Archive for the ‘Philosophising’ Category

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

July 17, 2018

That recent rescue of the boys trapped in a cave in Thailand is remarkable many times over.

For one, the sheer drama of it, no question.

For two, the amazing display of humanity, of generosity, of what truly lives deep within our souls wherein hundreds mobilized and gave their time and their action and their sweat and put themselves into harms way (with one Thai diver unfortunately dying) to rescue these thirteen people.  The display of striving together, of aligning and unifying to drive towards great depths and first reach, then stabilize, then rescue the boys and their coach.  The teams of volunteers who came from around the world and worked as one.  Beautiful example of human nature and who we can be.

But for me, the most amazing aspect of it all is the trapped boys themselves.  To be entombed in darkness in a tight cave with water lapping nearby… and to not completely lose it well before the rescuers could reach them.  Thanks to meditation.  Their soccer coach had studied at a Buddhist monastery for a decade, and he led the boys in mindfulness meditation so that they (and himself) could be with it and to face the ordeal with a certain peace of mind.  Including for sure the rescue itself, which I can imagine would be quite a frightening prospect.  They meditated for an hour before each was brought out of the cave.

Sometimes the upshot of mindfulness is hard to fathom.  And sometimes, like this, it’s quite plain to see.  It allowed for calm to rein, it allowed for energy to be conserved, and it allowed for great protection, a lasting effect that dampens any potential trauma from the ordeal and, going forward, for facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life with greater and greater equanimity.

In the midst of heartwarming excitement, it’s a great reminder of why mindfulness, and why possibility.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

July 10, 2018

Something in image form…

… full of mirth and insight

(and even deep, profound, recognition and realization…)

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

July 3, 2018

“I don’t even know them… why should I have empathy for them?”

I heard this quote during an interview on the radio the other day.

I would like to answer the question.

Beginning with that empathy, and its cousin, compassion, by its very nature is a generous act, one given freely.  It is not transactional.  ‘Knowing’ someone is secondary.

We interact with and pass by and come in contact with and inhabit the same space as countless people in any given day.  Many, and sometimes most, of them are people we don’t even know.

Empathy is what has it work (and the more empathy, the more it can and will work).  It is what has our daily lives be orderly, safe, courteous, striving forward.

It is what allows them to aid you when you are sick, or had a fire, or were hit by a disaster, or are grieving, or are just tired and frustrated at the end of a long day.

It can be the outpouring of support that gets you back on your feet.

It can just as easily be that smile and little bit of service, so you can get home and put your feet up.

Empathy allows us to build communities and build all the great things that come from working together.

Empathy is strength.

Empathy allows people to take us as seriously as we want to be taken.

It allows us to be related.  To feel connected.  To be generous, loving, laughing, giving, collaborative, and all the ways of being that we want and make us feel great.

Empathy is the pathway to discovering our spirit, in the grandest sense of the human spirit.

Empathy downright feels good.

And here’s the big thing.

You can’t ever ‘KNOW’ someone without empathy.

By your question, you clearly want to ‘know’ people.

Just as you, very much, desperately, like all of us, want to be known.

If no one grants you empathy, you will never be known.

And vice versa.

Being empathic allows that knowing to flow, and with it comes being touched, moved, and inspired.  By others and by ourselves.

Empathy begets empathy begets empathy begets empathy.

So the why I would assert that you should have empathy to those you don’t know is because you don’t know them.

 

* And, of course, this is not to say you shouldn’t be empathic to those you do ‘know’ as well!  Friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, lovers, significant others, business relations, whomever.

** And the reason I keep putting ‘know’ in those quotes is because thinking we know someone in the same way we know arithmetic or grammar is not really empathic, for we are no longer interacting with the person in front of us, but with a story we have in our head about that person…

 

 

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

June 26, 2018

“It never even occurred to me to take Gorkon at his word.”

Captain Kirk

I’ve really been digging that expression, “it never even occurred to me,” of late.  There’s lots of insight packed behind it’s familiarity.  It is such an acute, apt, and accurate description of how our mind and, more importantly, our experience works inside of our worlds and worldviews.

It’s not “I couldn’t figure it out,” or “I didn’t choose to do that,” or “I missed it,” or anything similar… it is, literally, “This did not exist for me in any way, shape, or form, within my reality.”

It just doesn’t come up.  And so in the same way that it doesn’t even occur to us to step off a ledge over a gorge to walk to the other side (because we live in a world where gravity exists and ow), so too do we not attempt, or even think of, muse about, or have an inkling to do things that do not exist outside of [our; personal] reality.  Nothing hits our consciousness, nor do we take any unconscious decision/action in that vein.

It’s as though it completely doesn’t exist in the entire universe.

