On blogging and shared thoughts…
Perhaps I presume too much. I sail along as I share my thoughts and assume that if I write it clearly enough, it will be understood. I know better than that. What is clear to one may not be clear to another. So I will try to be clearer.
In the meantime, consider this: Not all of what I study and share is ‘understandable’ in the traditional way of wrapping one’s mine around it. Some, if not all seems to fall into that netherworld of experiencing it. I say ‘netherworld,’ because it is the ‘un’-known and the only way to ‘know’ it is to experience it, feel it.
Our minds would have us demand proof, measure and qualification of these ‘netherworld’ things before giving it them the seal of worthiness of faith. Because the mind thinks it can do that. It believes it can, has to determine what is true, what is not. And it’s not a question of the mind defending itself against something new. The mind is reasonable, it offers the unrealistic rationale that it can find faith – providing the information passes muster.
So, unless you give the mind something that it can ‘know’…ie. relate to in its memory as an identifiable religion or philosophy…..it balks. If you give the mind a truth that is old as the hills but seen from a new perspective and that perspective is either unfamiliar, (or too familiar in that it brings up feelings you’ll do anything to avoid),the mind will disect and measure it down to the last inch and then, ironically, invoke the ‘I don’t know.’
Is it that we don’t know, or that we resist letting ourselves know? (These are dangerous semantics so let me be clear that I think of two kinds of knowing: That which our mind labors to achieve, and that which our being senses, feels, experiences. Now I’m speaking of ‘knowing’ as a feeling experience as in ‘knowing it with our body….which also happens to include the mind. Does that mean the mind feels? Where’s the connection between thought and feeling? Does one come before the other? Or visa versa? (Try to contemplate this question and resist the need to define, come up with an answer, judge in any way the thoughts and feelings that come up. The mind wants to judge. It thinks that’s its job)
I think ‘thoughts’ are our mind’s attempt to understand, and by understanding, control our feelings. Of course, fear is the hardest of the feelings to ‘control.’ Often the best way is at every turn to deny that fear exists in you. Denial is our mind’s greatest weapon of self-defense.
So how do we know when we’re in denial, and not that river in Egypt? There’s only one way.
After all the medicines to relieve stress and/or the pain and disease that come from stress (virtually all), have had their day, no matter how numb or dumb the medicines, intoxicants, mountains of food or guns of power have made us, we are still nagged at by our fear. Sometimes quietly, but always there, eating at the foundations of our mind. If you get really quiet and look at yourself objectively, you can hear it, however faintly…eating.
i have talked repeatedly about our powerlessness to affect our mortality. Again, it’s interesting how many people read ‘fear of helplessness’ as ‘fear of death.’ There’s a difference.
What we fear about death is our inability to ‘know’ it, or understand it.The mind’s idea that ‘knowing’ it provides the fantasy that we can then do something about it. We can have power over it because we ‘know’ it; what it looks like, where it’s located, (Heaven or Hell).
It’s a fantasy because any way you look at it, your mind still doesn’t know anything about death except that it, (your mind) ceases to exist. Or so your mind thinks.
What does this thought of powerlessness to ‘know’ anything about death bring up? Fear. Fear of being helpless.
For that, the great masters, students and teachers throughout history have come up with an answer; a way to use that fear of helplessness to achieve the peace and clarity of Heaven. However, there’s a catch: You have to be able to identify when this fear of helplessness is happening. This is not easy. Our mind has seen to that.
We get angry with ourselves for being helpless, (old examples: caught in a traffic jam and late for an appt….a loved one who is suffering.) and that becomes depression. We seek a sense of ‘power’ in food…have another cupcake. We find that the easiest way to feel powerful is to be more powerful than someone else, (this also translates into knowing more than them, having more than them, making them accept what we believe, controlling them by lying to them, threatening their security, judging them as good or bad, beautiful or ugly, week or strong, right or wrong.)
All of this just to avoid that feeling of helplessness and the fear it induces. We navigate the world with our minds, building, owning, killing, and controlling, but when it comes to an answer to the deepest unknown, the mind fails us. (So we immediately try to do more of the same….and more and more….and hello war, famine, greed, avarice….all those guys.)
Okay. So say that I can get in touch with my helplessness when some guy slams into my car or some phone robot hands up on me, then what?
And we’re right where we should be.
Seeing ourselves in that situation from that place of awareness, our human consciousness that is the same place from where we can choose to acknowledge or human struggle with helplessness. That placc of awareness from where we can acknowledging it, finding compassion for ourselves for our courage and determination, for our yearning to be at peace…to truly ‘know’ in the biblical sense of the word. Then it’s a hop-skip- and a jump to our hearts, to our ability to love ourselves in our struggle, and by extension love others.
In that experience of love, we are feeling our connection to all that is and all that we belong to. It is an anthema to the mind that we have to surrender to being one with everything in order to ‘know’ it; the ‘answer.’………….
…to know,to experience, to feel with your whole being that you are a continuation, not only of the light, sound, and all that exists around you including the air that envelops you, but a continuation of all matter, all thought, all sound that is always in motion, always changing…dying and being reborn eternally…changing.
We can use the ‘power’ of our mind to focus itself from its conscious place, to focus and witness without judging anything as right, wrong, good bad, true or untrue…and experience/feel and know ‘eternal change’ that we are a continuance of along with everything that exists.
Okay…I’ve gone off on this stuff again, but ‘all roads lead to Rome…and no matter how I slice it, bread is bread.
When you meditate on light with your third eye, it’s when you don’t look for the light that the light comes. As does all the creativity and falling in love in our lives. It always comes from left field when you least expect it, or to be more accurate, when your mind least expects it.
By LML, January 26, 2010 @ 9:35 pm
I understand this one. Especially your last point. It’s like, when you can’t seem to solve a problem, so you put in the back of your mind and do something else – and the answer comes to you, plain as day. With my own creativity, I have to stop and let it be instead of trying too hard, and allow what time it takes, to be the time it takes. And it comes.
By xtexan86, January 27, 2010 @ 12:42 am
Ah, a light bulb came on.
During a recent ‘life crisis’, I found myself being pulled into that black abyss of fear, helplessness and dread. After spending many months in this ‘netherworld’ I eventually realized this particular nasty event, although bad, didn’t kill me. It was then I made the decision to not let it steal one more moment of peace, and began to ‘love’ myself again.
It still rears it’s ugly head, when events happen that bring back memories, but I just try to push it back into its black box and go on with the present.
Your question of “Where’s the connection between thought and feeling?” seems similar to my question of “Does the soul reside in the heart or mind?” We tend to feel love, sorrow, joy, and pain in our heart, but once the brain is dead, even though the heart still pumps, ‘we’ are not among the living anymore.
“Classmates”, any answers?
By michaela804, January 27, 2010 @ 3:33 am
Perhaps it is time for me to officially give up. Iwant to undxerstand the concepts being extended to me but even after I read through them three or four times, I am still lost. Maybe I just can’t suspend conscious thought. I’ve never had that problem before. To the contrary I have always been accused of the opposite. Swaying towards the abstrct or the fantastical in the belief that there is more unseen than seen and more depth or power in the human mind that people (being as “young” as we are in terms of the universe and its qualities or its truths) can fathum.
But when I try to process what is being said, I come away feeling dense or just plain stupid, which isn’t usual for me. I am not that good of a writer but love to read, so grabbing hold of new principles or direction of thinking usually comes not hard to me. Even so individual images from the whole make sense to me. I can understand an idea here or an example there, some I can apply or agree with others I can’t. The problem is thw whole picture doesn’t form for me. Iget a series of isolated flashes that don’t quite fit or relate to one another no matter how many times I reread. I’d like to understand or share in the perspective. I feel rather thickheaded when I can’t. No matter how hard I try though, the different pieces don’t fit togetjer somehow.
Maybe some of us are just not equpped to follow or understand this train of thought?
By sagacity, January 27, 2010 @ 4:06 am
On furher contemplation, perhaps it is the notion of “the fear of helplessness/powerlessness” which makes it difficult for me to follow the prescribed train of thought. I,too, find myself able to apply or comprehend individual precepts, yet facing the whole with. Emused incertitude. In terms of that sense of disconnected-”ness” (the underwater-reminiscent sensation of becoming disjointed from something or someone near me) perhaps there is a common or identifiable thread. Could that be the “fear” referenced? There IS that point at which the mind and the body seem separate, at which an individual seems to straddle two worlds, the tangible and the intangible (for instance, that almost incontrovertible sensation of deja vu) in such a way that he or she experiences that feeling of belonging simultaneously to both…and neither…?
By sagacity, January 27, 2010 @ 4:15 am
It is far too early in the morning! Please substitute for “. Emused incertitude” the term “bemused incertitude.” Thank you.
By hilly, January 27, 2010 @ 7:33 am
I’m still pondering the last question.
In the meantime, as some of my friends know, I can never resist a pun. when I saw this:
So how do we know when we’re in denial, and not that river in Egypt?
My immediate response was
“when we are wondering where the Faloukah the oars are!”
(and fingers crossed that you get it!)
By Rach1970, January 27, 2010 @ 7:58 am
Nicely said and I do understand.*g* For me it’s the courage to change through awareness of our fears and the willingness to do so. Change is difficult because intial reactions are human nature, but it can be done! I’m speaking from experience because I’ve done alot of changing and I know now the peace that comes from seeing life in a new perspective. My BFF says “feelings come, feelings go and feelings can be decieving so just do what’s right and feelings will follow”. She tells me this alot!
I do believe in God and I do believe in Heaven. I find personally giving my fears to him helps carry my load. That’s me. My favorite saying is we can all make a difference one step at a time!
Ps In regards to cupcakes – Chocolate comes to mind.*g* Laughter is the best medicine!
By Raffy, January 27, 2010 @ 8:50 am
Along with the fact that our powerlessness in the face of death in my opinion is with us since we lose our connection to what we then
call “unknown”, also couldn’t it be that we have known death(s) already, coming just from a death once we were born on this planet, and it left a memory somewhere within ourselves, maybe a good memory? And we are struggling in order to regain it because it would bring us real peace? But maybe we just need to forget all that is related to it in order to learn to let ourselves slide into the eternal flow of changing, in which lies our belonging to the Universe.
If we were able to experience and then accept this reality of our change… we change at every given moment and constantly perceive our impermanence I think, either we realize it or not… maybe we wouldn’t feel anymore this helplessness in the face of death, it would be just another change. But acceptation is strictly connected to love I think, and till we find out our true love we need this fear.
I agree that our mind can help us only if we (what part of us?…maybe the one which sees us while we are watching ourselves) are able to “use” it in the conscious act of witnessing without judging, so that we can observe our change without that pain inducing our ego to build any kind of barriers in order to escape this experience.
Mind and its process brings fear in our life, and fear leads us to get in touch with our consciousness, but if everything has a meaning why does mind exist if it is such an obstacle in order to experience our belonging to the Everything? Who knows, maybe it is all about “choice” and that “need to forget”. As Paul says … “we have to surrender to being one with everything in order to ‘know’ it; the ‘answer.’” To surrender is a choice after all, because it is an anathema to the mind.
There must be a reason why we have to choose. Maybe we can really know it only once we love unconditionally, from our consciousness. I remember a beautiful Paul’s sentence: “When we love we know why we exist…”
So true I think.
By Linda D, January 27, 2010 @ 8:53 am
Example of feelings by doing what is right: My son stole 100.00 out of my purse – it was rent money – he spent it all. Fear is peaked OMG as powerless sets in I can’t pay my rent. My 1st feeling rage -I am going to throttle him thoroughly, If I approached him in the set mind #1 The first thing that happened to him was great fear because I reacted on my feeling instead of what is right. Now if I had taken a moment to walk away think – meditate about what it is I am going to say to him or do him. I would be approaching him with a different prespective – bring a different set of feelings – not placing fear. There are consequences to our actions. Because I chose to do what is right, #1 walk away – #2 think about what I was going to do him so when I approach him – inpsite of how I am feeling – If I approach him with love and not anger it brings about a positive feelings. End point – he may do it again – he may not change – but If I just do what is right by responding appropriately and by not causing fear it will bring the correct feelings. This he will remember and may in the future bring change. His mind will remember the right response where his heart will be glad he was not throttled. Which brings me to my favorite saying Rachie! Feelings come and feeling go – and feelings can be deceiving – just do what is right and feelings will follow. This is to be applied in all aspects of life – in death of a loved one – in loss of a child – in sickness – in betrayal – in loss of job – in homelessness – in life experiences period. I do speak from severe life trials and from hardships in the past from loss of loved ones – betrayal of those who are suppose to love and protect you Things happened to me that would probably be unspeakable by most and probably most people would not survive – mentally – emotionally. I have the victory over fear and I am a warrior in living a joyous life in spite of lifes circumstances surviving the unthinkable. Linda D
By Christine, January 27, 2010 @ 10:22 am
Your new comments were a nice way to start the day this morning! I do understand when you say that some things; you do have to experience to ‘know’ or to feel it. When you can put your hand on your heart and say to someone ‘I really do understand, and know how you feel’ then you can share that connection, and can support one another.
There have been times in my life, when I have yearned for someone to truly understand what I was feeling. Some situations in life, its like going it alone because no matter how supportive people can be (which we are grateful for) they have not been in that situation themselves, that’s when in my opinion you feel isolated and alone. However, when you find someone who can actually say ” I’ve been there, and things do get better! ” it gives you the strength and most of all the ‘hope’ to continue forward. Sometimes it is easier to say to yourself ‘I don’t know’; sometimes it may be too painful to either remember or try to solve the problems our mind constantly brings up. Over the years I have tried to keep myself busy just to stop myself from sitting and thinking, by reading a book, watching tv, listening to music, whatever just to stop the constant process of thinking. But have you noticed, the more you try to push thoughts out the more the mind wants to think?
Your remark ‘no matter how I slice it bread is bread’ and the denial Egypt line oh they made me smile this morning! Nice to see your humour Paul, my kitchen timer has just gone off so I need to go and finish dinner. With love as always Christine xx
By hilly, January 27, 2010 @ 12:51 pm
Where’s the connection between thought and feeling? Does one come before the other? Or visa versa?
That is the bit that made me really stop in my tracks when I read this through for the first time.
You’ve done it again, Paul…sent my brain wandering off into the wide blue yonder trying to find an answer. And a very nice blue yonder it is too; it’s a peaceful place in my mind in which when I’m lucky I can step back and think.
Here are a few of the clouds (pretty white fluffy clouds, nothing threatening) that floated past while I sat there staring into the back of my mind.
Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? I always answer: ‘depends which way I walk round the market.’
Thought or feeling? Depends on how we define feeling…or how we think we feel?
Which comes first?
Does it matter? If I think, therefore I feel; I’m reflective. If I feel, therefore I think; I’m reactive. I think, therefore I am. But if I do not feel…if you prick me do I not bleed? If you hurt my feelings…I think about it; reflect on it; turn it over and over trying to work out why I’m hurt; did you mean to hurt me or do I just think you did? And if I say you hurt me and you know you didn’t mean to a am I attributing thoughts and feelings to you that are a result of my hurt feelings – my ‘thought’ reaction to what you said or did.
Thoughts can bring pleasure or pain (to keep things simple). Our reactions to our thoughts include feelings; emotions; reactions.
Until surprisingly recently many doctors really believed that very young children (and more especially premature babies) don’t feel pain. Fortunately for the infant population of the hospitals in the countries where this idea took so long to disappear, they’ve realised they were wrong.
A baby’s first experience is ‘feeling’; physical feeling…the texture of the mother’s skin; the sensation of dampness, the sensation of hunger. Pleasurable of painful – the baby has physical feelings.
Take that last phrase again…’pleasurable or painful’ – that implies that the baby can interpret the physical feelings…’interpret’ implies thought.
The baby may not be able to understand the ‘what’ of the sensation but it is feeling…and it’s responses are immediately interpreted by the adults around as an expression of that emotional aspect of feeling. We all know that a baby has different cries for different situations – the ‘I’m hungry’ cry isn’t the same as ‘I’m wet’ etc. But how can we be so sure that the baby doesn’t have the emotional feeling as well as the physical feeling?
So maybe the baby is lying there thinking ‘oh gee I’m hungry.’ ‘oh yuk I wet myself’ and then decides how to cry to express the need for someone to come with the solution.
We can’t ask the baby – it hasn’t learnt to filter the responses we give to the sounds it experiments and use that knowledge to speak; so it can’t tell us.
But the baby has ‘feelings’ at the emotional level too. It reacts to a familiar face, smiles at mom or dad (unless that was just wind!); turns away from unpleasant noise – and turns to sounds it interprets as pleasant (mom or dad’s voice, the musical mobile over the crib etc); it reaches out to touch things that attract its attention and sometimes recoils when the object turns out not to be nice to touch. And all these reactions are also signs of conscious thought ‘I like/don’t like this/that/him/her’.
so full circle…feelings lead to thoughts/thoughts lead to feelings.
Our feelings can betray us.
Our thoughts can save us – or lead us further into trouble.
chicken omelette anyone?
By marly, January 27, 2010 @ 1:02 pm
Thank you so much for trying to be clearer.
I can tell you straight away that it works (for me anyway).
This is exactly what I tried to explain the other night about constructive feedback.
Personally I can’t tell you how relieved I felt when some bloggers had the courage to admit(some more eloquent than others) that they got “lost in translation” sometimes trying to understand your blogs. Eloquent or not, these bloggers managed to give you some constructive feedback and by doing so were more honest and helpful to you than most of us, I dare say.
It inspired me to write a comment about a.o. feedback and to work up enough courage to admit to my own failure of not understanding everything you’re publishing down here. It was probably my lack of self confidence(and shame) that made it so very hard for me to be completely honest about it towards you and everyone else on this “shared thoughts” blog.
