“The way life treats you is a merciless mirror image of your attitude toward life.” -Unknown
Attitude is colored by our feelings. Thus, what we feel is reflected back at us. Many believe that thoughts are the origin of what Life will give us back, thus the following quote:
“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” – Ernest Holmes
What is harder to change, a thought or a feeling? I could think about something in a negative way and change it into a positive thought. That is the premise of “positive thinking.” However, when we feel for or against something with a certain degree of intensity, that will not be easy to change. Our attitude is emotional, feeling based first which is then cemented by thought and then expressed through words and behaviors.
“Reflection is the business of man; a sense of his state is his first duty: but who remembereth himself in joy? Is it not in mercy then that sorrow is allotted unto us?” – William Shakespeare
When we have an idea or an opinion formed as a result of meditation, we say that we are reflecting. However if our psychological stage or emotions are not harmonious, our reflection will be inaccurate. Harmony may be described as joy, but the point is to observe that as we are aligned with disharmony, then that will be the reflection back at us. We could experience the consequence of acting based on an inaccurate perception/reflection as sorrow; which is the way Life reminds us to change.
“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” – Thomas Merton
The “other” is a reflection to show us what we like and dislike about ourselves. Thus, when we allow others to be as they are, we are also that openness. Love starts there. To accommodate another to fit our perception of likes and dislikes only reflects our own narcissistic egotism. There is no love there, but another opportunity to look at ourselves and hopefully, change.
*** Will resume writing on December 16th. Until then!!
“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” – Khalil Gibran
The word “responsibility” brings some heaviness in the way of explaining a relationship based on care and appreciation of someone uniqueness, thus the word “sweet” is used. However, there is responsibility of not crossing boundaries, if our ideal of friendship is to take advantage of the goodwill of another for our own purposes.
“Friendship is the purest love.” – Osho
Whenever there is care and appreciation of someone’s uniqueness for the sake of it, then without a doubt there is the purest love. As we add conditions and “small letters” to a relation with another then, the magic goes away.
“There are big ships and small ships. But the best ship of all is friendship.” – Unknown
Friendship may be the only ship which is meant to go to unknown, meaningful waters as long as there are no captains navigating the ship.
In most of our civilized world, the use of words has utmost importance. Although words are only instruments, signals to communicate we have been conditioned to believe that a word has consistency in itself. The word is the thing, for all practical purposes. If I talk about “God,” every person has a different meaning in their head of that word, but yet their own belief, their own conditioning will filter and accept the words I use or reject them based on their view upon that word. Very seldom we realize that perhaps we have used the same word but with different meanings.
“So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with.”
Words cannot describe the indescribable. Words as they are in many languages are the invention of a dualistic mind. Their view and perception will lead an unaware individual to perceive only separation, antagonism and conflict.
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
As words intensify their confusion as they add up in sentences, less is better.
“Words may show a man’s wit, but actions his meaning.”
In our society, most have decided to select pretty and witty words given by politicians and entertainers over their word’s meaning, that is their actual actions.
“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” – Rumi
For most individuals, a goodbye is experienced as the end; bringing sorrow in the discovery that something unique is missing in their lives. We are all ‘tourists’ in Life, sharing a moment with someone who could touch our journey into the next moment. Love from the heart is a type of consciousness, which could take us beyond the sense of individuality and its fears. Only in the perception of individuality we meet attachment, neediness and label those many times as love. However, beyond that perception there is completeness in feeling, in BEING even though someone may be missing in our lives.
“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” – Lao Tzu
There is no Life without Death, thus it follows; there is no Death without Life. That ‘line’ is truly a circle after all.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” – Mark Twain
When we fear one side of a coin, fear will also be for the other side, for a side of a coin cannot exist without being the whole coin. Living fully is not a bag of ideas, thrills, or behaviors. Living fully is known by those who love fully with their heart and soul. Truly, that is not a “preparation to die” which is the idea generated by a stoic mind, but a gift received by those who perceive Life from the heart.