It could be about taking someone at their word, like Kirk.  Or a multitude of other things.  Asking a particular question. Trying something new.  Pursuing an opportunity we’d be fulfilled with.  Approaching someone to talk to them.  Speaking to our kids/friends/lovers/parents/boss/clients/etc in certain more productive, ways.  Trying out for a team.  Ending something that is detrimental to us.  Wearing certain clothes.  Letting someone else “win”.  Starting a hobby.

From the myriad of possibilities out there we get narrowed down to a paltry few that may hit our consciousness.  Like touching (or more aptly no longer touching) the hot stove, we live completely inside of that we see to be real.

This is where mindfulness can be such a boon, to delve into our stories and worldviews and open them up.  To create a larger sandbox to play inside of, to give ourselves freedom.  To let those possibilities and options show up.

And, next time, we get to choose.   Really choose.  Granting us power, self-expression, and a myriad of pathways towards the relatedness, peacefulness, creativity, and the fulfillment we all want.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

June 19, 2018

“Travel is a good thing.  You learn things when you travel, when you meet people out of your comfort zone from other cultures, you cannot help but learn and feel a certain [kinship], you see what you have in common with people around the world… that feels good.  And it can’t be anything but good for the world the more we meet each other and move around.”

— Anthony Bourdain

Travelling (whether literally or just figuratively) outside of our comfort zones is rarely, well, comfortable.

Sometimes it can be thoroughly unpleasant.

Sometimes, though, it is also downright necessary.

h1

Philosophy Tuesday

June 12, 2018

I once forgot to pay rent.  Several days after it was due, I got a letter in the mail noting I was late, that there was a penalty, and that from there on forward I was to pay only by mail order or cashier’s cheque.

I became furious.  This was the first time I’d forgotten to pay the rent!  The requirements they were imposing seemed draconian!  It was unfair!

Mostly, truth be told, I was furious at myself.  How could I possibly forget such a thing?  I’m a smart person!  I remember all sorts of things!  Knowledge is my identity!

I was still angry when I met up later with a friend to do some work.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get anything done (or do anything right) in that state, so I told them the whole tale.

And they laughed.  And it wasn’t one of those “I’m laughing with you” kind of laughs… they were definitively laughing at me.

That didn’t appease my anger one bit.  “What is so funny?”

“Are you human?” came their reply.

That was… and odd question.  “Yeah…”

“And do humans sometimes forget things?”

I knew, immediately, I was busted.

Or, more precisely, my calculating self, so full of fury and self-importance, knew it was busted.

“Yes.”

“Great.  Are you ready to give up your anger now?”

I fixed them with a stare.  My calculating self was not going to go down so easily.  “No.”

“Ok.  Let me know when you are.”  And they turned back down to their work.

It took me a few minutes more to stop taking myself so damn seriously.   The central self returned.

“Alright, fine.”

And with that the rest of the day went swimmingly.  As did my conversation with the office staff at the apartment, which resulted in them willingly waving all those ‘unfair’ conditions on my future payments.

It’s so funny* how wrapped up we can become in our identity, such that even the most human and common of things becomes a lighting rod and catalyst for upset, anger, blame throwing, casting aspersions, and more.  How vigorously we can work to defend something that doesn’t even need defending, how our clinging to a view (or views) brings down so much provocation.

And just how crappy that all feels.  How much it ruins our day (or longer).  How much time it can occupy.  And how much of a hindrance it is towards doing and completing that which we do want to do, and that would bring us joy.

The super funny thing is that it all felt so darn right to me.  Until that moment where, with their piercing question, my friend interrupted the calculating train there was nothing other than all the fury and unfairness.  Of course I should think that way.  Of course it was that way.

Developing mindfulness to catch those crazy trains is a wonderful thing, as is having a conductor like my friend who can split the cars and put the brakes on those same trains.  The deal isn’t to avoid or resist the calculating self and its train; the deal is to choose whether to get on or not, and even then (or if we discover our automatic decision was to get on…) we can still always choose when to get off.

Because wouldn’t you know it?  Things tend to be a lot more peaceful, a lot more clear, a lot more productive, and a lot more enjoyable when not caught careening on a runaway trip to Smashville.

 

* And I mean this with full honesty, no hidden sarcasm here:  I am truly fascinated by and find it hilarious how we humans sometimes operate, and how hijacked we can become.  If anything else in this story, I learned how endearing it can be to live inside of that world of “do humans sometimes…?”  It means a lot more love and relatedness towards others, myself, and the crazy communities we create and live in.

h1

What’s the opposite of a KF epiphany?

June 5, 2018

Well… continuing to explore that crazy amazing insight, I’ve hit that point where now nothing seems to work anymore, where all the amazing feelings and results from just last week now I cannot reproduce one iota and everything falls apart at the lightest push.

When you deepen your understanding and dive into a new or deeper concept, the masters have noted, it will feel as though you are beginning all over.

So, intellectually I know this is on the path, but dang if it still ain’t a bit demoralizing!

And I’ve already got the next practice scheduled to keep on playing.