Today is one of those days when I feel like I have nothing much to write, but I compel myself to write at least once a week just to capture a snapshot of my psyche.
I feel like I am taking a long pause from my life – as long as I can help it. I have a lot of survivor’s guilt: there is a ton of people who can’t even rest an hour. I feel like I should be using my privilege to do something for these people.
The truth is, I haven’t figured out how not to hurt myself yet. I keep trying to do things out of good intentions but eventually I’d combust. It is okay to combust alone, but not when people are involved. I keep going back to the concept of non-action:
“Many of us try to do many things, yet the more we act the more troubled our family, society, and world become, because the foundation of our being is not yet stable enough.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
And…maybe it is not okay to combust alone. When I am fatigued and sick, I cause hurt to the people who love me. It has taken me a lot of living to even be aware and be honest enough to admit this.
I read part of “The Book of Joy” last week. The Dalai Lama was saying that the problem with human beings is that we are too self-regarding. For him, we have to reach outward and connect to other human beings, to practice compassion. Then, we will experience joy.
This may be sacrilegious, but according to the book the Dalai Lama was groomed to be the spiritual and political leader of Tibet since he was two, so I am not sure if he understands what it means to experience so much insecurity that people become either very ego-driven or have so little self-worth that they keep giving so much away that there is nothing left for themselves.
I am not sure if he sees the psychological root of the “self-regarding” he is talking about. I personally think the answer lies in the marriage of eastern and western philosophy, to know who we are so we can become ourselves in order to have something to give, and to understand interdependency enough so we can have compassion for the other and our selves.
This is a concept that Alan Watts wrote about in “The Book”, there cannot be an understanding of what is interdependency without knowing what is independence.