“Death is a word, and it is the word, the image, that creates fear.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
The ones reading these words will not meet his own death. It will be “someone else.” As Life is change, so ‘we’ change with it. For many, the idea of death becomes more acceptable in their old age. Fear does not remain the same. We cannot fear the unknown (Death) but the idea of losing that which has been known. Therefore, Death is simply a word to fear until we meet the reality of it. Paradoxically, there is no fear in the moment of meeting a ‘reality.’ Fear is always there before, in anticipation.
“There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.” –Maya Angelou
If man Z kills man X, the fact is that man X is dead because of man Z’s action. The truth behind that action is what may not be so easy to elucidate. In a war, a man could kill another in the name of freedom, paradoxically; by taking away the freedom of another to live. In this case, the truth behind that action is not necessarily in the one who acts, but in those who promoted that action. In the case where death happens without premeditation, the ultimate truth is in the intention of the perpetrator and that answer comes by looking honestly at the feeling of his heart.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The mental “reason” or the immediate perception of the senses are not necessarily the truth in a life changing decision, but the feeling of the heart. Paradoxically, the heart doesn’t make decisions. It follows its truth.
“The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark.
The small truth has words that are clear; the great truth has great silence.” — Rabindranath Tagore
The deeper a truth is, the harder it becomes to put it in words. Thus, many times we take the evidence of the small initial inspection as the whole truth of that which is larger and deeper. That is deceiving.
“In essence, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. True self-esteem and true humility arise out of that realization. In the eyes of the ego, self-esteem and humility are contradictory. In truth, they are one and the same.” — Eckhart Tolle
For centuries man has engaged in a fight with another man to prove his superiority by using race, religion, nationality, etc. as the excuse to fight. The ones conquered and then oppressed experienced in time an inferiority complex. Society has taught us to enhance our self esteem by comparison with another. Religion has tried to offset that value by using humility as the ‘virtue’ meant to truckle to others. When we realize that as humans we are equal in essence, and our personal uniqueness cannot be the element to separate us but rather to unite us, as the common good requires our particular strengths and uniqueness; we may have found the truth that dualistic words are deceitful to show: Those who are truly humble or have self esteem do not practice the concept behind those words. They just ARE.
“A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true.” — Demosthenes
That is the truth of a belief or its own lie, as well.
“We live in a society that wants to label you with a color, sexuality, religion, or ethnicity. It divides us, but it also allows us to find pride in our identity.” – Logan Browning
Identity is the main concern. Most everyone is looking to identify themselves with something greater than themselves, whether that is an ideal or something tangible. Some identify with gender and among that group there is an identification with color of skin. Then, there are further divisions, further ways to label people and in turn, the most oppressed groups will fight back using their recognized “proud” identity as a shield. As our consciousness enhances, we will start peeling the skin of the “onion,” that is all those things which could be perceived with our senses, as we could identify those as external layers protecting an inner core which could give us another identity. To illustrate, if every human being was like a shoe, then divisions will be made regarding colors, shapes, heights, materials, etc. Most individuals are not programmed to look for the common identity, that is of being a shoe; but rather their minds will go into subclasses, sub-groups which will create animosity, separation among them. A “human being,” is the common identity; although there are more universal ways to identify ourselves even beyond that. We may need to “peel the layers of the onion” to find out.
“There is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person. In short, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.” – Pope John Paul II
Through pornography the human identity is objectified to only concentrate on pleasure as a repetitive, addictive sexual arousal. A porn actor/actress is then just a “merchandise” to obtain sexual pleasure from it; not truly a person to relate with. That conditioning will extend to regular human relationships.
Our society sells that “merchandise” legally for huge private profit, as there is a massive addiction to that pleasure. Not need but addiction.