At a certain point I realized that by being dishonest I was denying myself the opportunity to learn from you and other bloggers.
I sense that you are a sincere and generous man who’s just trying to share insights that has been of great importance and benefit to you on your journey through life.
Having said that, you deserve to be treated with honesty and respect.
Giving you positive, constructive feedback was/is part of that.
You may be right by saying that perhaps you presume too much.
You’ve been “wrapping” your mind around this stuff for such a long time, while I’m just an “undergraduate” at this, very willing to learn but also very impatient(and yes, some resistance might come into it as well).
Writing about something that’s so obvious and clear to yourself may indeed lead you to assume that it’s as obvious and clear to the rest of the world.
Maybe it’s a bit like using professional jargon…….to outsiders it’s almost a secret code, to insiders using it is almost like second nature to them.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it but if you want to share something that you feel is important to a lot of people and not just to “The happy few” one has to adapt.
God,I really sound like I’m lecturing you……, sorry, it’s the teacher inside of me, I guess.
Excuse me, I’m just babbling…..
Sometimes your choice of words/terms confuse me but not this time.
Indeed, my mind needs “proof”, needs to measure, etc., I realized that last night. After posting my last comment I started asking myself why I have this need for complete understanding of all what I’m reading/experiencing here.
Why is it so hard for me to just let it happen?
Is my eagerness to learn, really the only reason?
“We find that the easiest way to feel powerful is to be more powerful than someone else, (this also translates into knowing more than them,etc.”
Yes, knowledge is very important to me and when I read the above I recognized myself immediately(thank god for the anonymity of the internet!)
Sure, it’s all about enabling myself to hide my fear and insecurity. Part of me knows this very well, part of me simply refuses to feel helpless so I battle on,(sadly(?)I’ve never been able to fool myself 100%, maybe my life would be a lot easier if I could).
Is it strange that I suffer from dreadful migraines since I was a young teen? Sometimes I’m led to believe that my system actually needs these time outs caused by my migraine attacks simply because I’m using up far too much energy to keep on top of my fears.
Anyone out there who recognizes this?
Funny enough, I had a talk this morning with a colleague about my migraines. She’s into meditation and told me that meditating is a very important part of her life .She recommended me to try it as an possible cure for my migraines. I was somewhat surprised and even shocked about my
(spontaneous and unguarded) response ,actually hearing myself explaining to her that I tried but that I can’t seem to be able to sit down and find enough inner peace/rest to meditate because…..I fear that it will bring up feelings that I might want to avoid.
I hardly know this colleague so where did that come from?
Then I come up here and find myself reading this blog of yours about avoiding the fear of helplessness .
Let me get this right:
So, my mind/ego wants me to believe that:”Mar, you can’t meditate, you’re far too restless to do that…” while my subconsciousness(?) knows very well that I’m just fooling myself!
For a control freak like myself it’s hard to accept that my mind is playing these tricks with me…
I guess it’s back to trying to find compassion for myself in order to stop this constant struggle with my own demons.
“It’s when you don’t look for the light that the light comes. As does all the creativity and falling in love in our lives. It always comes from left field when you least expect it, or to be more accurate, when your mind least expects it”.
Thank you for these wise and strengthening words and also thanks for a very valuable and very clear blog!
By Laertes, January 27, 2010 @ 1:03 pm
I would just like to offer a single observation, but although alot has been said about our fear of helplessness of death and how that is really a masquefor rage or anger it seems to me that most people tend to be more afraid of life than of death. Of happiness than of helplessness. Its easier to accept defeat than to build yourself up for success and then fail. It’s less scary to “settle” than to strive. I honestly think that the fear of failure (hoping or dreaming or believing just to have those fine ideals dashed) is so engrained in our thinking especially in this country that we, for all our debates to the contrary, live our lives in terror of loving or living and giving of ourselves because its easier to do without those things than to need them or want them and end up not having them.
By Rike, January 27, 2010 @ 1:06 pm
@hilly – thanks, for the offered “soulfood”, the smile you put on my face (and the chicken omelette *g*)
I’m wrapped up in my thoughts – about the blog of course (and about the painful pain treatment tomorrow morning). Maybe I should copy what you wrote to my palm so that I can read and think it over again to distract myself a little
Honest – you made my day… *g*
By Christine, January 27, 2010 @ 2:22 pm
I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here, but I too have suffered from migraines from being a young child. Isn’t it funny, how the older we get, the more stress we have and in turn the more severe the migraine? Most of my friends are quite calm, they take things in their stride (I admire them for that, as they could learn me a thing or two) I’m the worrier of the group the one who worries enough for everyone (lol) Is being a worrier past down from your parents? like the colour of your eyes etc? Anyway, Stress to migraine is like a match to a cigarette. I’ve often thought about trying meditation but I don’t know if I have that calmness in me! I hope you get some relief from the migraines. Best Wishes, Christine.
By HILDA LIPRACE, January 27, 2010 @ 6:23 pm
Dear Paul little that I can include/understand, the human being always this in a constant search of the being so that I am who I am that I create where I go that I feel that gives to fear, that gives to impotence many questions me that come to our mind .yo I am going to count my experience and my thoughts 11 years ago I realized many thing that the important thing is the love and to pardon since my life always had a hollow in the heart, having a family me to have everything but always feeling that emptiness in the heart I believe in God (Jesus Christ) when accept I it and empese to know it that hollow desaparecio the era the piece the rompecabeza that it lacked today in my life in my heart I can say that I feel peace (not the one of the world) were not finished to the problems but the taking of different form – the death nor fodder in her, vendra and point the important thing is as we passed in this life, this is my truth .soy a human being as I anger any other me… I have my own inner fights, treatment of being one better person every day in these last two years I have vertigo phobia to the places abiertos by a very great stress but as you do not have to GOD in your heart? I have if it but I am human, it does 2 years that nonwork for this reason there since this disease I obtained work in a jail of women where I was in riots, threats with knives and other things but that everything what I have produces my mind – the mind is treacherous takes to you to you limit that never you inmaginas, but thanks to God I have to which clarifies the panorama to me and I who I put all my force to leave ahead (they do not interpret that I say this is thus and point that is the absolute truth) if it is my truth and the good that makes me feel – that light-love-this with me (I say Jesus Christ El Salvador of my soul) as I at the outset said to the human being always this in a constant search of the truth has who it? only that the love is but strong and to pardon to which us they make bad since pardoning my heart it has peace – we are born we lived the life yet what it implies joys sadnesses… the same life and soon the death I have my belief after the death (I say to sleep or partio with the Gentleman) –something that I draw attention in its writing thought and sensation my thought is that they go of the hand that goes no longer together I say to my opinion dire this is my thought – thanks to share its thoughts and to let share ours It blesses it greatly to God blessings for all in this blog thank you very much – Hilda Liporace –of Argentina
By lady800cc, January 27, 2010 @ 8:44 pm
PMG, PamM and Blog Fam,
My contemplation [to think calmly and at length] of the following from PMG’s latest blog:
“…Where’s the connection between thought and feeling? Does one come before the other? Or visa versa? …”
Id doesn’t need permission
- A baby cries when she has a need, she is content at the sound of her mother’s voice
- A toddler angrily snatches a toy he played with and discarded an hour ago, from another child that picked it up.
To empathize or not to empathize, experience is the question
- City of Joy… never saw it; flipping through the channels late one night I stopped at what appeared to be a documentary showing children with guns in a third world country. Then the older child shot the younger child in the foot. I lost my breath, turned off the TV and cried for an hour… and then couldn’t sleep. Two days later, I learned it was a movie
Love, automatic and/or learned
- The first kick in the womb and plans are laid.
- The dog is not totally trained and chews your slippers; but when you come through the door there is nothing more loyal. The vet wants $500, you pay without hesitation.
**Yeah I Ride**
By moncanzuba, January 28, 2010 @ 12:08 am
Dear Mr. Glaser,
You are right about how our minds work: if you can’t touch, meassure, proove, etc. your point does not exist. And this brings me to this situation: when a car accident happens, letting the car upside down and a child gets trapped inside, what makes possible that his mother is capable of turning the car and gets the child safe?. In “normal” condition, this is impossible.
What I am trying to say is that there are inside us mechanisms that NOT ALWAYS respond to our mind because the situation gets beyond its capability to process them. Is IN this point where I agree with you that there is a part of us (very powerful) that we should learn to use more often because is right there, inside us.
I know that most of us were brought up under the idea of “the mind rules” that is ALL in our minds and in my humble opinion, THAT is our biggest trap. Once you start getting rid off it you find your real “power source”, your spirit (yeah … that thing that mind can’t proove).
And if I could not make myself clear enough (remember, english is NOT my first tongue), remember “The Last Samurai” … Tom Cruise unarmed and sourrounded by armed men, and that voice inside his head repeating: “no mind … no mind” … and he defeats them all (I know … is a movie but the example is valid).
Finaly, let me share with you a little part of a beautiful song from the movie “The Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” sang by Lara Fabian:
“Look beyond, where hearts can see.
Dream in peace. Trust of beleaf”
As always … learning and sharing.
Monica (from Argentina)
By Rachelle Banks, January 28, 2010 @ 11:04 am
Hi Christine – I find going for walks, praying and talking to my closest friend helpful to me when I’m feeling worried about something. Deep breathing helps too. Sorry to hear you get migraines as they aren’t fun and I’ve seen it first hand with co-workers and friends who suffer from them.
What Paul has suggested is very helpful in changing the way we react to our fears or fear in helplessness (i.e. stress) and I try living one day a time. Plus I believe there are times we must turn off our minds and think about anything but what’s causing us dismay, even if it’s for a short time “vacation from our troubles”. Troubles don’t go away but once we give our mind rest we are better able to deal with them. The good news is that most of what we worry about is only temporary. I’m no expert but I agree there is probably some shared genetics that shape up our personalties and reactions to stress (fear).
Hope you have a great and don’t mind my two cents my friend.*g*
By Christine, January 28, 2010 @ 11:30 am
I agree with you, you do have to ‘switch off’ if you can, even for a short time. We all have our individual ways of doing it, you have a great way of looking at life my friend!. with love Christine.xx
By HILDA LIPRACE, January 28, 2010 @ 8:09 pm
DEAR PAUL .OTRA VEZ HERE. WHEN YOU SAY THE FEAR TO THE IMPOTENCE TO THE DEATH MY THOUGHT TAKES TO ME TO THE PAST WHERE PERDI MANY DEAR BEINGS AND ONE ASKS HABRA BE SUFFICIENT THE LOVE THAT I GAVE THEM OR TO SEE SUFFER THEM AND NOT BE ABLE TO DO NOTHING ONE AT THOSE MOMENTS FEELS IMPOTENT THAT IS THE FEAR TO SEE TO WHICH IT SUFFERS AND NOT TO BE ABLE TO DO NOTHING – THE HUMAN BEING TENDS TO WANT TO HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL AND WHEN IT OCCURS ACCOUNT THAT IS NOT THEREFORE THE MIND TAKES TO US IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS – WHERE THIS THE CONECCION BETWEEN THE THOUGHT AND THE SENSATION REALLY NOT IT – AN EXAMPLE THAT I HAVE AND NOT IF VALID SERA FOR ALL WRITING. – I SPREAD MY DAUGHTER WAS IN THE HOSPITAL OF CHILDREN COMMUNICATED ME TO THE DOCTORS THAT MY DAUGHTER WAS DYING MY MIND THEN, AS SOMETHING OF LISTENED TO THEM TO DEFENZA FAR THE QUERIA NOT INCLUDE/UNDERSTAND THAT IT WAS WHAT IT WAS HAPPENING BUT AT THE SAME MOMENT THAT SENSATION OF PAIN IMPOTENCE AND THAT TORE TO ME ON THE INSIDE THAT MY PRESSED HEART SENTIA THE THOUGHT AND THE SENSATION WERE TOGETHER WHAT IS THE MECHANISM NOT IT, THEY ARE EXPERIENCES OF LIFE ONE IS ASKED BECAUSE? I ASK SO THAT? THIS MUST BRING AN EDUCATION FOR MY LIFE ALWAYS I ASK SO THAT IN THE PAIN AND THE JOYS, ALWAYS I WANT TO LEARN MAS IN THIS VERY PRETTY SERIOUS LIFE TO HAVE 20 YEARS AND THE TODAY WISDOM, BUT NOT – .LA WISDOM COMES BY LIVING THE LIFE – TO THANKS TO GOD MY DAUGHTER THIS ALIVE ONE WITHOUT SEQUELS. – HABRA BE FAITH .LA HOPE – GOD THAT ESTAA WITH HER – THE DOCTORS WERE PERPLEX DO NOT KNOW WHAT STEP CANNOT UNDERSTAND LIKE MY DAUGHTER THIS ALIVE ONE TO IT – THUS WHO THE THINGS COME AT LEAST WAITS FOR – NOT IF I WERE MYSELF OF APPROPRIATE SUBJECT BUT PARECIO TO LEAVE THIS THOUGHT ME. – I WANT TO LEARN MAS IN THIS LIFE AS YOU WANT ALSO IT – AS SHE SAYS A SONG –HONRRAR THE LIFE –THANKS TO SHARE ITS THOUGHTS IT BLESSES IT TO GOD — STRANGE PAM YOUR THOUGHTS YOU HAVE NOT PUT ANY —HILDA LIPORACE (ARGENTINA)
By Josie, January 29, 2010 @ 7:22 am
I think…I don’t understand very well, cause I don’t know english very well, so it takes me a long time with the dictionary, but I like pretty so much everything I read.
When was little kid I always thought, to dream with something, was need to think so much what you’d like to dream. So I thought so much in Mr Soul and Mr Glaser.
Then, I dreamed, but went so fast. I want sharing it.
I remember I was eating a hot dog, when I saw back of me sitting Glaser, Soul and Fargas.
I said I don’t believe. Why are you here? I eat here!!!
Mr Soul told me: We are normal. We are like everybody. We are like anyone.
Mr Glaser told me: What matter is what has here, and showed heart.
and Mr Fargas said: It is right, girl.
I awaked happy, I thought could dreamed again, and never more I dreamed.
even though I thought these guys so much, never happened again.
Dear Mr Glaser tell me. Do you agree?
The vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.
and who looks outside, dreams? Who looks inside, awakens?
Maybe only this time I have had the so-called lucid dream.
By hilly, January 29, 2010 @ 9:42 am
it’s odd but as I’ve got older my migraines have hit less frequently – but when they do they hit hard most of the time. Sometimes though I think “oh no, I don’t have time for this…” and if I’m quick enough with the medication I make it through the day in a state of something short of zombie (as opposed to flat out in a darkened room). Is this mind over matter, I wonder, or does the fact that I think my refusal to let it take over helps?
My migraines started when I was about 7 and they have never shown any rhyme or reason from why they hit.
I wonder if those of you who have said you get migraines can see any pattern in yours? Stress? – yes. But what kind of stress? emotional? physical?
In my case apart from cider (sob) I can’t think of any food or drink that set them off; but sudden bright light and some smells can do it – including the original* Shocking by Schiaperelli which my mum wore when I was a kid until we understood that it was a trigger.
*the perfume was ‘re-released’ a few years ago but it is not the same…I put it to the migraine test and it failed!
By Rike, January 29, 2010 @ 10:41 am
@Hilly – my daughter is very sensitive when it comes to emotional stress. She reacts very fast and very heavy. There have been times when she almost went unconscious due to the pain. We try to work on it – first of all to get rid of the stuff that can be changed. And yes, she reacts to certain smells as well…
Last year I managed to get my hands on a singing bowl. I’m not deep into meditation, though I would love to know more about it. The sound of this singing bowl is very soothing and it feels good to hear and feel the vibration… Sometimes I try to lay down in my living room with that bowl, making it sing and enjoy some minutes of a bit of a higher sphere
By sagacity, January 29, 2010 @ 11:29 am
In respnse to “marly’s” comments above in honestly expressing and (or) admitting her confusion, I would like to say I respect her courage in admitting so. All too often, I believe (despite being taught as chilfren that the only “dumb” question is the one that is not asked) we all tend to react to confusion or a failure to immediately “get” some new idea as a failing or proof that we are somehow lacking in intelligence. Or worse, we fall into the thinking that by asking questions or voicing an honest difference of opinion, we run the risk of insulting or offending someone we respect. (And, there may be times when that unintentional repercussion might well be the result.) Still, for me personally, when I encounter anyone making the sincere effort to extend information and be understood, my response is that the honesty and courager behind the attempt deserves equally bold honesty in return. Why allow someone to put that much time and energy into his or her “sharing” in vain? Why hide behind profuse flattery as a disguise for misunderstanding when in doing so, you essentially rob the “shareral of the opportunity to be heard? It is true that different people with different personalities will approach situations of that ilk in different ways: some with careful diplomacy or tact, some bluntly with the notion that the direct approach is the best approach, some empirically, some emotionally, some at length, and others with hesitation. The point of the matter is, whether or not one agrees with the WAY another person voices disagreement or bewilderment, without such honest dialogue it is difficult–if not impossible–to reach deeper comprehension or enlightenment. Opinions were offered, Pm Glaser rose to meet the resulting challenge, and it seems as if everyone benefits.
I suppose a lesson to be learned is that to assume another cannot withstand direct or even unforeseen feedback (or even criticism) of his ideals or beliefs is, in essence, to underestimate him (or her) unjustly.
By PamT, January 29, 2010 @ 12:19 pm
First off, many thanks once again for taking the time to expand on your thoughts, Paul.
