All We Carpenters

Image taken from Google Image search

Image taken from Google Image search

I’ve almost always been a people watcher. I like people about as much as I don’t like them and anyone who’s near me on a daily basis will attest to the fact that I’m generally pretty great at sizing someone up and discerning bullshit from non-bullshit. As I age I’ve gotten better and better at discerning the parts that go into the makeup of an individual. Through the years this has added to my people watching experience. Truly, the human façade we wear in this life is a quilt composed of our experiences, thoughts, and emotions.

For a long time, when I was a little younger, I watched folks and mostly wondered what it was that made me different. I’d notice one thing or multiple things and would then kind of compare whatever I noticed to whatever was recognizable within myself as the closest corresponding factor – the closest parallel. To a small degree, this still happens but the context has shifted a bit. I still notice the differences but it’s very rare that I make the comparison or contrast.

As I continue aging and maturing (mentally, spiritually, etc…) this continues to be something I often do. I’m more able than ever to discern someone’s ego, their mind, and at times I feel like I can even see a little behind all that crap and nearly glimpse the part inside of them that is The Same within myself. At times this has bitten me in the butt because I find myself, at times, less willing to dance with the egos I encounter – something pretty much necessary within our three-dimensional universe. Of course, the way around that is to reach through those egos to some place deeper within people and interact with that instead. This is the place gurus often operate from and this route usually takes more patience to achieve progress, but the relationships that often result, or that change as a result, make that scenic route worth it.

Sometimes, being aware of these components of other people allows you to see yourself more clearly. We’re all (essentially) the same after all, no? Sometimes, for me, seeing something in someone else helps me recognize the same within myself. I’ve heard often that when we encounter someone we don’t like, or who has qualities we don’t care for, that which we feel repulsed by is actually something from within ourselves reflecting back to us. In many instances, I agree with this. In other instances, I think this isn’t true. Either way, whether you’re seeing in someone else that which is in you or whether you’re witnessing something in them that doesn’t apply to you, after a certain point you’re able to take a snapshot of what you see in another and use it as a gauge for your own self. This can be a very humbling experience and one that produces surprising growth.

They say you should pull the plank from your own eye before attempting to find the splinter in someone else’s, but I tell you lumber is the same regardless of the magnitude.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

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Ascites of the Prkrti

I’m seeking advice. Maybe.

I’ve heard before that when lessons aren’t learned as they present, they’re due to repeat until they sink in. Given that I believe in the concepts of karma and reincarnation, I can only assume as much is true. And since what I’m about to write about is something that visits and revisits me, I’ll go ahead and assume there’s a lesson I’m not learning as I should. Dear reader, please advise.

So… Where to begin? Allow me to set the backdrop for what’s in my head.

A characteristic of life is change, right? It’s been said that, in life, change is the only constant. People, being part of the cycles of life, are naturally creatures who’re inseparable from this. Further, being as much a part of these cycles as anyone else, it’s reasonable to assume that change will also occur within my own existence, too. Fine. Additionally, I think it’s safe to assume that in my early days I was rather typical. Don’t get me wrong: I was atypical in most ways. But in plenty ways enough, I was like any other guy of my age group. The point I’d like to make is that who I might once have been isn’t who I am currently, and the same can be said of who I am currently in regard to who I will be.

Here’s the catch: Whether you understand this phenomenon or not, if you’ve known me for as long some people have (I’m talking like 15years and 8years), you should understand that who I might have been isn’t entirely who I am. Better yet, whether you knew who I was, or not, after 8-15 years you should definitely know who I am. Ideally, you should also be changing in your own way, as necessitated by your own karmas and life circumstances-the implication being that you also are developing along the way and learning lessons.

Pause.

With all of this stuff in mind, especially all the factors mentioned immediately above as “catches,” how is it possible that folks who have known me for 15 years and for 8 years can be so mistaken on their understanding of why I do one thing or another.

 A recent example of this has to do with a dear friend of mine planning a vacation which involved a multi-day visit to out of state friends and a round-trip ticket there and back. When this friend mentioned these plans to me, my initial response was to ask why and whether this is possible or even smart right now. Truthfully, my response was such because not two weeks prior, the same friend was having a real crisis in his living room, which centered around a number of things –most of which could be traced back to money problems.  Apparently, when my response was anything other than jumping up and down squealing in delight, he was disappointed and brought this disappointment to a mutual friend who advised him that I wasn’t enthusiastic because I had no control over any of it. Nice.

Later on, when the first friend mentioned this response to me, I tried reminding him of the reasoning which applied all along: In one breath I was told there’s not even money enough for daily living, and in the next breath I’m told of a round-trip flight to the shore. As a caretaker sort of personality (NOT the same as parental), and having been the one doing the consoling during the recent crisis, of course I’d question this. Further, it makes no sense to suspect me of desiring control over whether someone else’s vacation takes place or not because my life remains entirely unaffected either way. I neither lose nor gain anything, regardless.

And so you have it… One person who, next to my own family, should know me better than anyone else on this planet and another who’s not only a parent but also has had enough life experiences to be able to tell up from down. Still, neither of them seems to understand someone they’ve each known well for 15 years and 8 years, respectively.

Being misunderstood isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s been a minor theme in my life and it’s been partial impetus for why I enjoy writing and wordsmith-er-ing and studying languages, cultures, and religions. It’s all about communication and understanding and personal development.

While it isn’t the end of the world, it’s painful. But maybe that’s because I expect more from the ones I love? Is that the lesson I’ve repeatedly failed to learn? Maybe I’ll abandon any value found in challenging others to grow and develop. I’ve actually mentioned this notion before and the answer I met with was something to the effect of, “Don’t withdrawal! Some of us need you to do and say what you do!” I remain unconvinced of this, however, and the whole thing is proving quite painful for me. What lesson am I missing that calls for this repeat?