Wednesday, April 26, 2006
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
A conversation with an old schoolmate of mine has led to a very interesting revamping of old ideas and prejudices. If one carries an innate fear or disliking of everything that is different or unusual to them into adulthood, immediately shunning those who are less like them, one is not only limiting their experience, but at the same time enforcing that which we all know to be the root of all ignorance.
I am very guilty of that, and I think most people are. It is rare indeed to find another soul that accepts everyone and every thing as they are, instead of constantly limiting or even demeaning that which is not. To live so wrapped up in your own ideas, thoughts, and emotions is a life I had created for myself, knowing that while I was doing that, people were doing the same to me.
To actually think of all the times I have made snap judgments of something and then later been shown to be a fool, you’d think that would make this path of “freeing ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion” easier. Sadly, I am one that needs to make the same mistakes over and over again before it finally registers.
I have a very small circle of friends, and a very limited idea of what is “good” or what is “desirable”. One comforting thought is that I know there are plenty of people just like me, who see life as one of constant change and evolution. On too many of my habits I have become increasingly ridged, though, and it is with these that deserve the most effort to change.
Many days, lost in thought, I feel like my two year old son knows more about life than I do. He is very shy, though, and I find myself to be concerned with that. I don’t want him to be withdrawn and introverted like I was, and I don’t want him to live only in his comfort zones like I did, and still do for the most part.
The problem with that is a selfish one. I realize that by pushing him to be more social, I am also pushing myself out there as well..and that is one thing that I am still not comfortable with. The very idea of play-dates and meeting strangers and forming new relationships with peers just drains me.
Over the years I have found that a sense of humor will get you through quite a lot life has to throw at you, and I can say that mine has developed as a defense more than something I actually derive pleasure from. If you can hold on to that personality, the fool, the outgoing liberal loudmouth, then people will take you at face value and not wish for more from you than entertainment.
My biggest dream as a child was to be a hermit. I wanted nothing more than a shack in the woods, quiet, and no people to answer to. Until that day came I’d be satisfied with merely paying lip-service to society, smug in the knowledge that I am smarter than they are, and deserve to remain isolated from their idea on what is normal.
As an adult, I know I am seriously full of shit. I know I’m not that smart, I’ve known smarter, and I know that what is “normal” doesn’t exist anyway. I could tell myself I don’t need anyone till the cows came home, but that wouldn’t make it true. I need my son like I need air to breathe, and I need my family and my friends. So, it would seem I am at a compromise.