I haven’t previously given much in the way of consideration to the relationship between thought and feelings. Here’s what happened a couple of mornings ago. As usual, I set out for a long dog walk and, as I walked, I became aware that I was in high spirits and I caught myself thinking along the lines of: “So what’s with the especially upbeat mood today? Not a particularly good day weather-wise, so that can’t be why. Do I have something pleasant planned for later today that’s slipped my mind? Is it because I just spotted that heron taking off from the water?’ It was at this point that the awareness kicked in that my mind was actively attempting to define and rationalise my mood.
A trivial incident, but it occurred to me that this might be demonstrating how the mind indeed feels obliged to build a framework of rationality to encompass feelings and experiences – to make some kind of sense of them (as mine is trying to do now). If we are unfortunate enough to witness or be part of a traumatic event, one that the mind can’t immediately define and make sense of according to its normal set of parameters/experiences, it seems unable to fulfill this part of its duties for a while (“I can’t quite believe what has just happened.”). And we then experience ‘shock’ – an extreme experience of the fear of (and the demonstration of) our helplessness. As Paul has already said, what can be much more difficult is being able to recognise and acknowledge the fear in its less extreme and less obvious forms, as we experience day to day instances of being confronted with our inability to assert control over events. I’m not sure I’m as yet able to find compassion for myself in those situations, but by being aware maybe I’m more than a few steps closer.
Being entirely focused on rationality and closing ourselves off from fully embracing anything else (especially when it cannot be proved or disproved) can be a deeply ingrained modus operandi. I can remember being frequently told by my parents: “Don’t let your heart rule your head.” Of course, we all have to eventually take on board responsibility for our own approach to life, but I wonder whether truly finding our hearts can perhaps be more of a leap of faith and trust for some, courtesy of the mind’s deep and longstanding attachment to what it perceives to be logic (or might that be an ‘excuse’ on my part?). In any event, I do now ‘know’/‘feel’ that a choice is there.
I appreciate your comprehensive explanation, Paul. I agree with another poster, who I think said that we are all coming into this blog from different perspectives, having diverse experiences and varying degrees of familiarity with some of the philosophy which you share (although, of course, we should all be able to relate to the common wants, needs and feelings which humanity shares). In all honesty, there are a few aspects that I’m currently still struggling to connect with; the issue of judgment being a prime one for me at present. The light hasn’t shone on that one just yet (and maybe it won’t), but I am patiently optimistic ……..
By HILDA LIPRACE, January 29, 2010 @ 12:20 pm
that blog difficult east since so many as in others did not enter blog – I see in this thought diverse subjects .realmente I would want to express my thoughts and power to include/understand but of the thoughts of Paul – it is to me difficult not to know English and he translates when it the translator is not the same I must read and read for being able to arm the phrases – in this blog is as if one was being watched in a mirror and often we were scared than we see – the one that really we are what we felt our thoughts our profits and failures are not easy to face what we are, is that want to change and other that reciste all absolutely all we have our human miseries really we want to change? or to hope that the life happens to us through above – treatment every day to learn of the same life, I want to change but and is why I continue to the goal .somos thinking beings with feelings with sensations – the heart says if and the mind or the other way around says always with fear not to fracazar because? we did not risk or if according to the temperament of each .el we do not have it we look for if, the positive our being our humanity – the love is the base of everything, without love nothing we are – this is my thought and my to feel thank you very much GOD BLESSES PAUL TO YOU AND TO ALL OF THIS BLOG Hilda (Argentina)
By PamT, January 29, 2010 @ 12:26 pm
@Michaela. I really hope it won’t be the last time you visit because you often have interesting things to say. I don’t think you’re being dense at all. There are aspects that I’m still struggling to get to grips with as well, but every so often something does pop into my head (when I’m not consciously trying) and it often somehow draws together some of the other strands. Maybe it’s a little like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You don’t think you’re making any inroads – just a few pieces joined together here and there – then suddenly you ‘see’ a connection, are able to click together a few more pieces and another section of the bigger picture is revealed (and so on). Just a theory!
@ Laertes. Your post was interesting.
“…..it seems to me that most people tend to be more afraid of life than of death. Of happiness than of helplessness. Its easier to accept defeat than to build yourself up for success and then fail. It’s less scary to “settle” than to strive.”
I think I understand your point, but isn’t what you’re talking about the ‘fear of failure’? And isn’t this in essence the fear that we will not be able to control the situation to achieve our desired outcome? In other words, the fear of being powerless or helpless? Personally, I don’t think the act of recognising this fear (which is present anyway, whether we acknowledge it or not) necessarily prevents us from ‘striving’. My take on it is that it might mean we have a little more peace in acceptance (and less self-blame for not being able to control) if, regardless of our efforts to influence, the result is not what we fervently wished it would be.
If I have understood him correctly, I don’t think PMG is proposing that ‘the fear of death’ is at the crux. Rather, ‘the fear of powerlessness in the face of mortality’ and how the mind carries this forward into other aspects of life – where, in an effort to overturn this fear of helplessness, it attempts to assert control in all manner of ways and reacts with irritation/anger/frustration, and possibly worse, whenever it is thwarted in its objective.
By michaela804, January 29, 2010 @ 12:43 pm
Thanks to both Marly and Sagacity. In all candor I was about to give up when it came to interaction here. It felt like Paul Glaser had gone out of his way to talk about things that were important to him but was not always getting across the things he wanted to. And I felt bad. I kept thinking that if I took timeout of my day to open up to oither people like that I would want to be told if I wasn’t getting across clearly. I would want someone to tell me if the thoughts I had formed so clearly in my head were not translating well for other people when I tranfromed them to wods on paper (or on the scree in this case). I can’t speak for other folks, but it really burns me up when I get the impression that somebody is just telling me what they think I want to hear. I just can’t help walking away from the exchange feeling as though the person thought I was too stupid or naïve to know that they WERE only telling me what they thought I wanted to hear or thought would make me “feel good.” So it seemed important not to do that to somebody else. And most times I would read these blog postings havng strong beliefs of my own but really interested in thoughts that would add to my thinking. There are always things I can agree or identify with, things that clash or don’t conform with the ones I have fromed in my own life over my own years of experience and some that just seemed a little fuzzy to me. But what you both said is true. If your not truthful enough to tell someone you can’t follow what they are saying the waythey are saying it, you do leave him wasting a lot of time. If they didn’t want to be unserstood, people wouldn’t make the time to explain or share things. Thank you both for reminding us of that. Really. I was beginning to feel like either a fool or a troublemaker for constantly responding, “I don’t get it, I can’t follow, I got lost here, I’m not sure what you mean!” It is good to hear that at least not everyone feels that it is insultin or closed-minded to admit as much.
By michaela804, January 29, 2010 @ 12:47 pm
I missed your post before. Thank you, too.
By Laertes, January 29, 2010 @ 1:31 pm
To Marly, Ms. Sage, and M804:
I was always taught when I was coming up that a sincere criticism is far, far better than an insincere compliment. Sounds to me as if you’re raised to think the same way.
To Pam T.:
I don’t know. I guess the point I was trying to make is that our Western culture especailly tends to uphold death as the ultimate of endings or failings. Or, at least, we are taught to believe that we should. For those of us who were raised with a variety of different cultural backgroundsn thoguh, the very concept of death is really different. Death is not seen as something to bve feared or dreaded. Its a natural and necessary transition in every beings’ overall existence. So, I guess what I am saying is that death does not equal helplessness (or failure) for everybody. Or maybe not all of us are conditioned to believe that death is the ultimate challenge or peril we’ve got to face. So we tend not to give it the same significance. Just a cultural/environmental/social thing. But all of us have no choice but to make decisions about what life is supposed to be or intail. Success. Happiness. Love. Ambition. Wealth. Prosperity. On ans on and on. And so even when we project apprehensions of losing or of failing to accomplish or succeed on “hgelplessness” or “death” that can be habit more than anything else. (Blame it on the boogie!) I’m thinking that death is so much thge unknown and so acceptably feared that its easier to own up to being scare of it than being scared of life. Not getting the most out of your life. Not succeeding the way you think you ought to succeed in life. Or not ever getting the “good things” in life were all told we’re supposed to attain. That we think define us or are expected. Or that seem to come easily to this one or that one when you yourself can’t seem to get it together. So it becomes really easy to fixate on death or powerlessness or helplessness as the fears or enemies because you can pretty confidently trust that other people won’t think you’re a chicken if you do. But to open up and say your scared of being too happy beause being happy might not last or afraid of love because the thing you love might leave or get taken or afraid to go after what you want because you might either find out you aren’t up to the challenge (can’t do it) or can do it only ti find out it isn’t what you expected it to be, those kinds of fears seem sillier somehow. They make you feel weak or timid or cowardly. So why not just throw them all under the more traditional headings when more people are likely ti understand or comisserate with or appreciate that?
By Laertes, January 29, 2010 @ 1:45 pm
By the by, that last comment of mine wasn’t meant as a direct questioning of any specific views but a general observation about the ways people are trained to approach life and death and how we are “supposed to” categorize thm both.
(Although, I would like somebody to explain to me what a “phone robot” is!)
By michaela804, January 29, 2010 @ 2:14 pm
I understand exactly what you mean, even if I hadn’t given it much thought before. In a lot of cases success can be more frightening than failure, having power or infleunce (and with it the ability to misuse or waste them) more terrifying than powerlessness; or being asked to or in a position to somehow “help” much scarier than actual helplessness because it requires more of you or might ask of you more than you are willing to give. That perspectives gives me a great deal to think about.
But, I’m sorry. I don’t know what a phone robot is either! Can’t help you with that one.
By Christine, January 29, 2010 @ 2:58 pm
Just a thought here, I could be a million miles wrong; but could a phone robot be the really annoying system we all call and you get the press 1 for…… or press 2 for and eventually you either run out of battery power or your credit runs out before even getting through! lol happens to me all the time,or they put you on hold then hang up on you! Drives me mad lol.
By sagacity, January 29, 2010 @ 4:01 pm
Laertes (& Michaela),
Your observations are quite compelling–so much so that it seems appropriate to share this example. My eldest sister, being a major “player” in the corporate arena, often lamented her lack of comparable success in personal matters–specifically relationships. After two failed engagements, she (facing her forties) met someone who fulfilled her every requirement. For the first time in her klife, she seemed contented…at peace with herself and her life, not to mention confident in her own self-worth outside the workplace. Ionvariably, however, as time went on and she became happier and more confident, she began to increasingly voice doubts and fears regarding the relationship. Eveb as she would admit the situation and the relationship to be everything she had dreamed of (and more), she began expressing the concern that something SO RIGHT had to be too good to be true. “This just can’t be real!” she would wail in confusion. Afterwards, the rationalizing began. Being nearly twenty-five years older than she, he was probably “too set in his ways” to make a good life partner. Besides, she continued, he had health issues (specifically hypertension and diabetes) which meant he would, I all likelihood, “not last much longer anyway,” thereby leaving her alone. He had an adult son with possible drug-related problems, she added. What marriage could survive that, even if the son lived on the other side of the country. The list of “cons” continued to grow until she could acceptably justify–to herself and her fiance–ending things. And, toi hius credit, he argued and attempted to be supportive for nearly five years before “respecting her wishes.” Recently, the topic of the ill-fated alliance arose between us. My sister quite honestly admitted to me that she had not feared his dying so much as his living. She furthermore confided that she had been even more convinced than he that a marriage between them WOULD, in actuality, have worked. Her “fear,” she admitted, was that it woulld not only have worked but have proven everything she had wanted, needed, or expected…and more. It was this notion that terrified her. What if he had not measured up to her expectations or vice versa? What if she had become so contented with her home life that it diminished her ambitions as an executive? What if finding “the perfect match” meant that she would have had nothing further to strive for? Or rendered her past notions of success as a person as false? Would that mean she had lived the first decades of her adult life in vain? What would that mean in terms of her priorities in life? In the end, she summarized the matter as follows, “I know how to handle loneliness and dissatisfaction, but I have no idea what I would have done with that kind of happiness.”
All in all then, there IS undeniable merit in the notion of getting in touch with that place of one’s helplessness. (Or of seeing ourselves from a position of awareness of human consciousness.) A very decided pitfall, however, is that tendency to all-too-quickly associate our reactions and conclusions with the readily available culprits (such as anger, fear, death, helplessness, etc.) Maybe it is, as you say, easier for the mind, the conscience to attribute reactions or fears with the “accepted” negatives than to face our true perceptions or reactions to those ideas, conditions, or other “things” which we feel should be regarded as pleasant, pleasurable, or positive. Might it be safe to say that “all the creativity and falling in love in our lives” can be, in many ways, far more petrifying than prospects of failure, facing human mortality, frustration, impotence, and rage–no matter how enchanting or enticing (even enriching)we find that light which reveals them? Perhaps, as human beings, consequently, it is oftentimes easier (or does seem somewhat safer) to focus on those things that are acceptably unacceptable than the secret fear of somehow earning, attaining, or being given that for which we have most desperately yearned…? These two viewpoints, after all, are not mutally exclusive but, rather, representative of the same conflicts or contradiction so prevalent a reality in daily human life!
By michaela804, January 29, 2010 @ 4:15 pm
That’s what I eventually concluded, but the image of one of the cyborgs from the original Battlestar Gallactiaa series reaching in to his car and offering its hand as either an alternate to a cellphone or to confiscate a cellphoine as punishment for driving without a handsfree device was much more entertaining.
(PS, Sagacity, as usual you live up to your name.)
By xtexan86, January 29, 2010 @ 4:27 pm
As a continuation of the train of thought in Sagacity’s post, I’ve noticed those times when life is going at an even pace and I have nothing to be worried about for the moment, that I really don’t find myself being completely happy as my mind starts wondering, ‘okay, when’s the next hit going to strike?” It’s not that I don’t feel grateful for those peaceful times, but true to life, things never stay that way for very long.
By Josie, January 29, 2010 @ 6:00 pm
Well, I think understood.
The man in front of impossibilities feels helpless, unable to act, to resolve existing bottlenecks.
Accepting this limit, this really feels powerless.
Rejecting the impossibilities, think something is wrong, is desperate, frightened, threatened, angry or guilty.
thus transforming the experience of impossibilities, the experience of powerlessness in disability, victim, thus filling a complex and non-acceptance.
This experience of failure is what happens when the impotence isn’t accepted.
Speak of impotence is speak about a specific failure
Well, but failure isn’t impotence.
Not accepting impotence, we lose present, we fled to the future or past.
we torn between desire and fear.
So, isn’t need has fear. The impossibilities are always possibilities. Right?:D
By lady800cc, January 29, 2010 @ 8:50 pm
PMG, PamM and BlogFam,
“… For that, the great masters, students and teachers throughout history have come up with an answer; a way to use that fear of helplessness to achieve the peace and clarity of Heaven. However, there’s a catch: You have to be able to identify when this fear of helplessness is happening. This is not easy. Our mind has seen to that…”
Once again… how you go through can be almost as important as what you’re going through. I think that practicing being in tune with your mind, body and emotions can help you recognize sooner when you are out of tune; your spirit can be quieter, more peaceful and your ‘being’ content and serene. When I find myself totally aware of emerging anxiety and fear; it is in that moment that I am able to effect what I do with that emerging anxiety and fear; the result of which can cause a euphoric contentment in the accomplishment of the awareness.
Whereas thought and feeling are like the chicken and the egg, you are right PMG, “ …This is not easy…”
**Yeah I Ride**
By BeckyB, January 29, 2010 @ 9:36 pm
The first comment that I came across tonight is
Laertes, and here is an excerpt of her comment that I particularily agree with
>Its easier to accept defeat than to build yourself up for success and then fail. It’s less scary to “settle” than to strive. I honestly think that the fear of failure (hoping or dreaming or believing just to have those fine ideals dashed) is so engrained in our thinking especially in this country that we, for all our debates to the contrary, live our lives in terror of loving or living and giving of ourselves because its easier to do without those things than to need them or want them and end up not having them. As much as I like to think that not much scares me, the fear of failure and humiliation is something that holds me back, that and if I gain something that I really want, I might lose it. Paul wrote "Where's the connect between thought and feeling"? Are they not one in the same? I am reminded of a quote by Woody Allen – "the heart wants what it wants. There's no logic to those things".
By Laertes, January 29, 2010 @ 10:55 pm
More and more often (it seems to me) people fall in to the habit or trap of believing we all fear the same things, think the same way, or come from the same pool of experiences or background. And that just isn’t the case. To someextent “truth really is relative because so many of us, since were all going to base that “truth” on the information or experiences avalable to us, start out from very different peerspectives than the person next to us.
By fee, January 30, 2010 @ 3:32 am
Laertes, I must agree with that last comment you made. We do all come from different backgrounds and cultures so will have different perspectives and viewpoints.
Paul I find what you are sharing very interesting even if a fair bit of it goes right over my head. Thank you for continuing to share with us.
You have been studying for years whilst others like myself are rank beginners. One day hopefully I shall be able to meditate properly.
As for things happening out of “left field’ I do agree with that. I have found in the past when that when I constantly worried about something ie whether or not I had budgeted correctly and was our money going to last till the next payday. When I worried so much about that it seemed there was never enough though we were always well fed and clothed. Eventually the light dawned and I stopped worrying so much and lo and behold we always had enough and more too spare for extras.
I have since found that it is pointless to worry about what is going to happen as everything usually works out all right in the end. Mind you, that doesn’t stop me as a mother worrying when my adult children are late home at night. I think all parents worry over their children.
Having read through everyone’s blogs I now realise how lucky we are in our family. We may not be well off in the monetary sense but we are lucky enough to have good health. I also agree that stress does seem to be the main factor in causing most of our modern day diseases.
PS I also think that “phone robot” means those awful automated phone systems which drive everyone nuts!! Worst of all are the voice activated ones! They never can understand my Scottish accent so after a few tries of “please repeat” I usually get handed over to a human being.
