Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quotes

These are some quotes that help me in particular. I would say the first three quotes are the things I have a hard time with most in my life. But I have been working to better myself, love myself, and know it is all very worth it.

  • You are not responsible for making other people's lives work; they are.
  • You don't need to change yourself; you only need to love yourself.
  • Give all the people in your life permission to be who they are. As you do, you increase your ability to love and accept yourself just as you are.

-Sanaya Roman, Spiritual Growth: Being Your Higher Self

  • Love and accept who you are, not who you will or should be.
  • Do not feel responsible for everyone's happiness. Only they can choose it, you cannot choose it for them.
  • Compassion is the ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes.

-Sanaya Roman, Personal Power through Awareness

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

am i who i think i am?

There are some pages from Being Nobody, Going Nowhere by Ayya Khema that are really speaking to me right now. I would like to type up all three pages but that would be rather cumbersome and possibly infringe on some sort of copyrights. It is difficult to decide which small part to quote but I think this is a good start:

Insight into the constant flux and flow of all phenomena, including ourselves, brings the understanding that there's nothing in this world worth keeping, worth holding on to. Insight releases one from that resistance to other people's viewpoints that can make life so immensely difficult. Other people have other viewpoints. The only answer to that is: "May they live long and happily." Attachment to one's own viewpoint only shows that one hasn't yet grasped impermanence. When one sees constant change in everything, so that one can never really say, "I am this," then a first breakthrough into depth perception happens.

Chapter 9, page 112.
The a large chunk of the sub-chapter The Happiness of Insight, from which this excerpt was taken, discusses how there is no permanent "self." Just like how emotionally we are not always giddy, sad, angry, lonely, the same goes for the how we see ourselves & the viewpoint we have at that moment. In high school I was what you may consider a Republican. I didn't think immigrants from Mexico deserved any sort of rights. I thought ethnicity had nothing to do with a person's current class status. I thought America was the shit and everyone else should back off. My worst folly was that after September 11, 2001, the beginning of my senior year in high school, I was proud that I had already had a prejudice against Muslims before it became a popular prejudice. My aunt had dated someone of that religion who was really bad for her, and so I just ignorantly lumped everyone of that religion together as chauvinist pigs.

But now I am the polar opposite in my viewpoint. I changed. And I am only now starting to not regret thinking what I did in high school. It allows me to better put myself in the shoes of someone else who may think like I used to. My husband has a harder time doing that because he has always, since a child, strongly believed that everyone of every sex, ethnicity, religion and age is equal. He also has always had an analytical mind so that he could see right away that our history effects where we are today, and could see why circumstances of 50, 100, 200 years ago would effect the status of certain ethic groups today. Through him I can better see how what I went through in high school has its positive advantages as well.

So from my own experience of having made radical changes in my viewpoint, I can understand a little easier that our self, our soul, is not defined by our ever changing viewpoint. For all I know, I may read something tomorrow that may sway me to be the most hardcore free market, capitalist in California. I couldn't say that the new Lea is the real Lea, and the high school, college and post-college Lea weren't me. But if I know that the next week or decade I may change again, then what's to say the current viewpoint I hold is Lea. If I do think my viewpoint defines myself, then, as Ayya points out, that means I am a million different Leas all piled atop each other since birth.

Ayya states if you choose "to be that many different people, life becomes even more complicated than if we were none of them. How about choosing to be none of them?"

Ayya best sums up the discussion with this:

This insight is very threatening to our ego concept. Why is that? Because "I" want to be! To be what? To be whom? To be where? For what reason? All are viewpoints, conditioned through our thinking processes. The happiness that arises when one lets go of all that, is the happiness that is embedded in acceptance and peacefulness. Nothing needs to be achieved, accomplished, or changed. All is as it is.

Chapter 9, page 113.
The last two lines link back to the broader Buddhist concept, and are a bit harder to swallow. But it is very relevant to our concept of self as well. It also links back to my post "a perfect misunderstanding."