Human sexuality as the outcome of the feeling of love has been distorted into a narrow door of only mental sensual pleasure. That is, the potential of what human sexuality could be when soul, mind and body are connected, has been ridiculed into an addictive mental game. Thus, the pursuit of pleasure becomes the addiction of the mind which is then exploited for profit. The end result is that this addiction will take a person into levels of neediness and dependency which deteriorates his identity as a human being. That person becomes a puppet of society believing he has the ability to choose, when is truly dependent on his regular “fix.”
“According to the prevailing view human sexual life consists essentially in an endeavor to bring one’s own genitals into contact with those of someone of the opposite sex.” ― Sigmund Freud
That is the extent and objective of human relationship by many humans at this time.
“It is the duty of every thoughtful Indian not to marry. In case he is helpless in regard to marriage, he should abstain from sexual intercourse with his wife.” – Mahatma Gandhi
So much for Gandhi’s non-violence. Repression is the messenger of violence.
“I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence.” ―MalcomX
When someone attacks without apparent cause and there is no time to think, the immediate reaction to preserve life is natural intelligence to survive. But when someone expects to be attacked at any time and fear is inside, his action will be violent. That is not intelligence; for who will knowingly put his life at stake in the hands of another? Contrast the above quote with this one by Jose Marti: “An insatiable appetite for glory leads to sacrifice and death, but innate instinct leads to self-preservation and life.”
Angry impotency circulating in ourselves when we cannot change ourselves or another to fit our demands, will be expressed as what we call violence. The history of known humanity could be defined as utmost violence. Reading about the life of Malcom X we could easily observe that violence had surrounded his life experience: A silent witness of violence since childhood.
Understanding and goodwill does not arrive through violent means, but on the contrary the angry impotency to get even at some point by means of revenge, will be the outcome.
Self violence is expressed through repression or even through our perceived need to conform. Guilt or shame could be ways of self violence as well. Those emotions could be confined at one point, but will explode and could be used to hurt another.
The practice of “Non-violence” is another form of violence. Why? I could oppose without physically hurting another, but the intention to become a force against the wish of another force will be there; then, our actions will have that violent shade. We need to observe that a violent man cannot be ‘non-violent.’ It is not just about one action or two of pretending, but violence is in our BEING and will come out in our words, our demeanor, in our thoughts. Life has shown that those who have been violent by using the force of the collective consciousness to obtain their ideals, will have themselves a violent end.
A violent individual does not bring compassion to the world by practicing ‘non-violence.’ That individual needs to acknowledge that violence within and then heal it. As violence is no longer within; whatever he does, will be spared from the pungent smell of violence. Every significant change to change our world, starts within.
“Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” ―Thomas Jefferson
How was it possible for empathy to be out of our system? At what point did we lose our ability to sense and feel someone else’s suffering? How could we talk about love when there is no compassion inside?
A Savage cannot stop being a savage by a new law or the practice of a new fashionable spiritual attitude. A savage has to be able to see himself in the mirror of a relationship with Life. Through that awareness, change could be. Until then, a human being will relentlessly exploit anything he thinks he needs to become “better.’
“Women endure entire lifetimes of these indignities—in the form of catcalls, groping, assault, oppression. These things injure us. They sap our strength. Some of the cuts are so small they’re barely visible. Others are huge and gaping, leaving scars that never heal. Either way, they accumulate. We carry them everywhere, to and from school and work, at home while raising our children, at our places of worship, anytime we try to advance.”― Michelle Obama, Becoming
Violence also exists in the relationship of men and women. The use of physical strength to subdue another is a savage way of relating. When a man uses that biological advantage to subdue, humiliate or degrade another; that man is a complete coward. Unfortunately many societies have supported that cowardice by labeling that as a ‘compliment’ from one gender to another. However, a sexual advance under that circumstance is not a compliment but a lack of respect, for whenever we think of another as an object to satisfy lustful mental desires, we do not care about the person but only about ourselves.
A coward will look for ways to express that violence with those who have no chance to defend themselves. ‘Compliments’ coming from such individuals are merely a show of their own shallowness.
A compliment when accompanied with a legitimate expression of admiration and a notch of elegance will be well received by most.