By moncanzuba, January 30, 2010 @ 5:44 am
“speacking about the devil” (like the Americans say)
Dear People Here,
The variety of different background, cultures and tongues here is exactly the reason why this blog is so interesting. Mr. Glaser shares his experiences from real life. from his art, from his study, and posts them here and we respond to those posts according to our ways of living, thinking, culture, experience, etc.
Personally, I’ve learnt a lot from these colorful perspectives, because everything is valid for me in some point. I may not agree wholehearted with a post, but I always find something useful.
Therefore, I thank everyone here, specially to Mr. Glaser, for your inputs.
Monica (from Argentina)
PD:(I’ve just woke up … big party last night so I hope I cursed no one with my rusty english *lol*)
By Christine, January 30, 2010 @ 3:10 pm
I re-read some of your comments this evening; on a personal point of view, I find it much easier to forgive other’s than to forgive myself. Over the years I have been told that I set my standard’s too high and inevitably set myself up to fail.
Its not that I think I am smarter than anyone else, no, its actually the opposite. I never feel as good as the next person, and basically thats my own insecurities coming through.
The difference is that if a friend of mine makes a mistake, if they try something and fail, I can say ‘you tried you are only human’ but when it comes to me letting myself down I don’t see it that way at all.
Does feeling helpless also include guilt? Do they connect?
In a situation where you have no control, why does your mind refuse to forgive itself for not having the answers? The ‘I should have been able to’, or the ‘why didn’t I see that coming?’ are all in hindsight.
As I said forgiving other’s is so much easier but as for forgiving myself I think that might take some working on!. Thank you for the wise words Paul, I’m still trying to learn!
With love as always, Christine xx
By HILDA LIPRACE, January 31, 2010 @ 12:27 am
LAW THE FAULT, PARDON .BUEN SUBJECT TO TREAT .LA MIND IT BETRAYS AS US IN THIS WE PARDONED OR WE THINK THAT WE PARDONED IT IS NOT SOMETHING OF RESENTMENT IN THE HEART? BECAUSE WE CANNOT REMOVE THE FAULT OF OUR BEING? ……………… HILDA (ARGENTINA)
By Softly, January 31, 2010 @ 2:53 am
Dear Mr. Glaser,
I’ve been on an adventure for the last week, a week where the days were filled with the heavy labor of sorting out an overgrown piece of woodland and the evening filled with silence or the sound of pencil forming sentences on paper.
One story that was sang by the soft scraping sound of pencil meeting paper is of an experience that, if I read you right, ties in with, I quote “….surrender to being one with everything in order to ‘know’ it; the ‘answer.’
A few years back I was walking along the beach, like I so often do, only this time I had this incredible urge to go and dive in. The weather was cloudy and not particularly warm and I didn’t have a bathing suite with me, but the need to go in the water was nagging at me like a small child whining for ice-cream. It wasn’t a busy day on the beach, and with a quick look around I decided to go for it, so I took off my shoes and cloths and waded in. The water was cold and I could feel chicken skin form on my legs, but I braved it and plunged in, head first. When I came up, my breathing was short and sharp and I could feel the waters cold reach my bones, but something in me was happy. I started to swim in an attempt to get warm and in the hope it would help me figure out what I was doing there. After a while I got tired and a bit bored with swimming, I wasn’t that cold anymore and the sun had come out, so I thought; “why not float for a bit”. I turned myself on my back and relaxed. I’ve always loved the water and trust it completely, so as soon as I could feel me and the sea have the right balance, I let go. My ears were under water and just enough of my face above water to breathe comfortably, meanwhile the sun warmed my tummy and I let my arms and legs dangled with the current. A voice without words said “that’s right” and I could feel a smile curl around my lips and I let go some more. Soon I lost the feeling of were I ended and the sea began, I could feel the waves kiss distant shores and warm and cold currents meeting. I could reach into the dark depth of this big water and touch the bottom and feel it stretch itself in all directions and wrap around the earth. At the same time I could see myself floating, without it really being in pictures. I felt completely at ease and could have floated there till this very moment if it hadn’t been for a seagull landing on my belly, the light touch of its feet brought me right back into my human form. The encounter startled both seagull and me. The seagull flew off and I let myself sink into the sea. When I serviced I was laughing so loud that a man, who happened to pass by, stopped and stared, I waved at him and let myself fall back into the sea laughing while a seagull cried it’s soul piercing cry. Without any words I poured my heart out in thanks to the sea and the voiceless voice embraced me with a “you’re welcome”.
A long long time ago a teacher told me: “Learn to recognize moments like these, collect them like the little pearls the are, and soon you will be able to string them together as a priceless jewel called Freedom.”
Grateful for all my adventures and teachers I freely remain forever learning,
By Softly, January 31, 2010 @ 2:58 am
Although it is nice to have a theory, it is only a theory. There is no theory in the world that will replace experience.
Theories are nice to have as a way for mind to make sense of it all and as a way to talk about it with others. It’s good practice to be precise with words when you try to explain something complex. Be clear with what you mean with a words and stick to it. It’s also good practice to feel for the experience behind the words when listening to someone explaining there theory. It is like some one once wrote: ”you can sum up all the words to describe God, then you’ve got a list of all words, but you will not experience God”*
Experience is here and now with every breathe and every heartbeat you can start anew, you just need to choose to do so. There is no need for “it’s to late now” or “but I don’t now how” you are breathing right now aren’t you…., that’s all you need to know.
Experiencing “the answer” or getting past the zebra’s and artichokes, has no form and no rules, there is no right or wrong and it will go as fast or as slow as you need it to go.
“And it took all that time
just to find yourself,
and that’s how long it had to take
and it was well worth every moment”*
So jump on in the water is fine.
Merely plunging around and forever learning,
(*quoted freely, Paul Williams, das Energie)
By Terri, January 31, 2010 @ 2:08 pm
Hi Christine, Reading your words this afternoon made me feel(for the most part} like you were reading my mind. Forgiving yourself takes a lot of practice. I know, I’m still practicing, working at it. Terri
By Christine, January 31, 2010 @ 2:52 pm
Thank you, you know coming on here and talking to other’s is always a positive and refreshing experience. Even if we don’t always agree with one another, we all have our own opinions, we all have our own journey in life to get through. Isn’t it a better journey when you can share it?. I must say a thank you to Paul and Pam for bringing us all together. Best wishes Christine.
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 1, 2010 @ 8:13 am
they excuse if it is not included/understood what I write, English and I do not have myself to find the words correct in Spanish so that it correctly realises it to the translator here in Argentina we spoke a Spanish (Argentine) tries to sensitise me in the correct language Spanish-Dear Paul these blog are very didactic our being we see different points of view, but one learns of the fellow of its form to think, its experiences of life, escribio of the impotence, the love.fear feeling.peim.distresse, to it blames.to pardon, and I see that having different cultures all we are human beings who we own the same feelings, looking for to be a better individual in this life, looking for inner La Paz .hay that to die aI for being able to share difficult but nonimpossible, our mind tend to think about one same one and am where incomprencion is born, the nontolerance there the egoism …… until situation we must arrive to change we will have to touch the depth of our life in an abyss where everything is the dark and it sees itself you have of light where we yearned for to arrive, looking for peace we will get to be peacefully with the same fellow and one .sin resentment, egoism ….. that illuminates us to peace to all GOD BLESSES PAUL TO YOU thank you very much to share its thoughts and feelings – thanks to all in this blog to share— Hilda Liporace (Argentina)
By marly, February 1, 2010 @ 9:01 am
About feeling helpless and being selfish…..
For the past few days I’ve been confronted with feeling utterly helpless and powerless.
Most of that time I felt strangely aware of my reactions towards it, as if I was looking over my own shoulder observing myself…..
If it wasn’t for this blog which has provided me with so many new (and some old) insights I probably would not have been so aware of how my mind is indeed doing its utmost best to avoid feeling helpless or powerless.
Anyway, I felt I should share the following with you, my fellow bloggers.
This weekend my sister arrived unexpectedly at my doorstep.
She was terribly upset and near a nervous breakdown because her lover ended the relationship again(he’s been doing this on and off for months now).
She was happily married(at least, that’s what we all thought…)but last year, in august she admitted that she had fallen in love with her husband’s nephew(I know, it’s almost like a soap drama)They were having a secret relationship since may 2009.
Both families in uproar of course but what can you do? I mean, we all know that love doesn’t always last forever.
The sad thing is that I’ve seen my sister changed from an independent, intelligent woman and dedicated mother to a shadow of her former self. Mentally she’s a wreck, she suffers from terrible mood swings depending on whether the relationship is broken again or mended (again),she’s in dept because she spends all her money on train tickets and hotel rooms while her boyfriend claims to have no money of his own. She is obsessed by this man and every time when he puts an end to the relationship she harasses him by phone , mobile phone, internet , etc. and if that doesn’t work she jumps on the train and travels to him, stalking him at his work or home. She reminds me of a drug addict…….
My sister lives in another part of the country , we hardly see each other and we mainly talk over the phone. For the last couple of months during phone conversations with my sister I felt proud for remaining calm and considered (most of the time…) instead of losing my patience with her. Here I was practicing compassion( or so I thought) and I felt good about myself! At the same time I tried over and over again to talk some sense into my sisters head(trying to help her) but then she would shout “Mind your own business!’ and the phone went down and leaving me feeling helpless, powerless and worried.
Without the (physical) distance of telephone contact, talking face to face to my sister turned out to be so much harder and confronting than I expected it to be…..At first I tried to calm her down and let her do the talking. Her boyfriend, so she told me, had actually hit her when she appeared uninvited at his doorstep that night. She felt sorry for her behavior and blamed herself for being hit. I suggested that the relationship had come to an end by now but my sister stated that she was and forever will be in love with this man. I tried to confront her with the fact that she was liable to lose joint custody over her 2 children if she would continue to sink deeper in debt than she already has. That she would lose everything,etc. I tried it all…from being understanding, confronting, harsh, to being down right furious with her. My sister remained indifferent no matter what I said…….
Was I trying to help my sister? Of course, but most of all I was trying to get rid of the helplessness and powerlessness that were almost too overwhelming to deal with. My mind can’t bear to feel like this. If she had only given me the opportunity to help her, I would have felt so much better ,less helpless and more in power of this rotten situation.
I know this sounds so selfish and it makes me feel rather bad about myself but this is where I should practice compassion for myself, don’t I? After all I’m only human….
I remember a discussion I once had, a long time ago back in college. We were wondering if “selflessness” exists, are human beings even capable of selflessness and what do we actually mean if we use the term “selflessness?”
“Selflessness”, the act of sacrificing one’s own interest for the greater good(Wikipedia)
If my mind’s own interest is to avoid feeling powerless/helpless it will simply refuse to sacrifice that for the greater good…won’t it?
In other words, whatever we do to help someone else, it’s never a completely selfless deed…. or is it?
What do you lot think?
By sagacity, February 1, 2010 @ 10:03 am
I am literally rushing to reach my front door; yet I wanted to make sure someone responded to your questions and doubt. Please pardon me if I am not as lucid as I might ordinarily have been.
Addressing first the question of selfishness vs. selfishness, human beings, like all creatures, are self-centered entities. Self-preservation (or survival) is the key motivator for all that we do. We think and act to Live, and the only way to live, according to our instincts, is to put ourselves, our feelings, and our needs above everyone else’s, and this instinct is cemented into habit when we are infants, totally dependent upon others for our basic needs and therefore daily developing the expectation that when we need or want something, we have only to scream for it to have it presented to us. Thus selfishness is really just another word for the survival instinct. Every human being on this earth, who lived before us, lives beside us, or will come after us is, in fact, self-centered creature…so don’t be so hard on yourself. Selflessness does exist: we call it “love.” It is the stepping outside of ourselves to place the needs, emotions, desires, and overall well-being of another above our own, even if we fear the resulting ramifications to ourselves or in our own lives. Yet love or selflessness is so at odds with our natural tendencies (this being the premise behind most religions or spiritual faiths, in my opinion) that I doubt any of us ever ‘get it right”!
Still, you loved your sister enough to give her the best you had despite the self-protetive instinct to run or push the situation away. That, Marly, IS selflessness. Those emotions you felt were your knee-jerk attempts to protect yourself; all the same, you pushed them aside in order to position your sister’s needs above your own. As people, we don’t know evcerything. In fact, we know precious little. That means, in situations like you described, it is hard to know the right approaches, the right things to do or say. This means we do not always find that we can fix things for those we love; nevertheless, just the act of loving, of putting that other person first for a while is leaving her far better off than when she first arrived. The decision as to how she will progres from here is entirely up to your sister, of course. This is where the sensation of helplessness comes into play. (And, though not wanting to sound deliberately contradictory, I see the “acceptance” of helplessness or powerless less vital than the recognition of it in yourself or reactions IN CONJUNCTION with other equally important reactions in order to chose how you can or will repond to life situations consciously and according to your strengths and weaknesses rather than reactively and according to your survival instincts, in order to empower yourself to ascend to the highest levels of human compassion possible at the time.) Only, you overcame those instincts. Don’t underestimate that or its value. Who knows what the future will bring. Just remind yourself that in the act of loving, even if doing so did not seem to make any significant difference at the time, you placed another tool in your sister’s hands which, if she opts to use it, can help her make better7n healthier decisions in the future.
Sometimes, that is the best we can, on short notice, do.
Oops! I’m reeeeally late, but I hope I’ve helped in some minuscule way.
Take it easier on yourself, Marly. Focus on what you DID do, not how you might have failed.
By marly, February 1, 2010 @ 11:08 am
Thank you very much for your reply!
“it is hard to know the right approaches, the right things to do or say. This means we do not always find that we can fix things for those we love; nevertheless, just the act of loving, of putting that other person first for a while is leaving her far better off than when she first arrived”.
Wise words and very true.
The more you care/love somebody the more difficult it becomes to remain objective.
The more difficult it even becomes to feel compassion for them just because they’re so close to you(sounds like a paradox!)
“Selflessness does exist: we call it “love.”
Give me time to ponder on that one…I want to believe it,I truly do!
“Just remind yourself that in the act of loving, even if doing so did not seem to make any significant difference at the time, you placed another tool in your sister’s hands which, if she opts to use it, can help her make better7n healthier decisions in the future”.
I will try and remind myself.
I know she’s the one who’s got to decide how to move on and we can only hope she’ll find her way through the woods….
Sagacity,thank you so much for your kindness and caring!
By the way,you sound more than lucid enough to me!
By PamT, February 1, 2010 @ 11:35 am
For what’s its worth, my opinion is that much as you want to and much as you have tried to influence, you cannot put this situation right for your sister. It’s not within your control. It’s not within your power to make everything end happily. So I think it’s surely time to forgive yourself for not being able to do that (and for your understandable frustration).
Personally, I think you’ve probably got enough to deal with – without beating yourself with the stick of ‘selfishness’. Showing compassion for yourself is not being selfish. If you are not compassionate to yourself now, how will you be able to extend compassion to your sister again in the future?
Wishing you peace of mind.
By lady800cc, February 1, 2010 @ 11:38 am
I have to thank you for your wisdom filled response to Marly. I could not help but think of those times years ago, sitting in narcotics anonymous for families of addicts, learning about the addicts frame of mind, enabling and letting go…. this is not to add to your comments, but only an acknowledgement of where your words transported me. There is nothing that needs to be added Bravo Zulu!
**Yeah I Ride**
By sagacity, February 1, 2010 @ 11:50 am
You are more than welcomed. If my words helped at all, I’m glad. For now, I hope you can breathe deeply and enjoy this upcoming week.
By Softly, February 2, 2010 @ 2:19 pm
I have been struggling with the same thing for years, I said something about it in a response to Laertes in the blog “a distinction between fear of death and fear of powerlessness in the face of death.” (Mr. Glaser was not happy with it and it made me scared, although I spoke to loudly I still think I made a valid point)
I too struggle with the fact that helping others is sometimes just a way to help yourself. It is like two sides of a coin, heads or tails, you or me and we keep flipping it around. Before the Euro we had coins were on the rim it said “in God we trust” Maybe we have to balance the coin of help(lessness) on that trust in God, love, the Big help.
Balancing anything is not a static thing, it is in motion and forever changing. Usually we want ONE solution, ONE right answer, ONE right thing to do, it drives us nuts, makes us fearful, angry or powerless that that ONE answer does not exist, well…, not the way mind would like it.
Trying to find the balance is not an easy thing when you are in a turmoil of emotions and the emotions from others, it is even harder to help someone else find there balance. Lately I find that trying to keep my own balance is more important than helping others find theirs, when I’ve got balance and keep my focus on that, others can lean against me in an attempt to find theirs. The important thing for me is not to wobble, cause if I do we both fall down and no one is happy.
Forever balancing and learning,
By lady800cc, February 3, 2010 @ 12:27 pm
PMG, PamM and BlogFam,
“… We can use the ‘power’ of our mind to focus itself from its conscious place, to focus and witness without judging anything as right, wrong, good bad, true or untrue…and experience/feel and know ‘eternal change’ that we are a continuance of along with everything that exists. …”
We can… but would we always want to? To be “human” is to be, at times, impulsive, unreasonable, unpredictable, right, wrong, loving, selfish, and all those adjectives that describe us; the result of which allow us to experience life in the rawest way in our rawest form. I look back on a time in my life when I had exhausted all possibilities, and cried the hardest cry that ranks with my top 3 or 4 cries. Would it have been better in that case to focus or witness and not judge? Or try to effect my reaction to be more calm and accepting of the state of things? For me; no. When I think back, every time I think back, I think “That was a good cry!” after which I felt more calm and more connected than ever.