Lastly, since starting to take up this mode of thinking and not defining myself with my viewpoint, it has made it less difficult to not define others by their viewpoints. And oh my, how easy it is to define others by the viewpoint you don't like. I have a few specific people in my life where I honestly can't have a conversation with them but, because they are family, I must see occasionally. It is definitely a learning exercise trying not to judge and hold that person in contempt. A welcome and needed exercise nonetheless, otherwise I would never interact with anyone I didn't agree with.

Friday, September 5, 2008

the good morning experiement part deux

I've been riding my bicycle earlier in the mornings now so there aren't as many people walking and I'm zooming by a bit too fast to say "Good morning" to people.  But I managed to wish a few people (cycler & pedestirans) just that this morning despite my bike.  Really, everyone else initiated the good morning except one.  I even had one lady who was walking her dog initiate a wave and good morning as I was riding towards her.  That compelled me to wish the other guy further up on the bridge a good morning.  I was wondering at first why she wanted to greet me, but then remembered I was smiling (probably like some crazed but happy lunatic) which usually invites others to share in your merriness.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

rollercoaster in emoland

Last night was a doozy.  My husband and I got into a disagreement over money (of all things) and had some unhelpful misunderstandings (where I was trying to help at one point and he thought I was antagonizing him).  At one point while we were discussing something, and he said he didn't even know why I was acting a certain way, I realized that I didn't know why either.  At that moment when I realized that, I just felt blank.  Empty.  I had no thoughts on the matter but confusion at me being blank.  That didn't help much either.  

Later, there was a period of time where he was by himself in the bedroom and I in the living room with only my insane thoughts swarming my mind.  Whenever there is some sort of tension or heated discussion that results in me crying, I usually place blame and burden upon myself.  It's unwarrented and quite ridiculous, but my emotions (when feeling down) tend to snowball into a huge, negative "I'm a horrible person who is driving my husband crazy and will eventually lose him because of my stupidity!!!" catastrophe.  Except now I at least recognize what I am doing when in this stage, and eventually try to tell myself to stop these untrue thoughts, that I am not a horrible person, that Aaron loves me no matter what.

After said unpleasantness passed (as all things do), we had a very loving and intimate day today where we talked all evening and made a pact to spend more time together (not just being in the same room, but doing activities that really involve each other).  I am glad that this came out of the ride I took through Emoland last night.

And this is just me putting out there that by no means am I where I'd like to be one day mentally, but there is progress.  I still have my moments where my emotions freak out like anyone else.  But I am also trying to practice mindfulness of these emotions that like to parade around as myself, but really just like to manipulate me into self-destructive actions.  Not that all emotions do that, just the ones I have most trouble with.

Ah, the joys of learning :)

Monday, September 1, 2008

the fountain

I sit here feeling. The feelings are not tangible beyond my body. They course through me, and through billions of other people. They are not objects of mass that a person can pick up & touch, but they are the basis for which many people act out their lives, creating and destroying objects, feeling high and feeling low and passing it unto others.

Sometimes, sometimes doing it before I realize that I am, I imagine the wide array of feelings people go through. I imagine as many scenarios happening in people's lives this very moment, or collectively from the beginning of human history to now. I really try to feel what others are feeling. The odd yet amazing part is it truly feels as though what I feel is what other people were or are feeling. Or when I start to feel a glimpse of new feelings, I can only imagine that someone else felt the same thing, multiplied by 10 or 100.

I prefer when I imagine the collective feelings of our planet. So much pain, so much beauty, beauty in the struggle for happiness, pain in the confusion of the paths people are taking. It's overwhelming & wondrous & utterly, blindingly beautiful. It always moves me to tears and keeps me afloat.

The beauty, the beauty, the blinding beauty of what we all are, were and ever will be.

[inspired by a top ten favorite movie of mine: The Fountain]