruel or vicious, simply to ‘vent’ our personal frustration, anger or rage, compounds the pain and suffering, not just for the other vicious party, but for ourselves as well. We are watering our own seeds of self-destruction when we act with such disregard for others

Vicious people do not become vicious all on their own. Barring some genetic abnormality that damages the amygdala , for instance, human beings are not born as vicious, angry and without regret creatures. We are taught and trained to behave in that destructive way. People that have the misfortune of leading a life that has led to these destructive acts absolutely deserve both compassion and understanding. There is much that we can do to at least not add to their suffering and to ours simultaneously.

There is much more that we can actively do to help others. Sometimes, it is as simple as saying kind words. Other times, performing thoughtful actions can make a difference. With most in modern day society, the damage is severe and has been ongoing for a sustained period of time. This requires a strategy designed and set in motion over a prolonged and sustained period that is flexible to changing conditions and variables. A person must be willing and able to opt in at an early stage of development of this strategy for this approach to be successful. Others we encounter maybe running on autopilot. It doesn’t matter what we say or do, how we behave or act unless we wake them up. Sometimes, using the mirror approach can be useful to break them out of their automatic state.

If we consider these options after we encounter people that have ‘hurt’ us, it gives us an opportunity to contemplate how to benefit their well-being. Many may bristle at the thought of those that ‘hurt’ us deserving something seemingly worthwhile. Others depict compassion and understanding as pity. People appropriate these dualistic labels (positive, negative) to words that are either not easy to comprehend or to disregard and categorize these as to not be bothered to think. It’s fairly simple to have compassion for someone with an obvious physical injury. Not many people make fun of a one-armed man for having one arm to his face. Internal injuries, however, aren’t obvious at all. These emotional and mental injuries are far less likely to generate compassion or understanding without direct intention and mental effort.

We attempt to generate understanding for people by actively trying to ascertain why and how they behave in the way in which they do. This can be very difficult in the moment, but as we review situations and our reactions to people in those situations, we have increasing opportunities to not simply react to someone’s behavior but be more active to disrupt the negative programming, to disrupt the hatred and hostility of others, to even save ourselves in the midst of a criminal act.

If you have been a ‘victim’ of a crime, this can assist you in understanding the broader context of the crime. Otherwise, the crime is only about you, and you must understand that you are not to blame. We can only reach for a broader context, of course, only after we are out of harm’s way. Certainly, if our welfare or the welfare of others is actively and presently being threatened, we must act accordingly. 

Yes, it is not the perpetrators’ fault what they’ve become. It is not their fault, but it is their responsibility. This is a subtle difference, but it is an important distinction. However, it is their responsibility how they behave and for healing their initial internal damage and the lingering damages from all of their damaging behaviors over all of these years.

(There are some people, though, that are incapable of helping themselves. They are too much a danger to themselves and to others. The pain and suffering is just too great within them and that they have caused others.  Those cases are special, and not something that we can handle on our own. That is why we have hospitals, police and judicial systems. Here, we’re discussing those people that can potentially help themselves.)

We should be good to others because it simply is the best option available to us, not because we get a great Zagat score or pass the state board of health inspection. Allow your mind to refute that statement by answering the question: How would being good to others NOT be the best option for us? Everyone should answer that question. Don’t simply accept that doing ‘good’ to others is the better option, we must believe it. Otherwise, we’re continuing the approach that has fed our ignorance for most of our lives. Challenge your assumptions. Challenge others' assumptions.

By thinking of others, (specifically, how to better relate with them, how to make their lives easier, how  to soothe their pain and ease their suffering) we have to actively engage our mind into not only what we’re doing throughout our day but how and why we’re doing what it is we’re doing. Consider the number of people we simply walk by every day that we don’t even acknowledge, not verbally, but even with any awareness whatsoever.

This is truly a transformative effort to embark upon if we’re serious about this endeavour. We must be careful to be serious but to take that seriousness very lightly. Lightly is in how we enforce the application of that seriousness. That may seem contradictory, but it is not. Seriousness implies intent. We take this seriousness lightly because we do not want to be abusive toward ourselves or apply punishment or reward for any of our outcomes. We want to break away from the notion of expectations, which set others and ourselves up for failure. If we’re serious, we’ll keep at it regardless of our mistakes and missteps as well as our rewards and accolades. This doesn’t negate our outcomes, but it negates abusing ourselves for those outcomes or resting in the laurels and the medals. We learn and grow, not abuse and cower.

We’ll be keeping track of our successes, our ideas and hypotheses, make bold attempts or minor experiments to see what happens. If we’re so focused on what we want out of all that we do, we open ourselves to skewing the results, losing our objectivity and ultimately spreading our own ignorant views back into every aspect of our own daily lives. This is what we’re trying to be rid of after all.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Screw Doubt, the Status Quo and Suffering

There can be no doubt while being present and aware. Doubt is an internal process that obstructs our awareness. We can only hope to open up to our innate awareness when we’re completely present. And, it is our presence and awareness that frees us from the shackles of our ignorance

We have to be okay with being mistaken, as it is the only pathway to being rid of it. Truth isn’t something we can ever learn; it is something we already are. What we must learn is to trust in our innate awareness once again.

Despite the potential for mistakes, which will absolutely happen, we have to let go of being right as much as we have to let go of others being wrong. It is our unwillingness to broaden our understanding and being curious of alternative perspectives that strengthens division and derision, first with ourselves but with others as well.

We can only ask to do more with each and every moment. This begins with ourselves and extends to our surroundings, ultimately spreading to others. Reverberations and reactions should be expected as part of the cause and effect nature of reality. However, if we maintain our presence and awareness, we will be able to learn, adapt and broaden our understanding in these aftereffect moments.

Removing doubt with the intention of expanding awareness and ridding ignorance is a very empowering and potentially transformative endeavor. We take this as lightly as we do seriously. None of what we do is to abuse ourselves or others. Our intensity and passion are wonderful and powerful motivating forces. Use this as momentum when the world becomes static or resistant.

The world is often a mirror of our self. If the reaction we’re experiencing from the world is creating unbelievable frustration and anger within us, this is usually a sign that we’ve become static and resistant. When this inevitably happens, “they just don’t get it!” seems to apply and anger begins to boil, this is the time to remember we take this as lightly as we do seriously.

Challenging our own status quo is very difficult. When we do that, we’re also challenging the status quo of everyone that is in our life. We must have patience for ourselves and for everyone else during such upheaval. When we do, it’s ok. When others do, that’s ok too.

If we continue to make the most of each moment, we will encounter difficulty. If we don’t, we will encounter difficulty as well. The only difference is our effort and willingness to adapt and learn. If we’re attempting to broaden our understanding, we at least have an opportunity to decrease our suffering moving forward. That seems worth the effort.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Out of Wasted Time

"When you think time is something that can be wasted, you'll always be out of it."

We just put our best mental and emotional 'feet' forward in all our interactions with everyone in every day. Screw thinking what we will get out of it. If everything we do is always about what we ultimately get out of it, doesn't that set up the worst dynamic between us and everyone else?