**Yeah I Ride**
By hilly, February 3, 2010 @ 12:53 pm
I’ve been dealing with one of those fear of helplessness moments in the past few days. Something that every time I think I’ve dealt with – pushed it away; managed to hit the ball coming out of the left field – it comes swinging back like those ball and elastic games we had as kids. So apologies for coming back to two things said a while ago.
the first is that I agree with whoever it was who said that there is nothing to feel bad about if you say you don’t get the meaning of something. When someone raises a question – asks for an explanation we alllearn something new as a result.
the other things was the ‘phone robot’. IMO there are 3 kinds of phone robot and each is as infuriating as the other. I know that some countries have made moves to ban them – but the robot automated computer generated ‘sales’ call has to be one of the most infuriating inventions a man ever conceived (and sorry Paul but only a man could have been that dumb!)
OR it is the person on the other end of the line who follows the ‘sales 101′ script. Whatever you say she (heaven help us it is usually a woman) comes back with the next question anyway. The best version has to be the hotline (internet,whatever)…”I know my router isn’t working because I have already checked the pass word/sockets/WiFi connection/USB cable and it doesn’t work.”
“I’d like you to follow my instructions. Can you see the screen….” and the robot then goes through every one of the things I just told him I’ve already done.
And last but by no means least…press 1 if you want sales; Press 2 if you want to complain;press 3 if you want help. You get to the end of the menu and not one of the options is what you want. So you press 1…and off they go again until you reach a human being who says….”oh sure, I’ll out you through to the service’ and hey presto – you get to talk to the person you need. So why do they go through all that?
I’ve thought about this long and hard (while holding and listening to the “music” that is supposed to soothe me and wll drive me nuts…
and the answer is:
It is all a test; if you can survive this you ca
By hilly, February 3, 2010 @ 12:56 pm
….you can survive anything. Have no fear…you are not helpless…but you may be the last living breathing person on this planet ‘cos all the robots have taken over the call centers!
No wonder I had a migraine yesterday!
By marly, February 4, 2010 @ 7:32 am
Thank you for your wisdom.
I think you’re absolutely right by saying that trying to find your own balance(first) is more important than helping others find theirs and you know what? There’s that “find compassion for yourself” thing again! It simply can’t be done if you’re still wobbling yourself……
So it’s first things first and right now I’m having enough trouble climbing that rope, let alone balancing on it!
By Softly, February 4, 2010 @ 7:53 am
We could start by loving ourselves for trying.
By Laertes, February 4, 2010 @ 8:49 am
I just barely read your response above. Allow me to say this. You are truly a voice of reason crying out in the desert. I say that because true wisdom is not only rare these days. But it is seldom appreciated. By now, I guess, you know that better an anyone.
By michaela804, February 4, 2010 @ 9:19 am
I’m afraid I’ve got to agree with Laertes on that one. My mother used to say that common sense jst isn’t common anymore. I,ve got to second that. We live in a time when people prefer catchphrases, mondegreens and pretty plattitudes to cold, pure truths. Sad. But true. That is why I alway find your posts so refreshing!
You really are a wise, wise woman.
I admire you. (And, trust me. I haven’t ever been one to dole out empty praise.)
With Utmost Respect,
By michaela804, February 4, 2010 @ 9:51 am
Oh. And the comparison of selfishness vs. selflessness really got me to think. And evaluate. Selfishness as survival, selflessness as love. I don’t think I’ve heard it ever explain so consisely. I,ve been mulling over that for days. Even discussing it with friends. It really resonates, really rings true.
By Rachelle Banks, February 4, 2010 @ 10:48 am
Hi Hilly – I hope everything works out quickly for you. Facing our fears is not always easy but in the end we learn and gain strength from them…..
LOL on your phone robot explanations. I work with an eye surgeon answering phones and the electronic phone robots tend to call my work – automated robots trying to sell things. I just go “click” on the phone.*g*
For the real people that work in call centres I try to be kind to them when they call. It’s hard when they have a script, but I understand it’s a job and I try to be respectful of that. It’s not always easy, but I try.*g*
Christine – Aww thanks my friend! Switching off our fears and stress is not an easy task, but sometimes it’s a must to give us a break. I’m a tad late in the response to you but thanks again.*g*
Have a great day all, Rach – Almost Friday!!
By Witt, February 5, 2010 @ 1:17 pm
It’s so true about fear. I’ve dealt with fear off and on all my life, as most of us have. But not so much as recently. I’m trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. Several years ago, I developed an incurable disease that has eventually required me to take medical retirement. I’m still dealing with the fear – not of the disease – but of how I can make the most of what I have and spend the rest of my life in a productive and decent, happy way. It’s been like going 90 mph and now slamming on the brakes.
It’s a struggle, but I know if I keep at it, I will be in a place that I can be happy with and deal with the fear.
By xtexan86, February 5, 2010 @ 1:40 pm
To Witt -
Sorry to hear about your current struggle. Somehow, your post reminded me of an old episode of ‘ER’, when Dr. Mark Greene is dying and he doesn’t know if he’s getting through to his rebellous and confused teenage daughter. The last thing he decides to tell her is, “Give. Give of yourself, your time…” I don’t remember what else he said, but the first two lines just about said it all. I’d hope, if I were in a similar situation, that’s what I could do.
By Witt, February 5, 2010 @ 2:30 pm
XT – I remember that episode. I “give” what I am able to do for my synagogue. Mostly,”computer” errands, i.e., sending “get well” and “birthday” wishes and the like. It’s kept my mind busy. I just think there has to be more. Unfortunately, my body doesn’t want to cooperate, so it’s limited.
I appreciate your response,
By hilly, February 6, 2010 @ 3:53 am
It’s a struggle, but I know if I keep at it, I will be in a place that I can be happy with and deal with the fear.
Witt, I think that one sentence is a lesson to us all. Thank you for sharing it.
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 6, 2010 @ 7:04 am
Paul.por thanks everything .usted is a good actor, they director.productor.buen friend, and a very charming person as you of light say full .usted shines Mr. Glaser to.ayer today, and it esteem and thanks to always share its thoughts in his much blog .siempre I wait for its thoughts as if the one of a friend outside, for my you you are my friend to the distance it continues shining
By moncanzuba, February 6, 2010 @ 8:35 am
Dear. Mr. Glaser and Everyone Here,
Today, I would like to share a personal experience with you, if you allow me.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with a feeling that I can’t rid off it since it’s begun.
Is it possible that a dark soul can be brought into The Light?. Science says NO. Several Religions say NO. But as the Kabbalah says – as well as my heart feels it, YES, it is possible to bring a dark soul into The Light. Let me give you some examples:
I remember one episode from S&H in which Starsky’s girlfriend was shot to the head and she finally dies because the bullet couldn’t be removed from his brain.
Once Starsky had the killer in front of him, he pointed his gun to him, and the anger and rage on his face were notorious. In spite of the killer’s ask to be shot, Dave managed to control his anger and let the forces take care of him. This is fictional.
Several years alter, in real life, my best friend’s uncle who had served to the force for 40 years, told me one night: “I carried a gun during 40 years and I never shot it (*) because it takes a lots of courage to shoot a gun when you have enough reasons to do it, but it takes even MORE courage for not to do it.
And finally, those who had read the Bible know that David was given the opportunity to kill King Saul while he was pursuing him to kill him, because of a misinterpretation of his counselors that told to the King that David would follow Saul in the Throne of Israel.
Being King Saul on his sleep, David had the perfect opportunity to kill his pursuer, but he chose to cut a piece of his cloth instead, and send it to him the next day as a proof of that he would follow God’s will instead of getting himself safe by committing a crime.
Today, alter more than 3 years of trying to “rescue” this poor soul, when I almost give up on it, these memories came to my mind (as many others) and I asked to myself: if therapy says “what is lost, can’t be recover” if all my friend tell me on their best intentions that I have to rid off this, when the spiritual leader in “Avatar” says: “you can’t fill a cup that is already full” (but also says: “lets see if your insanity can be cured”), why my heart insist on trying to help this person?
And the answer came at once: when you are capable to see through your heart and see the pain and the sorrow deep inside the other (who NEVER will declare it), your spirit rises and kills your ego, leading you in the mercy for the others. And if there is something that I’ve learnt by the hard way is that when the spirit proclaims, you will never be wrong.
As Aslan says in “The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Which and The Wardrobe”:- “If the which would’ve understood the prophecy correctly, she would’ve known that when an innocent blood’s is spreaded for a crime that he did not commit, the stone of the sacrifice is broken and even the death can be undone”.
So today I DO know that my heart is right: a dark soul can be brought into The Light (which is Not an easy task to do … I am aware of that), so I will go on fighting until the end of the times because I fell in love with this soul JUST because God did it first, and he put it into my hands to do the job as his humble instrument.
Thank you so very much to everyone here for your love at reading this.
God Bless You all.
Monica (from Argentina)
(*) although he worked as a radio operator, he had to carry a gun, and he had to face many situation that could have required to use it).
By S. Parry, February 6, 2010 @ 5:33 pm
I noticed something really interesting.
One contributor raised the question of “selfishness as opposed to selfishness” and received a really thoughtful, thought filled response. I was impressed by what was said in it. Even went back and contemplated on my own take on the topic. Quite frankly I hadn’t given it much thought before but found the theory put out on the table a sound one worth considering. Almost immediately I noticed other “bloggers” jumping in to subtly undermine the perspective. Redirecting the focus from one of altruism (or “selflessness”) back to an intense refocusing on the “self” (or “selfishness”), almost as a justification of adopting a more self-centered attitude of life and each person’s role in it. And I thought this an almost comical illustration of the difference between the two.
Mr. Glaser, I have read many of your posts. From what I’ve read, you don’t seem to be an advocate of elevating the needs of the “self” above those of others. Seems more like your point is that until a person learns to recognize who or what they are and make peace with it instead of getting caught up in the fixation of self-criticism and lowered self-esteem, they can’t ascend to a place of being able to truly love others. I have to admit I don’t always get the things that you say or understand how the different points you make are supposed to go to gether, but I do get the impression that your position is one of getting to that place that frees you up to give and receive love in a healthy way. Whether I agree with every little point or not, then, doesn’t necesarrily matter. The fact that it is important to come to terms with or make peace with the things inside you that are obstacles to loving or being loved can’t be denied.
That’s why it is so interesting to me to see how quickly others race to twist that theory into something so very different.
Being one of the young adults coming up against the realities of having to make sense of the world around me, I see often enough the fallout from that “me, me, me” mentality. People can call it judgmental or critical but the truth is that people my age are the ones left to clean up the messes left over from that period of time when our parents and grandparents started buying into the notion of “I’ve got to look out for me first before I can take care of you,” and those messes aren’t pretty. The environment is in a shambles, the economy is terrifying, human rights issues that were supposedly “handled” before are reappearing as serious problems, politics are in an uproar, families are falling apart, crime is on the rise, and the social fabric is unraveling before our eyes. I could keep going on.
So my point is, with all due respect, we see the flaws in the “start with me” attitude when it is taken to those extremes. We have to live with the havoc it caused. Your point about achieving some kind of balance inside yourself, about stepping back and getting perspective on the things (like fear or helplessness or loss of control) that can turn into the walls that prevent you from seeing life clearly or being able to step outside your particular wall in order to give love, accept love, or be able to make practical impacts on those around you: now that I can understand.
The rest of it though sounds like an excuse not to do your fair share to make this world a better place for us all. Because the world can’t be a better place as long as every individual is rushing around looking for some way to justify not caring, not getting involved, not taking the time to help others or strive for a deeper understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings.
One person wrote that common sense isn’t common any more, and that’s true. Too many places to hide, it seems to me. Still, with all due respect, no one can deny that the attitudes of selfishness are the primary reason why we are facing so many devastating problems in our present society (culture and economy) nor that the only way to alleviate or repair those problems is to step outside of that thinking and look at the needs of our neighbors, our families, our culture and our society as a whole.
The older generation tends to brand us as superficial or whatever, but I see where more and more of us who have to fact the task of restoring some kind of order to this world do understand that the time for selfishness is over and we have all got to start looking towards a more selfless way of doing things and of thinking because really, we are all in this together. It’s a nice fairytale to think that if you work on yourself first you’ll somehow wake up a strong enough, wise enough person to help others. The lessons taught by most of the great sages and thinkers, though, is that each person has the potential to positively change the world around them as well as the responsibility to realize that if your neighbor is in danger (need/want/discomfort/or whatever), if your neighborhood is in danger, if your community is in danger, if your society is in danger, if that person sitting next to you is in danger…SO ARE YOU!!!
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 7, 2010 @ 12:13 pm
It is verified that the affection samples foment the growth and the positive development of the person. All we needed physical contact to feel us well, and one of the most important forms of physical contact between two people is the hug. Who nowadays does not need mimos in this society, more and more she fries, competitive, that invites constantly us to the individualism, to the challenge of the personal goals…? When we embraced, to feed back to us to us of energy. We take life to our senses and we reaffirmed the confidence in our own feelings. Some times we did not find the words adapted to express what we felt, the hug is the best way. We need four hugs to the day to survive, eight to stay, and twelve to grow. A hug makes you feel well. The skin is the organ greater than we have and needs much affection. A hug can cover a great part with the skin and gives the massage that you need. It is also, a form to communicate. It can say the things for which you do not have words. At any moment we can resort the universal language of the hugs. The Power of the Hugs Embracing obtains many things that talvez your never you have imagined. For example: * one feels well * it undoes the solitude * it defeats the fear * it abre the doors to the sensations * aid to the car considers (wow, it or wants to me to embrace) * it encourages the altruism (I cannot believe it, but I want to embrace that person) * it delays the aging (those that they embrace maintain young people more time) * aid to reduce the appetite (we eat less when they nourish to us with hugs and when our arms are surrounded in others) more benefits than leave the hugs: * he is ecologically firm (nonpity to the environment) * it keeps the energy * he is portable does not require special machinery * it does not demand place in particular (the suitable place to give a hug) * in any place like a conference hall, a church or a field of soccer * it causes that the happy days are happier * it distributes the sensation of which we belong * full the empty sites in our lives * it continues working to give benefits until after which the hug is finished * It affirms and it increases our capacity to share. * It harmonizes the hearts of the friendly. The hug creates certain type of addiction to the affection, to the altruism, the joy… Like the laughter, he is highly contagious! Whatever your hug, that always appears of the heart, not of the mind. Invéntate new and varied forms to embrace. It looks for peculiar or funny names your hugs. Conviértete in ” hug-terapeuta” full-time. Ten always a hug ” by hand ” in order to offer it to somebody. Observant and prudent with the physical limits of the other. You do not try to impose your vision or your philosophy to anybody. A hug does and says very many It embraces your friend, your loved being, your children, your parents, your mascot…
By marly, February 7, 2010 @ 12:35 pm
Thank you for your honest and passionate comment.
Being the contributor who raised the question of selflessness as opposed to selfishness I feel it’s my responsibility to react to your post.
I want to apologize for the statement I made in my last post(febr.4th, 7.32 am) and I take back what I said about trying to find your own balance is more important than helping others find theirs.
It was said in a moment of frustration and anger and I realize it was a very thoughtless thing to say.
Finding my own balance is an important goal for me and I still believe that I could help others more effectively if I felt less “wobbly” BUT it never was and never will be an excuse for:” not caring, not getting involved, not taking the time to help others or strive for a deeper understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings.” Believe me, I do care.
I truly hope you’ll accept my apology.
You wrote:” It’s a nice fairytale to think that if you work on yourself first you’ll somehow wake up a strong enough, wise enough person to help others. The lessons taught by most of the great sages and thinkers, though, is that each person has the potential to positively change the world around them as well as the responsibility to realize that if your neighbor is in danger (need/want/discomfort/or whatever), if your neighborhood is in danger, if your community is in danger, if your society is in danger, if that person sitting next to you is in danger…SO ARE YOU!!!”
I think we can and should do both: work on ourselves and at the same time try to do the best we can for others.
I gather, from your words, that you’re a young adult and I sense your anger, frustration and impatience with the older generation.
I’m glad for young driven people like yourself who care for what’s happening in the world and who are striving to make it a better place for all of us.
Mind you, we’re all in this together and each and every generation keeps on making mistakes.
We’re allowed to make mistakes, simply because we are “only” human, but believe it or not, we also learn from making mistakes.
I was the one on this blog who asked:”….. if “selflessness” exists, are human beings even capable of selflessness and what do we actually mean if we use the term “selflessness?”
“Selflessness”, the act of sacrificing one’s own interest for the greater good(Wikipedia)
If my mind’s own interest is to avoid feeling powerless/helpless it will simply refuse to sacrifice that for the greater good…won’t it?
In other words, whatever we do to help someone else, it’s never a completely selfless deed…. or is it?”
This question of mine was meant to provoke a discussion about the meaning of “selflessness” because I was/am very interested in how other people perceive this.
Some bloggers emphasized the importance of selflessness while others put their focus on the existence of selfishness.
To me it’s fascinating to find that our personal views, experiences and perception of the world around us are of great influence of how we feel/think about certain values and norms in our society.
In discussions like these it’s not a matter of being wrong or right about a subject.
This is a shared thoughts blog and personally I think it’s a place where we should be able to bounce off thoughts ,idea’s, etc. in a constructive sort of way in order to learn from each other.
But it’s o.k. to disagree, to give each other feedback, etc.
S.Parry,what I’m trying to say to you is; please, be patient with us, don’t judge us too hard and stay away from bitterness.
Thank you for your constructive feedback, I appreciate the effort you’re making here.
It’s very clear to me that you really care.
By Laertes, February 7, 2010 @ 12:39 pm
Impressive. Very insightful analysis on your part. The idea that pmg in these blogs is not actually explaining any life’s philosophy but the starting point to begin the philosophy from, that changes everything, now doesn’t it? Hmmmmm. You’ve given me soemthing to think about.
