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An insight.... [Feb. 21st, 2007|10:35 pm]
A while ago, I realized that, in order to be happy, you needed to be able to stand apart from certain things. I could say "ignore" certain things, but that's not quite what I meant.

If you're walking, and your feet are sore, but you can't really do anything about it until you've walked another five miles, well, you have to be able to be happy with sore feet. You can't ignore that your feet are sore... that's the nature of pain. Plus, if you could blank the pain out, you'd probably end up doing that much more damage to your feet.

So you have to accept the pain, in full measure, feel it and understand it... but still be happy.

Umm. I didn't say this was easy, did I? Okay, good. It's not. I don't want to pretend it is.

Anyway... in order to be truly happy, you have to be able to stand apart from pain, because there's always pain. Even if your life is just plenty fine, bills are paid, nice clothes, shelter, transportation, no worries about meals, good physical health, there's always something. If nothing else, there's injustice somewhere. The world is so big, it can't be helped.

True happiness would demand that you be able to accept that injustice in full measure, to feel it and understand it, but still be happy.

Except... today I realized what I was missing.

There's no difference.

It's not that I mourned that I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet; it's that there are sore, shoeless feet and, yes, even footless people.

We aren't truly complete, we aren't truly connected, until the pains of all are our pains, and we're never truly happy until we can accept and honor all of those pains, and yet still stand aside from them, and be happy.

It wouldn't be true happiness if it was won only by closing our eyes to it, by blinding ourselves to it, by separating ourselves from it, saying "no, that's not me, it's not mine".

Somewhere, someone is hurting another human being in an unjust manner. That is an affront to you, to me, to the victim of the injustice, and yes, even to the perpetrator of the injustice. It's wrong and it's real and it's meaningful. We should stop it, if we could, but we can't, so we must live with it, and though we must live with it, we must also learn to rise above it, to accept it and honor it and understand it fully, but still be bigger than it, greater than it.

I think that it's impossible to see this truly and fully with our conscious talking-minds. (What? No, I didn't get this insight while meditating. Okay, yeah, but I don't see it *truly* and *fully*, either, okay!) I think this is where meditations of certain forms come in.

I'm not sure what the answer to this is; I'm not sure why it should be obvious that we *can* accept these things, and still rise above them.

But I think I at least have an idea of the question.

From: (Anonymous)
2007-02-22 07:06 am (UTC)
But I think I at least have an idea of the question.

Food for thinking. Thank you.

I always tell people not to wait for the perfect occasion, or even for the occasion to be 'right', because it will never be. Grab your chances, act while you can. Don't postpone happiness. Now only if I could act upon my own words...

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[User Picture]From: hmms_sio
2007-02-22 07:08 am (UTC)
Sorry John, puter acting up: I'm not anonymus, but saw too late that I wasn't logged in.
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[User Picture]From: ruth_lawrence
2007-02-22 07:16 am (UTC)
Dao, or, a form of transcedence-in-mindfulness?

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[User Picture]From: glinda_w
2007-02-22 07:43 am (UTC)
yeah. just... yeah.

not ignore, but somehow know it, and set it aside, while still being aware of it.

if I ever figure out how to do it, I'll let you know... but I think I've been working on it, without knowing that that's what I've been working on (if *that* makes sense?)

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[User Picture]From: pagawne
2007-02-22 09:41 am (UTC)
The quote "Ask not for whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee"
is really very true. We are all interconnected, whether we want to be or not.
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[User Picture]From: droops
2007-02-22 02:50 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting set of thoughts. It's especially poignant for me because I'm very cynical and have a hard time being happy despite the wealth and health that I have. When all is right I still find the wrong in it. And that's not very useful.

I really would like to figure out how to break out of that pattern. It will be interesting to see further musings.
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From: kightp
2007-02-22 03:01 pm (UTC)
This is the place where compassion - real compassion, not mere pity or sympathy - intersects with happiness, I think. And it implies that happiness, like love, is a far more active state than many of us give it credit for. It takes work, and it takes accepting the world as it is, in all its imperfection and pain, and choosing to be happy anyway.

The Buddha understood this, and the meditations based on his first noble truth are meant to bring that true, full acceptance of life's pain as a pathway to compassion and ultimate joy.
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