How to Genuinely Get In Touch with Others
Pema Chodron does it again. She is such an amazing woman. Today many people are promoting that "life is bliss;" "smile and life will be grand;" "think positively, and you can change your situation;" "stay away for the negativity of life;" and so forth. But these concepts are "flawed." Why? Because if these ideas were reliable and valid, they would be reliable and valid across the board--across the world--but they aren't. These ideas are reliable and valid especially in the Western world, but not across the board. I don't disagree with any of these concepts, however I do disagree with the flawed concept of living with these ideas and then disregarding the realities of life: poverty; racism; sexual assault; chemical warfare; child and animal abuse and neglect; and so forth.
Life is about people and our connections to them across the globe. As Chodron mentions, we may feel provoked, negative feelings may arise, we may get angry, or we may even withdrawal from the world, but these things that I mention is what life is all about. It is not about holding onto a feeling of "bliss" removing ourselves from the world or from people. This way of living puts us in a state of arrogance and/or a state of self-centeredness. These seem to be the North American values that are distorting what life is really all about. No wonder there are so many people in the West that are looking for meaning and purpose. We have lost meaning and purpose because we are no longer connected with each other. Humankind is regarded more as a piece of material, a thing, something that is disposable, and not something that is cherished, cared for, and loved. It is time to "think." We have lost our ability to THINK about what matters. We are getting thrown feel-good ideas that are removing us from the realities of life--PEOPLE and our connection, our relationship, with them.
As Pema Chodron writes, "You can cruise through life not letting anything touch you, but if you really want to live fully, if you want to enter into life, enter into genuine relationships with other people, with animals, with the world situation, you're definitely going to have the experience of feeling provoked, of getting hooked, of shenpa. You're not just going to feel bliss. The message is that when those feelings emerge, this is not failure. This is the chance to cultivate maitri, unconditional friendliness toward your perfect and imperfect self." [Excerpted from Practicing Peace in Times of War" (2007, pp. 74-75)].
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