By hilly, February 7, 2010 @ 12:53 pm
S Parry said: That’s why it is so interesting to me to see how quickly others race to twist that theory into something so very different.
an interesting comment buried in a very well thought out response – but are you sure that you are not reading your interpretation into the responses of others?
Using personal examples to explain or expand an argument – or to reflect on the value this blog and the responses has brought to someone’s thinking and struggle to understand their fear is not necessarily ‘selfish’.
You also suggest that others attempt to subvert the ideas in Paul’s blog…again – perhaps the idea that others put forward their “slant” on what they have understood is not what you expected.
I’m not criticising you. I’m not saying that you are right or wrong.
I’m inviting you to think about why some people have shared or argued in a way that you didn’t expect seems to throw you off balance.
You see whether you like it or not; to use the vocabulary of my generation that came to adulthood in the 60s and 70s….”until I can find me and come to terms with me it is hard to be able to reach out and help others.”
“I need to get my head together”
It is not necessarily ‘selfish’ to try to get your own head together before setting out to help others. It takes a long time, and it is a constant journey. But once you are at one with yourself and able to identify the moments when fear haunts you and influences your actions, then you are in a position to be altruistic too.
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” – selfless actions are rare despite appearances..and it is a rare human being who can put his/her hand on their hearts and say ‘I did this for my fellow man and not for me’ and (at the risk of upsetting some people) that is all too often the motivation behind the ‘good works’ of the Mother Theresas and other evangelists and missionaries in this world….it is the salvation of their souls that motivates them and any good done on the way is collateral.
Common sense isn’t common any more, it’s true….but don’t blame those of us who struggled to get the rights your generation takes for granted (especially the women) for that. Blame the idiot media, the cynical pushers of the famous for being famous, the hysteria merchants who make millions believe that a pop singer’s death is more important than what is happening in Darfur. Those with common sense reject the nonsense…those without are not able to see that it is nonsense and that, unfortunately, is human nature. And so far there is no cure for it!
By hilly, February 7, 2010 @ 12:55 pm
Marly your post came up while I was writing mine. and I totally agree with your last phrase.
By sagacity, February 7, 2010 @ 1:31 pm
I will say one thing and one thing only: impassioned yet intellectual explorations (observations/questions) such as yours redeem my faith (and hope) in the future.
By PamT, February 7, 2010 @ 1:40 pm
I find myself in the intriguing position of agreeing with some of the contents of your post. Nobody could indeed deny that we live in societies where many individuals all too often place their own needs over and above those of other people, their communities and the environment – where, if you like, selfishness tends to rule. As well taking on board the ‘collective responsibility’ that comes with being a member of one of the generations that has brought us to this place, I also feel great sympathy for younger generations who will ultimately have the ongoing challenge of attempting to sort ‘the mess’ out. I don’t envy your predicament. However, please don’t judge us too harshly – some positive things have happened too.
Much as selfishness abounds, I have equally been witness to more than a few situations where individuals have unremittingly, and virtually exclusively, placed the needs of others above their own; have viewed any focus whatsoever on self as being ‘selfish’ and ended up in a place where they could neither help themselves nor others around them (and sometimes blamed their inability to ‘make everything OK’ on somehow not having given even more of themselves). So when I have previously made reference to not beating oneself with the stick of selfishness, I suppose these experiences have been at the forefront of my mind.
However, I’m in no way proposing that we should cast a blind eye to everything going on around us and concentrate entirely on ourselves. Along with other perhaps unwelcome aspects of aging, for some there comes a dawning realisation that in practice our personal ability to put right much of what is wrong in the world is limited. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking idealism/ambition/empowerment and there are indeed a number of individuals who find themselves with the power of being able to make crucial and far-reaching positive changes. These may be the exception, but that that doesn’t prevent each us continuing to try and influence some positive change and performing acts of kindness (or altruism), albeit on a far smaller scale. Over time, I have been both the receiver and the giver of such acts. It may sound somewhat trite, but I have come to the conclusion that nobody can help everyone, but everyone can help somebody. That having been said, I still don’t equate ‘compassion for self’ with ‘selfishness’ (or ‘self-awareness’ with ‘self-absorption’ for that matter). I also don’t view the states of ‘compassion for self’ and ‘compassion for others’ as being mutually exclusive ones – indeed quite the opposite. I certainly don’t advocate the stance, or as you put it the ‘fairy tale’, of feel and do nothing until you have yourself fully fixed.
You mentioned pursuing the ‘start with me’ concept to the extreme. I find it interesting that the Buddhist practice of Metta Bhavana works on the cultivation and extension of loving kindness, love or goodwill (call it what you will) in five stages within one meditation. Initially focusing on yourself, then on a good friend, a neutral individual, an enemy/difficult person and finally extending warmth to all beings. It’s not a case of ‘Don’t proceed any further until you have the first stage cracked’ – my understanding (and I’m very much still learning) is that it’s much more of a concurrent and holistic philosophy.
Finally, I’m assuming (maybe incorrectly) that first part of your post refers to a response I made earlier in this thread. Regardless of whether or not we agree with other opinions expressed, I’d like to respectfully question the value of making an arbitrary assumption with regard to the intentions behind them. I’ll resist the urge to retreat into ‘self-defence’ mode by expanding on my motivation for replying to a post with which I felt some empathy, but it may be relevant to stress that I have no interest whatsoever in trying to ‘undermine’, ‘twist’ or indeed belittle, anyone’s views, beliefs or theories – either subtly or overtly. I’ll refrain from commenting on your observation of ‘almost comical’.
I continue to learn that, particularly on the extremely sensitive issues of personal beliefs and spirituality, there can be a delicate balancing act between expressing one’s own opinion and causing unintended offence. Some of it can undoubtedly be in the eye of the beholder, but I must also take responsibility for the way I express myself. I obviously still need to be much more careful in future.
Still in peace
By Diane, February 7, 2010 @ 1:41 pm
I have read the posts and agreed and disagreed but choose not to respond until now. My head is all over the place at the moment (and you know the reasons why (chemo)) but I have to say I totally agree with your comments, you have a wonderful way with words, far better than I could come up with. Everything you said mirrors my own thoughts, I just didn’t know how to express it.
….”until I can find me and come to terms with me it is hard to be able to reach out and help others.”
“I need do need to get my head together”
ps Hilly, 11th chemo session Wed 10th Feb, only one to go after that, then hopefully we get our life back.
By michaela804, February 7, 2010 @ 1:56 pm
I applaud your courage of conviction. From what I read I sense determination, not anger. Good for you. Know that in many ways you are echoing my onw sentiments. And I am not from your generation. That doesn’t mean that I don,t recognixe and appreciate the challanges it has inherited. I say this as one who has often felt saddened by the general failure to learn from history. Its mistakes as well as its triumphs. Also as a person taught throughout childhood to never forget the struggles and battles of those who came before and who has always placed great value and reverence oin that obligation of the following generation to ADD to the advancements made, I find myself often and increasingly disheartned. But, you are on the right track. Question. It’s the only way to find answers. Set your own priorities in life and remain true to them. Act.many people espouse views but few understand the need for practical application of what’s lkearned after the talk has ceased. And, most importantly, love. As in the verb, not the noun. Ask yourself how you can put the love and concern you feel for others, for the world around you into action. There’s a phrase often scrawled on term papers by professors, “Show. Don’t tell.” It’s just as appropriate in life. You can make a difference. Your views are valid. And valuable. Thank you for taking the time to express themn. I’m sure you knew there was the potential for backlash when you did so. That makes your post even more admirable.
I hope I’m not coming off as preachy. Or lecturing. Actually my one goal is to lend enthusiastic support. There are those of us much older than you who not only support sentiments such as yours but in many ways share them.
The divide isn”t really that big. It just sometimes seems that way.
By michaela804, February 7, 2010 @ 2:34 pm
A brief addendum: there was another “contributor” whose perspective was a lot like yours. Under the topic “ruminating on sound”. I would say about sixty posts down, there was an entry be “dissapointed miss” that reminds me of yours. One of the responses was from “sagacity,” who seems to have from what I’ve read an uncommon amont of wisdom and common sense to add to the mix. Personally I tend to be sloppy in online commenting: thoughts and fingers flying faster than my organizational skills. That post of hers though seems as applicabl to your post as it was to d.m.’s.
By Softly, February 7, 2010 @ 4:18 pm
Dear S. Parry,
It is with great interest that I have read your comment. Being of the “older generation” you might think we don’t think alike or face the same problems, I’m here to tell you that many of the problems we are facing and thought that we are have are the same. There is how ever I sense a generation gap.
Having being brought up by the generation who have lost there change to grow up in freedom due to a world at war, and seeing that generation work there fingers to the bone to build a future for me and my generation, I am all to aware that selfishness won’t help us get to a better world. Being eternally grateful for the way the generation that went before me put there hands and effort together to rebuild a society, I followed in there footsteps. I protested against the nuculair bomb, I helped Green peace safe the whale, and spent over 30 years trying to help other people. I also have seen the generation before me become old before there time. I have seen my parents who were always extending there hand to others end up with nothing, not even a sense of fulfillment or dignity. And I have followed in those footsteps too. I knew I had to do better and stop following before I got to bitter to be any good to this world.
As every generation feels like they are left to clean up the mess the previous generation left and vows to do better, so does my generation try to do better. It is dangerous though to generalize and I will speak for myself.
I having followed in the footsteps of people who were always helping others I have come to realize that they were believing in a fairytale too. They believed, as did I, that giving everything you have, (effort, hart and soul, time and money) to the greater good, this will make for a better world, a better future for all our children. This fairytale only works if everyone beliefs and works for this fairytale, if only a hand full of people do and the other handful is picking the fairytale apart you end up with the mess we are left with now.
Then there is the fairytale you don’t approve of, the fairytale that goes “work on yourself first and you’ll somehow wake up a strong enough, wise enough person to help others.”
I can see were this fairytale is being picked apart and is used to justifying not caring for others or the world we live in. I also know that only now, after years of searching for a way to make this world a better place, that it is finding my balance, having compassion for myself, waking up every day a bit stronger and wiser, is helping others finding their balance, having compassion for them selves and they are waking up every day a bit stronger and a bit wiser.
Dear S. Parry,
With all due respect I think we all need to belief in both fairytales to make for a better reality.
My hart rejoices to learn from you that the generation that is right behind me is taking there task in caring for this world serious, lets all hope that there are enough off you to turn this mess around. Please don’t generalize and judge all that went before you, against all odds most of us are doing the best we can, like you said we are all in this together.
Old, but forever learning
By lady800cc, February 7, 2010 @ 10:53 pm
Reminds me of a conversation I had with my oldest before she went off to college. She was feeling over whelmed and a little resentful of being one of the first in her immediate family to go off to school. And she let slide from her young mouth a commentary on her individuality etc.. etc.. and that errbody was depending on her… so on and so on… it was then that I think I channeled Harriet Tubman; and reminded her that we didn’t stand on her shoulders, that she stands on all the shoulders of those before her that made her opportunities possible; the great men and women in our family who have sacrificed and sacrificed. They have sometimes succeeded and they have sometimes failed; last time I checked we are all flawed. I tell my kids that they have a responsibility to do and be better not because those that came before them failed, but because those that came before them went as far as they went; and now it is their turn. There is but so much space in the brain and I tell my kids not to waste it on what they think other folks should have done or aught to be doing. I tell them to be doers… but to be qualified doers. When I was dealing with a friend with an addiction; I had plenty of folks offering unqualified, unhelpful advice for what I should do. Then I met with someone whose mission was working with addicts. He told me this “if I take your hand and take a knife and dig it into your palm, will you pay attention to anything or anyone else? Will you care about someone else’s situation? Plight? Or circumstances? Your attention will always be to the excruciating pain in your hand”. That bit of advice changed my life because I was able to find peace in finally understanding. There are so many different situations where helping and doing only require the desire and compassion to help and do for others. But there are just as many situations where compassion is not enough; where if you are not secure in and with your own self or qualified to engage a situation, that you will not be helpful at all. You could actually be harmful. It is just as selfish to flap your lips to someone in pain, about something you know nothing about as it is to ignore their pain altogether.
**Yeah I Ride**
By Sarah Levy, February 8, 2010 @ 2:49 am
“It is just as selfish to flap your lips to someone in pain, about something you know nothing about as it is to ignore their pain altogether.”
Wow! That is so true. Thank you.
By Laertes, February 8, 2010 @ 3:44 am
And so the race is on to justify, qualify, classify, and deny! Stupefying. Absolutely stupefying. S. Parry, you keep right on questioning and standing up for those things you believe in most.You’ve just encountered a small sample of what life holds for the ones who dare to take strong stands to make an impact. Positive and lasting change. But I personally have seen a single person change the course of history by doing just what you’ve done. Speaking out. STANDING out (alone if necessary). And not just once but time and time again. Throughout my lifetime.I hope that rather than discourage you this stiffens your resolve because I hear in you wisdom beyond your years. I won’t waste time supporting you on this point or that one. It would be no use. Instead, I’ll just encourage you to stand by the strength of your convictions. It is never easy, choosing that “road less traveled”; but doing so does “make the difference. So. If you believe strongly, passionately in something AND KNOW WHY YOU BELIEVE IT (for unfortunately, many have strong opinions in this world without any basis whatsoever) stand tall, proud, and firm. It takes courage and strength of character; however.voices like yours have changed this world.
Never forget that.
No matter what.
By Sarah Levy, February 8, 2010 @ 5:11 am
Dear S. Parry,
I found your comments interesting, although I have to say that I do not agree with all of them. I would not agree that “The older generation tends to brand us as superficial or whatever”. I have two children of my own. One is 17, and one is 13. I do not believe that they, or their friends are “superficial”. Quite the opposite. I am honoured to know so many young people who are full of enthusiasm and want to make a difference to society. Many of them feel compassion for others. So, I would never brand them “superficial”.
Feeling that previous generations have messed up, is nothing new. I am in my 40′s and when I was in my teens, myself and most of my peers also believed that our elders had messed up. However, I think of my father, who is now in his 80s. He grew up during WW2 and had to start work at the age of 13. He worked right up until he was in his early 70′s. Even when he was working long, tiring days, he still found the time to help others. He still does. Both my parents’ early lives were hard, due to the war. My mother was evacuated at a young age and parted from her family. However, something positive that I have learnt from them is to not always put blame on the generation or generations before you. Instead of looking to blame other generations, my parents worked hard, and looked at ways they could go forward, helping others along the way. Of course, they made mistakes. That is part of being human. However, the good intentions were always there and I believe that is far more helpful in changing things for the good, than blaming others for things that are wrong in the world.
I would also like to comment on something else you said when you felt others had taken the stance of ….”“I’ve got to look out for me first before I can take care of you,” and those messes aren’t pretty” That is not how Pam T’s post came across to me. From her comments I got that, A. There are some things you cannot change, so try and concentrate on the things you can change/make better. and B. If a person completely wears them self out, then they are no good to anyone.
I have a friend who is training in Palliative Care. A profession, which is anything but selfish. Part of that training is that the carer has to look after themselves too, otherwise they are no good to the very people they are trying to help. Believe me. I understand the desire to want to help everyone. There have been many times that I have beaten myself up over the fact that I couldn’t do enough for someone. There have also been times when I have felt so frazzled because I didn’t know when to say “no”, that I have made myself ill. That does not help anyone.
I believe that everyone is just as important as the next person. It doesn’t make any difference if you have wealth, or if you are living on the streets. It doesn’t make any difference if you are famous or if you are known to only a few people. However, in order to be able to help anyone, we need to be physically and emotionally well ourselves. By constantly putting our own needs behind everyone else’s, we stop being of any use to anyone.
The following quote from your post is one that I agree with:
“Because the world can’t be a better place as long as every individual is rushing around looking for some way to justify not caring, not getting involved, not taking the time to help others or strive for a deeper understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings.”
However, please bear in mind that it’s far better to do small amounts to help and to do them well, than to try and do large amounts and fail at them.
By Softly, February 8, 2010 @ 6:12 am
Dear S. Parry,
There was a phrase that I grew up with, it popped back into my head this morning.
Loosely translated it says:
Change the world, begin with yourself.
If you want to live in a more compassionate world, be compassionate.
If you want to live in a creative world, be creative.
If you want to live in a non judgmental world, don’t judge.
If you want to live in a world that cares for the bigger issues, be caring.
If you want to live in a world with equality for all, see others as equals
If you want to live in a world that strives for a deeper understanding of other people’s thoughts and feelings, be understanding.
Well… I could go on and on but you’re smart enough to fill in the rest.
I was wondering which works of the great sages and thinkers you have studied, I have studied a fair few and though most of them focus on losing self-importants, ego, self-pity and other hard to lose (ego) attributes like that, they all focus too on (re)connecting with that which connects us all. But non focus on taking your own unique human form, expression, qualities and abilities out of the equation.
You probably are familiar with the parable off the 100th monkey; You’ll never know if you are the first or the one that will tip the scale, just stand up and be counted.
With respect for you and all that will stand up I remain standing and learning,
By lady800cc, February 8, 2010 @ 8:22 am
Mine are 18 and 14 and my Grandfather who raised me, is a WW2 vet and in his 80′s… ha ha; perspectives and parallels
By Sarah Levy, February 8, 2010 @ 8:52 am
The phrase, ‘it’s a small world’, is often over used, but it’s one I find to be true.
By sagacity, February 8, 2010 @ 8:56 am
I must say: this has all been a most eye-opening experience! At last I feel I understand Paul Michael Glaser’s repeated references to “fear” and our reactions to it. It would be most fascinating to hear his responses to this last exchange; yet I believe I will follow the example of the very mature and insightful young people from whom it has been my pleasure and delight to hear….
Best of luck to P.M. Glaser in his present and future writings. May you enjoy success and fulfillment in the sharing of your “creation.”
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 8, 2010 @ 11:16 am
DEAR PAUL: Law all the thoughts of this blog. absolutely all we see the life and our fears of different forms – they are different histories of life since we are individual beings each has its own ros .log feelings .frustacion and much more –we cannot change the world but we can change each individually is a world each family is a world – I itself insisting on the pardon – I cannot try that the other person is as I or vice versa judged and judged the fellow – we leave each alive its own esperiencia – that serves to me if I judge – nothing in the life passes different experiences – passes much water under bridge-pardoning is managed to have peace – that tendria that to be I that I was abuzada when he was young and soon adolescent – a spiteful one – hurt….but it does not pardon and I do not have resentment I feel peace in my being in my heart – the society this like sodomo and gomorra that we can do? to begin by one same one to be integral to infect to that we have to our side – if one throws a paper in the street and another it has been seeing me for the same – is an example – if we do the things good in the life to be better person everything changes we must contribute a sand granite, any more and as I said in another one blog, it is possible to be transformed into a mountain we are arranged to put that sand granite? or the egoism dominates to us – and the love. – where we left it forgotten –…. thanks for the thoughts of all were of aprendisaje — God blesses Paul to you — and I am waiting for a new thought — Hilda Liporace (Argentina)
By Raffy, February 9, 2010 @ 2:20 am
I think that whatever we do is in the end a selfish act…independently from the result. It is part of our being human in our struggle to grow. I could talk to someone in need of a word, or visit people at the hospital, or make a donation…whatever thing. Is it not a selfish act if we feel someway fulfilled by what we are doing? Is it not feeding our ego… some expectations we had, consciously or unconsciously? Or maybe it makes us feel “safe” in the present and in the future in case we too will need the same thing from others? And the more we don’t love ourselves enough the more we need to feel fulfilled by what we give. Our giving is always an “imperfect act” I think…we are human. But it is true that the results can be good. If I make a donation, whatever the “inspiration” leading me to do it, it is a donation anyway and can help others. In the meanwhile it is possible that I go on…that I find out other things within myself that I didn’t see before that step. What I think is that “selflessness” can really exist only when we are able, step by step, to get rid of our ego… when we see beyond the idea of “I and others”… when we come to perceive that almost absurd but peaceful “I am you”…our being one with all and everything… not easy at all, if not in words. This is our reality that we don’t see, because our ego spends time to build barriers trying to empower itself fighting against our atavic powerlessness over what we can’t control, our mortality, either we are aware of it or not. It takes a long time and energy, but it is worth it, to try to find out, through our fear itself, where our real selflessness is…in our consciousness.
By Sarah Levy, February 9, 2010 @ 9:29 am
Something you said that I totally agree with is the following:
“I think sometimes it’s more likely that they just are unable to ‘see’ or ‘witness’ that they do in fact ‘unconsciously’ judge…it’s human nature.”
It can very difficult to not judge someone. I know that is something I have been guilty of. It’s often upon reflection that I have realised that actually, I have judged someone for something they have done. However, we are not perfect and most of us learn from our mistakes as we grow older. When I was a kid, I dreaded the thought of getting old. Then, just before my 40th birthday, I found myself hating the thought of being that age. I didn’t want a party or any fuss. I wanted to ignore that birthday. However, now that I am approaching my 44th birthday, I am happy being the age I am. I’m grateful that I have had ups and downs in my life because I have learnt something from them, and I have also learnt that another person might be going through a really tough time when they act in a way that others don’t think is acceptable.
Raffy, your take on the subject of selfishness/selflessness is very thought provoking. I, in part, agree with you. However, there are also times when a person puts another person before them self out of love. However, your post has some very interesting points that I am going to ponder.
By marly, February 9, 2010 @ 12:02 pm
Dear Pam M.
First of all I would like to tell you how much I appreciate your comments here on this blog.
To me you seem to be a kind, honest and giving person who’s doing her utmost best to make this world a better place for the ones around her.
I’m truly sorry that you got hurt by “… a recent purposely hurtful cursive comment to me by someone…..” I don’t know if it happened on this blog but I think it’s a cowardice deed to do such a thing because it’s so very, very easy to hide behind the anonymity of the internet!
Never doubt yourself, Pam! People who like to purposely hurt others are mostly people who can’t deal with their own pain. It’s kind of hard to feel sorry for them but in the end that’s often the only way to deal with the pain they’ve caused you.
You wrote:“It amazes me that some people go through life always being suspicious of others, always suspecting that just because someone is a ‘giver’ that they must automatically have ‘motivations’ behind their giving, or have some emotional/psychological reasons for their desire in giving…..”
I know what you mean but at the same time I urge you to try and understand that some people are suspicious of others(the “givers”) because they often have learned from a very young age on to distrust kindness. I work with young children and it’s heartbreaking to see how some of them are already being emotionally scarred for life by parents who often simply don’t know how to love their children because they themselves were also raised in a loveless environment(I know there are some exceptions to that rule!). When you’re as fortunate as I am to work with children you come to realize how important it is to be raised by loving and supportive parents in order to be able to grow up and become a loving and supportive parent ánd decent human being yourself. People who haven’t been so fortunate view the world from an entirely different perception than the ones who felt safe and secure since the day they were born.
I know people who need all their energy just to survive in this world, they appear to be unkind, heartless and selfish human beings who lash out in anger(fear) when somebody tries to be kind to them. They’ve built high concrete walls around them so that nobody can hurt them (again).It’s not easy to reach out and try to help people like that, you give and they react with suspicion and anger….they’ve got nothing else to give in return. It’s easier for us to turn our back to people like that( they scare, hurt or anger us, make us feel helpless, don’t they?) than to keep on trying to somehow break through their isolation.
Once, a long time ago I wanted to be a social worker in order to help people professionally but during my first study year I realized that I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t capable for such a difficult and emotionally demanding job. I’m way too soft and too sensitive.
I fully admire the people who can do these jobs and work tremendously hard to help fellow human beings whether it’s a selfless act or not!To use Raffy’s words:” Our giving is always an “imperfect act” I think…we are human. But it is true that the results can be good.” Very true,Raffy!
Very often I need to remind myself to be aware of the fact that each and every one of us views, judges and perceives the world around us from his/her very own perception. In fact all of us live in a more or less self created world and from that place we try to connect/communicate with each other.
That’s quite a task, isn’t it?!
So, let’s try not to be too hard on ourselves and to the ones around us.
It’s never a simple case of “black or white” or ”good or bad”……
We’re all in this together.
Keep your light glowing, it’s warm and bright.
All my best to you,(and to the rest of my fellow bloggers)
By PamT, February 9, 2010 @ 12:49 pm
I had resolved not to comment on here for a while, but what the hell. What changed my mind is the fact that I’ve found parts of recent posts expanding on the areas of selfishness, selflessness and judging yourself/others to be both from the heart and thought-provoking. I wanted to recognise that. And Softly, your post made me focus on my own attitudes and approach to life too.
Do we perform acts that might be generally categorised as ‘selfless’ for reasons of making ourselves ‘feel better’ and more ‘human’? Could well be. From a pragmatic perspective, as long as there are no strings attached, at least someone else is benefiting. Maybe it can generate more positive results than many other expressions of the ego.
One earlier comment really made me examine myself. Namely, “It is just as selfish to flap your lips to someone in pain, about something you know nothing about as it is to ignore their pain altogether.” Even if we can draw an apparent parallel between our own experiences and those we glean from others, it’s never quite the same, is it? Perhaps it is all too easy to jump in with ‘advice’, even if it is well-meaning. As the saying goes ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’. We all continue to learn, don’t we?
Still in peace.
By hilly, February 9, 2010 @ 1:07 pm
@Lady your remarks about your eldest’s views intrigued me and encouraged me. I was a University in the early 70s protesting the left-overs of the VietNam war (like the continued war Cambodia) the build-up of nuclear weapons; the need for respect for women and all the other things that had us out on the streets.
I went back to University in the early 80s and was shocked at how little the ‘normal aged’ (ten years my junior) students were willing to turn out for.
By the late 80s this lack of ‘militancy’ in the young got quite frightening.
Then they started to take new causes to heart. Driven on by their icons (Geldorf, Bono, Sting whoever) they took an interest in the future of the world they live in. they got a little self-righteous too IMO – too easily blaming the ‘me-generation’ for the excesses and forgetting that that was also the generation that made their parents who they were and therefore made them who they were.
Now it seems that we are coming to full circle. but the exception is that this time the awareness is an intergenerational thing…
A few years ago a friend here in France said “All Americans want the war in Iraq.” Without raising views of the rights and wrongs of the war I asked him what he meant. He backed his statement by saying that we didn’t see any protests on the TV. So I reminded him of a vital difference (that had nothing to do with whether individual Americans were for or against the war; or with the way all TV news is biaised to show wh). The generation that protested VietNam did it because they risked being forced to go there against their will…drafted. The soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are all volunteers and that changes the deal.
It is too easy to look at others and say ‘why don’t they do what we did’ without understanding the context of their (re)actions.
Each generation as something to contribute – but none of us will ever get it all right. Good grief if we did, think of the impact on unemployment lines all those unnecessary politicians would make!
By hilly, February 9, 2010 @ 1:08 pm
oops I see the editing went haywire again…hope it makes sense to you
By Softly, February 9, 2010 @ 3:50 pm
Dear Pam M,
Your post has me confused.
On the one hand you question the possibility for humans to focus and witness without judging. Your answer that question with; No. You even are suspicious of people who claim they do.
On the other hand you describe yourself as someone who always put others before yourself, and that you are highly, if not overly, sensitive to how people feel, their thoughts, their ‘being.’ It amazes you that some people are suspicious of the motivations of the ‘giver’
I understand both statements separately, but it confuses me when they are in the same post, here is why;
If someone is highly sensitive to how people feel, think and are, does that not involve witnessing without judging?
Ready to learn,
By Sammy, February 9, 2010 @ 8:25 pm
“It’s when you don’t look for the light that the light comes”: This is just as simple as it sounds… or is it? we are trapped in a physical body because of our desires. The day we get rid of these desires, ‘likings’, lust we unveil the truth. Looking for it with all ones might will not bring him/her any closer to finding the truth or the path of enlightenment. Stop looking for it. Looking so hard is another desire .. Thinking of it will only mess up what you already do not know.
By Jo, February 10, 2010 @ 5:35 am
WOW, finally one I am able to fully understand. I’ve been following your blog Paul, and reading all the comments left, but have never been able to really feel as though I could join in. So much of it seemed to be going over my head (probably something to do with my state of mind at the moment LOL) This one struck a cord with me though and I want to thank you Paul. Your wisdom is something that many of us will cherish and sometimes even embrace, but the fact that you are human and that you share your humanity with us, is your greatest gift of all IMO, so again thankyou. God bless you and let’s keep praying for world peace eh?
By hilly, February 10, 2010 @ 12:53 pm
Pam (and Paul) that exercise works. I’d forgotten about that technique and I used it so often years ago!
Listening to your own breath is one of the most liberating things you can do.
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 11, 2010 @ 7:29 am
DEAR PAUL: THE HUMAN BEING THROUGH THE YEARS IS ACCUMULATING APRENDISAJES (VIVIR LA VIDA) WE ALWAYS ARE IN A VERY FINE LOOSE CORD WHERE WE CAN FALL UNTIL MADNESS BY DIVERSE MOTIVOS-DOLOR-IMPOTENCIA-ETC. .LA MIND ALWAYS WANTS TO KNOW MAS AND MAS QUESTIONS EVERYTHING – AND WE FORGOT TO ENJOY THE LIFE – EACH ONE MUST PASS ITS OWN INFIERNOS-PERO WE ARE FOOLISH – TO BE ABLE TO INCLUDE/UNDERSTAND THAT THE LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL WE MUST FALL IN THE DEEP MAS OF THE INFIER TO US BUT ALWAYS AT HEART OF THE SAME A SMALL LIGHT OF ESPERANZA.LA IS SEEN LIFE IS A CONSTANT LUCHA-PRUEBA… WHERE IN HER PAIN ENTERS – INFIER TO US – ALEGRIAS-AMOR – WE ARE THINKING BEINGS WITH FEELINGS WHERE EVERY DAY WE LOOKED FOR LA PAZ IS DAILY WORK (TO SAY IT OF SOME FORM) IS DAY TO DAY MINUTE BY MINUTE – THE MIND UNTIL PRODUCES THE MAJORITY OF THE DISEASES ARE PSYCHOSOMATIC (THE MIND)… YOU STEP AND WOULD PASS MANY APRENDISAJES IN THIS LIFE – IF ENCONTRO LA PAZ – I AM GLAD WELL FOR YOU – WE LOOKED FOR LA PAZ DAY DAY (WITH MEDITACION-ORACION-REZO ETC) AS ONE CAN AND WANTS IMPORTANT .LO IS TO FIND IT THE LOVE LIVESTHANKS PAUL BLESS IT TO GOD HILDA LIPORACE (ARGENTINA)
By Softly, February 11, 2010 @ 3:27 pm
Dear Pam M,
At the risk of clogging the blog I would like to share with you my attempt to answer your question: Why do people who show their feelings are some times looked down upon while people who hide their feelings are looked up to.
I don’t have an easy or short answer, I’m trying to figure this out as I go along, so please bear with me.
I have always viewed myself as an emotional person, ask anyone around me and they will agree. But over the years I have seen myself change. As a child and young adult I only had an emotional response to any situation, soft emotions like feeling all tingly when watching something pretty, falling in love or eating something nice and hard emotions like overwhelming fear, anger for being misunderstood, sheer panic and even hate.
Years ago I met up with a group of people who were into all kinds of meditation and ways of becoming more aware. I came in contact with soft ways of lifting the veil like all kinds of meditation and guide fantasy and the heavy stuff like encounter groups. Being very curious by nature but also very suspicious of people’s motivations and reactions, I tagged along with a big dose of reluctance and skepticism.
It probably won’t surprise you that the feeling I encountered most was fear. Over the years I have witnessed myself get all tangled up in emotions and discovered that fear has many faces and functions.
This is how I see it, picture a spring of water; the place where the water come to the surface it is clear and pure, then its starts to flow and slowly all kinds of debris gets into the water, things from long ago like fear and pain. Pretty soon it is no longer clear what came from the source and what is added. For me meditation and being shaken to the core in various not so soft ways gave me a lot of tools to filter out the “add-ons”
There was a period in my live were being able to “filter” was crucial. In the first few years when my dad slowly lost his mind to alzheimer, no one knew what was happening and it caused a lot of confusion and even more emotions. My dad’s fear came out as anger and my mom’s fear came out in panic and lots of tears, my brother fear came out as detachment and mine came out as filtering everything and becoming very logical.
Over a period of seven years big decisions had to be made, daycare, nursing home, hospitals, morphine-drips, casket, funeral. In that period I filtered the emotions from my dad, my mum, my brother and my own and tried to figure out what the source was, what are our options, how to balance everything out and help make a decisions. Being the youngest of the bunch it wasn’t easy and a lot of unfiltered emotions came my way. Recently we looked back on that period and my mum confessed that she leaned heavy on my logic and my brother told me he hated me for being the stronger one. And I had to confessed that I wasn’t that confident at all, that I had felt alone and afraid. I just knew someone had to step away from getting all tangled up by emotion, it just happened to be me.
In trying to answer your question I figured out that were emotions can get all tangled up and filed with debris so logic can get all cluttered with theories and opinions.
I also learned that when I’m in feeling mode I either look up at logic when it is pure and without opinion or judgement or I look down at logic when it is all cluttered and full of it. When in logic mode I look down at emotion when it is just add-ons and look up at emotion when its raw, tangled up but pure.
I also found out I don’t have an answer to your question, just another question.
When we strip emotion from the debris and we strip logic from the opinion will we find they drink from the same source?
Thankful for you posing the question, I remain forever learning,
By Rachelle, February 12, 2010 @ 7:22 am
Hi Pam (and Paul)
Thanks for the relaxing meditation suggestion!
Happy Friday, Rach
By marly, February 12, 2010 @ 8:26 am
By Pam M.
“I do have an observation about expressing feelings and judging, and hence a question: It seems that sometimes, people (read: people in general) who do show their feelings are often looked down upon and told that they are “too sensitive,” “over- reacting,” “emotional,” “obsessive”, “dramatic,” “whiney,” not “objective,” etc, while people who hide their emotions are viewed as “strong,” “confident,” “logical,” and “objective.” Why do you think this is so?”
Interesting question, Pam!
What do I think?
The first thing that comes to my mind is that it might be our western attitude towards showing our true feelings/emotions. From a very early age on most of us are being taught that we’re “good girls/boys” if we are “brave” instead of “cowardice”, “strong” instead of “weak”, etc.
We also learn how to behave like a girl or a boy…..if you’re a girl its generally accepted (ánd expected) that you’re more emotional, more sensitive, more dramatic, more hysterical(The English word ‘hysteria’ derives from the Greek ‘hystera’ — uterus, need I say more!) than a boy.
We’re supposed to be well adapted people when we behave according to the rules(values) of our society.
We’re often looked down upon if we somehow manage to deviate from those rules.
Those rules aren’t written anywhere (as far as I know) but it’s a part of our cultural “heritage.”
These rules are safe and secure, stay within their limits and you’re socially accepted, if you show unacceptable behavior (that is, unacceptable by the standards of the culture/group you belong to)people will tell you you’re out of line, you’re simple “too much” this or that……
In Japan, for instance , people are disciplined with suppressing their feelings. Too often(but that’s just my western view on the matter) children are being mentally and physically abused by their parents and/or teachers in order to learn to behave according the Japanese traditions.
Here, where I live, we have immigrants from all over the world. The differences between our culture(codes) and theirs may lead you to start believing that these people don’t feel the same emotions as we do. I remember witnessing an immigrant funeral ceremony where I felt shocked because of the hysterical behavior of the attending women…they were screaming their heads off, tearing their clothes, etc. The difference between their extrovert funeral ceremony and the so much more introvert way we, the western people, burry our dead was a real culture shock to me.
Did/do these people from another culture feel more emotions than we do?
No, of course not, we’re conditioned by our culture, by what we’re taught to believe is good, socially acceptable behavior.
Being aware of this helps us to respect each other.
On the other hand, on a more personal level, I often feel like I behave way too much according to what’s being expected of me by society and/or by the social group I belong to. It’s like denying a part of myself in order to be accepted……sad but true.
How often do I judge other people, people who don’t belong to my inner circle or culture as “too loud”, ”too dramatic”, etc.?
And how often do I judge myself as being “too sensitive” or “too soft” and experience this as a negative character flaw while maybe…….just maybe I’m measuring myself with the wrong/too constrictive yardstick.
All this makes me wonder how on earth we’re truly able to perceive/experience ourselves, to get to know ourselves, through all the barriers we’ve built?
Is one life time enough to do the trick?
I realize that this is a somewhat “black or white” comment about a very complex matter(there’s so much more to it than “just” these cultural influences).
Nevertheless, I hope my answer will/can be of some help to you, Pam.
It’s not really an answer at all, just random thoughts about an interesting topic.
Hopefully lots of other bloggers will share their own thoughts on this matter!
By hilly, February 12, 2010 @ 1:31 pm
When we strip emotion from the debris and we strip logic from the opinion will we find they drink from the same source?
All this makes me wonder how on earth we’re truly able to perceive/experience ourselves, to get to know ourselves, through all the barriers we’ve built?
Is one life time enough to do the trick?
If we strip the debris and the barriers maybe we will be able to live together in peace on this crowded little planet populated with so many confused people.
I think it will take many more lives to get it right.
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 13, 2010 @ 10:19 pm
On this particular day I leave my mind – Happy Valentine’s Day reigns — LOVE
By StripedTomato, February 14, 2010 @ 12:40 am
This blog has been interesting for me, if only for the fact that I (for once) understand what is being discussed in the comments.
I have a few thoughts at the moment which I thought I would share. Unfortunately, these thoughts may seem contrary to a lot of thoughts that have been written here before, so I ask that these thoughts are taken in the context of which they are meant, which is to gain further understanding by sharing.
The thoughts I am having currently are to do with selflessness and the matter of helping others.
So I’ll start with a question: What if the act of helping someone else in need actually hurts them further, by not allowing them the opportunity to solve their own problem and gain personal development from it?
I am one (rightly or wrongly) who believes that problems are there to be solved in order to make you stronger. Problems are to be owned, not shared, and this is how we gain strength. I have witnessed it in my own life (by having an over-protective father) that I am made weaker by his constant caring and help, when sometimes, I trully believe he should have left me to stand on my own two feet to learn to deal with my problems myself. Seems a selfish and judgemental thought I know: here I am deriding my father for caring too much and it makes me feel guilty to do so, yet at the same time, I cant help but feel a little bit angry that I havent been allowed the opportunity to tackle my own demons. I blame myself as much as my father because I care for his feelings and dont wish to tell him to back off as I know how much it would hurt him, so it is my weakness which leads to this problem in the first place. Do you see how “helping” someone else can actually hinder them?
Other questions are: who are we to decide who needs help and who does’nt? And once we have identified someone who requires, or even someone who outright asks for help, how should that help be provided? Do we just assume that we know whats better for that person? Or maybe it’s the person needing help who suggests what help they wish to recieve, and if so, is that actually what that person NEEDS? How well do people know themselves and what they need? Who are we to judge whether someone needs just a friendly ear, or a good tough “ruck up soldier!” (or something in between)?
Which brings me to a quote by someone who’s name escapes me for the time being (it was a sportsman who started life dirt poor and ended up filthy rich but I cant for the life of me remember his name right now) but basically he said “My parents were the first ones to teach me that what I needed was more important than what I wanted” – and what he was getting at was that when we ask for help, or when we want something, it is not always the things we need that we ask or lust for, but the things we want – which is where weakness, self-honesty and knowledge of self comes in to it.
My point is that if we are to help others and be less selfless, we need to be very very careful about how we go about this as it can maybe affect them in ways that were not intended.
As someone said in a comment above, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and whilst wanting to help others is perhaps one of the most noble intentions a person could ever have (whether meant selflessly or selfishly), I do think that people should also ask themselves questions such as the one’s I have raised. They may not be comfortable thoughts for some, but thoughts that I feel need to be explored if we are trully to help others in a trully selfless way, or even just to understand fully the concept of help.
I just thought I’d share these thoughts, not to be controversial or to judge anyone else’s position, but to offer the viewpoint of someone who has maybe recieved too much help through not having the strength to resist when help was the last thing I needed (but did’nt realise it at the time).
By HILDA LIPRACE, February 14, 2010 @ 7:22 am
By StripedTomato, I understand what you mean by that is not selfishness that many people have to go hell for a purpose in life just to learn but does not mean that if you want to help where there are multiple ways for it to go to a pediatric hospital to visit children to a nursing home to read them a book that needs to wear clothes etc but as an individual existential problems we have to sort ourselves I can not help you if you had a problem with childhood-adolescent-or adult each must find his way many times for help or want to help in the growth we stand we say spiritual growth of each person we know that change is a proseso hurt but we have to pass in our lives. another thing is when someone asks for help “you’re going to do, not going to help? if one is made out of the heart that many people are born so lenient in every sense of the word itself does not do it for love or to be good if that is felt in the heart or as many say in the mind -love-you just have to respect “all decisions made by the other person– love — HILDA LIPORACE (ARGENTINA )
By hilly, February 14, 2010 @ 9:42 am
Striped Tomato said
So I’ll start with a question: What if the act of helping someone else in need actually hurts them further, by not allowing them the opportunity to solve their own problem and gain personal development from it?
I think you are making a very good point here.
I have two observations:
I think that it is important to be sure that we are reallyhelping someone and not just satisfying our own wish(need?)to feel good. Again I come back to the difference between a genuine motivation to want to help a situation to change (and I’m of course thinking of people like Paul, the late Elizabeth and those who work so hard for EGPAF as well as many other celebrities who (frequently)discreetly do their best to combat the illnesses that robbed them of partners, friends and children) and those who make a lot of noise to campaign for ‘the cause of the week/month/year’ to get publicity for their own projects (I think most of my friends know exactly who I’m thinking of here. Sure they get attention to the cause – it isn’t all negative but it is “collateral” good. Question their motivation and their halos turn to rust and clang in discord with the backbeat of their latest hit. We need to ask ourselves ‘did I give to that because I believe on what they are doing or because I want to feel good?’ And at the risk of having insults thrown at me – do some people give to stroke their self-image a s ‘good christians’ or because they really want to follow the Rabbi Yehu’s teachings and work to help their fellow (wo)man. Doing good to save your own soul is hypocritical to my mind.
My second point is that in helping people too much we make them dependent. Let me give you an example (a true story) and you can think about it….
In the late 70s and early 80s I worked in an area of North London with severe social problems. I worked alongside social workers and health workers in chat in the US you would call “project housing”. We were constantly faced with the appalling consequences of poverty. (even me, in my Speech Therapy clinic!) One family was notorious for the fact that the kids never had enough to eat. There were 7 kids (but that is a whole different subject) all with different fathers and the mother was not only out of work but made no effort to find work because she got a good payment from the social security to live (and pay their rent). the payments were weekly (Monday) and by Thursday the kids would be begging the ‘batter bits’ in the local fish and chip shop (OK if you aren’t a Brit you may not understand that – these are the ‘crumbs’ of batter that fall off the fish pieces when they are removed from the deep fryer; they are waste.)
One day the social worker decided that enough was enough. She followed the mother during the first two days of the week and discovered that most of the money went on cigarettes, drinks in the pub and the rest went to the local bookie! So the next week she accompanied the mother to the post office to collect her ‘soshe’ payment and then she took her to the grocery store and spent 90% of it on the food that would feed the family for the rest of the week (the kids got free lunch at school). She took the mother home and helped her to cook a few basic meals for her kids.
She then sat the mother down and told her that if she wasn’t willing to take responsibility for her children’s welfare they would be taken away from her. It worked. Faced with a choice between taking responsibility or losing her kids – she chose to pull herself together.
the young woman was amazed; no-one had ever bothered to really guide her; no-one had asked her to take responsibility for her kids. No-one had credited her with being able to take her life in her hands.
the kids stopped begging for batter bits; they all finished school and got jobs…but the best bit; the most cheering bit was that this young woman who had come to think of herself as unable to cope; as in need of ‘support’ started to study at home; she went back to school and got her exams….and qualified as a social worker!
So the question is…was blindly paying out the benefits helping this family?
By hilly, February 14, 2010 @ 9:43 am
oh rats that wasn’t supposed to go ‘bold’ sorry
By michaela804, February 14, 2010 @ 4:52 pm
Let me say this quite explicitly. THERE IS NO WAY TO HURT SOMEONE BY HELPING THEM. Now, there is a real difference between helping and imposing your own will or standardsor values on someone else. To help is to take the time and care enough to first get an idea of what is in that persons best interests then work with them to bring it about. It means giving of yourself, not just throwing things at people that you have decided for yourself that they should want or need or kiss your feet for giving them. It requires commitment (ooooooh! A dirty word!) and the understanding that you might not get it right the first time but to be there and be really determined to give the kind of friendhip and compassion you would want for yourself is not a hit-and-run proposition. The problem is that people no longer want to take the time to be there for others. That is not just my opinion but I won’t beleaguer the point. You can debate and debate and debate until everyone involved turns blue and passes out. It comes down to making a choice, and I quote, “do you want to be part of the prob lem…or the solution.”
I have two things to add, then I will sign off from this blog foor good.
Long ago my grandmother taught me something. I did something I knew I had no business doing and caused trouble then got into trouble over it. I was crying (a very little girl) and She said to me that in this life anybody can think up a thousand reasons to do the wrong thing if that’s what they get a notion to do but there is only one reaon to do the right thing;because it is the right thing to do. That has stuck with me all my life. And it was true in her time, true in mine, and will continue to be so as long as this Earth keeps turning, whether people come up with reasons to try to avoid that truth or not.
Second. When I attended college my roommate was from China. She had never left her home town before. Much less her country. She was a quite, shy person who never raised her voice. Never seemed to get upset. That was why I was so surprised when one day she came flouncing into the rom with steam coming out of her ears. It seemed that in class somebody used that old saying about teaching a hungry man to fish rather than giving him a fish if you want to help him, and she had been horrified at how we “westerners” had “bastardized” that sayingz. She said it meant that it wasn’t enough to throw one-time at a person then go on your merry way but that you took the time to make sure not only did the hungry man have one fish for one meal but had the tools and added wisdom he needed to make sure he had food the next day and the next day annd the day after that. It was meant to warn against doing to little, not too much.
I think that self-serving interprtation of how we should treat our fellow human being just about says it all.
I wish everyone on thisd site the best of luck but now seems as good a time as any to log off for good.
By Laertes, February 15, 2010 @ 9:07 pm
In support of Michaela’s statement,
“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”–Buddha
By hilly, February 16, 2010 @ 12:47 pm
probably wasting my time since Michaela seems to have slammed the door but:
Let me get this straight – I would in no way saying you can harm someone by helping them. There is an old saying ‘sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind’. Whereas that is an extreme way of putting it, there is some truth in it. Sometimes it helps someone to tell them to ‘snap out of it’, ‘get your act together’, ‘get real’ ‘stand up and smell the roses’ (or whatever cliché is the buzz at the time); it gives them a chance to reassess their own capacities.
On the other hand….if we encourage dependence we are not helping anyone. Ah but were is the happy medium?
I dispute this remark “The problem is that people no longer want to take the time to be there for others.”. If Michaela took the time to look around she would see that there are thousands of people going out of their way to help others. The evidence is the opposite (or maybe she hasn’t noticed what is going in in Haiti right now).
Being there for someone can be painful; we have to face out own demons when helping them face theirs. but if you are a true friend to someone you take the risk – go out on a limb….and if you can do that for a friend you will do it for someone else who needs you.
And yet…and yet…her grandmother gave her a bit of real wisdom and she understood that.
We can only do our best…get it right or get is wrong; try, and succeed; try, and fail. And by whose lights is it success or failure anyway?
When I was a kid I had a book called The Water Babies. It was old fashioned even then; a little schmaltzy in places and full of the kind of half-veiled ‘moralism’ that the Victorians excelled in. (and not a patch on Dickens for pointing fingers at injustice)…but I digress.
In that book their were two characters. Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby (who was a kindly soul) and Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid (not such a nice person)…well as I said it was a Victorian ‘moral’ story.
their names are worth reflecting on.
By Laertes, February 16, 2010 @ 1:44 pm
“…a thousand reasons….”
“…and so the world became a darker, crueler, more barren desert, all for the souls of those who inhabit it.”
By Softly, February 16, 2010 @ 1:52 pm
Laertes,I don’t get your last remark
By Laertes, February 16, 2010 @ 2:33 pm
Maybe because I went for tact over literary integrity and left out the word “nescient” that comes before souls in that quote.
By cjjo, February 16, 2010 @ 6:21 pm
Before propelling myself into the body of this entry, I respectfully yet definitively request that no comments be posted in response to the following text. This is a one-time entry submitted in both defense and support of a fellow writer. It must be stated, therefore, that I do not consider myself a “fan” of “Paul Michael Glaser” but instead a writer, author, mother of three, student of the human condition, and fellow human being who–having seen (and experienced) both the most glorious as well as the most horrific actualities this life has to offer–feels in every way compelled to make the following statement, regardless of the inevitable outcome.
Curious about the progress of the upcoming work, (“Chrystallia”), I logged on to this blog and was, as a writer, appalled by the consistent perversion of the words, thoughts, and ideas of another in order to support some unrelated agenda. There is no worse feeling for a writer than to have his or her work refitted then taken out-of-context for misuse by others. There were entries in which readers challenged (in some cases excoriated) the views Mr. Glaser presented; however, criticism (in most cases) helps one train him/herself to be more mindful of how best to approach the way concepts or imagery is presented. It is not pleasant; yet it is necessary in learning how to achieve clarity in one’s own personal writing style, in conveying one’s perceptions to others. Still it must be pointed out that criticism is far different than blatant misinterpretation for the purpose of–by taking selected words and phrases completely out-of-context–using another’s words to support an unrelated perspective. Perhaps Mr. Glaser is able to shrug off such misuses of his statements and/or personal theories; yet some inexorable sense of outrage deep at my core would not allow me to let such an injustice go unchallenged.
The bottom line is this:
Whether one agrees with the concepts presented or not, these are the thoughts, observations, and impressions of a human being (not a soulless, emotionless, one-dimensional character depicted on a television screen) who–having endured the unendurable, survived the unimaginable–reached a point and time in his life at which he deemed it important to share with others portions of the lessons his life and experiences imparted upon him. The man made the time, took the effort to initiate frank, open dialog for no other reason a desire to share and encourage equally stimulating conversation. The least others could do in response is show due respect for the integrity of another human being’s beliefs (not to mention their significance to the individual who expressed them)!
In short: listen, share, question, discuss, exchange, examine even debate, by all means…but stop twisting this man’s–this writer’s– words to suit your own purposes.
Come on, people!
Laertes, as (ironically) the author/originator of the, frankly, rather obscure quote cited above, I absolutely must state that you, my college professor, and my late mother were probably the only three people on the face of this planet to have read and/or purchased that particular (decades old) analysis on the comprehensive works of William Shakespeare!
By Softly, February 17, 2010 @ 2:32 am
I get the quote, even the tactful version, but why here? Why now? Why so gloomy?
This meeting here could be an opportunity to rejoice in the quest, to discover new avenues, to enjoy the gift of others freely giving their take on things. There is no contest here and it can only get brighter.
Let’s lighten up and learn
By Rachelle, February 17, 2010 @ 10:34 am
Nicely said Pam! I appreciate this blog very much. I thank Paul for taking the time and his teachings have been helpful to me.
You’re right Softly – it’s an opportunity to share and learn. That’s how I look at it.
Have a nice day all and always ready to learn, Rach
By Laertes, February 17, 2010 @ 12:46 pm
I’m confused. How is this so-called learning to take plkace when the only people free to express opinions are the ones who conform to “the group?” And if some thing is important to another why should they feel obligaterd to lighten up, or for that matter sit down and shut up, because that is really what’s being said? How is is learning to speak just because someone opens a forum to speak, even if you are not interested in what the other speakers have to say (or how what you say effects them or reflects on the teacher or the discussion process) otherv than waiting for them to put a period on their statement so that you can jump in and say whatever it was that you were going to say in the first place no matter what that person said?
Seems to me that a lot of people make a production of telling the rest of us how much they appreciate this blog then undermine it by shutting out some, ridiculing or downplaying others, and rushing to validate (if not outright kiss up) the ones that are acceptable to the group, all the while giving lip service to how important it supposedly is to learn or share. That doesn7kt sound like learning to me. It sounds like game playing and attention seeking.
But to each his own.
I guess, at the end of the day, the choice is up to the individual. It was my choice to stick it out, curios where this was all going. The time comes, too, to make the choice that wherever it’s going is not a place you personally care to be.
By MoriaDole, May 30, 2010 @ 11:09 pm
Hmmm. Isn’t the core of the sense of helplessness a deep, inner fear that you aren’t really who you tell yourself or others you are? Not who or what you really want to be?
By Pandra, May 21, 2011 @ 5:48 am
This post reminds me of the Navajo concept of hozro-that it’s not about controlling your world, but rather about getting in harmony with it.