Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Human Nature, Life, Living, Love, Oppression, Self, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Talents and Skills, Values

Love and Authenticity

SUMMARY: Mutual love with another person typically provides inspiration and encouragement to be true to ourselves.

(About a 4 minute read)

When I was nineteen, I met the first great love of my life.  A woman I believed to be so remarkable that I arranged for us to have a heart-to-heart discussion about what I could do to become more like her.

Unfortunately, life’s currents soon enough separated us when I had to move out of town.  But about a year after I’d met her, something quite strange happened.  I was thinking over my life one evening when I recalled a traumatic event of my childhood. That in itself was strange because the event had so traumatized me that I had no other way to deal with it than — for years — simply refusing to think about it for more than a second or two at a time.  Yet, here I was actually recalling it as fully as I could for the first time since the event had happened.

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Belief, Consciousness, Human Nature, Knowledge, Life, Living, Religion, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Transformative Experience

What is a Mystical Experience Like?

“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”  ― Zhuangzi, 

SUMMARY: While it is nearly impossible to adequately communicate the content of a mystical experience to a non-mystic who has never had one, somethings perhaps can be said about the experience that might shed some light on it.

(About a 9 minute read)

Suppose you came across a community of people living in the Amazon rain forest who had never before seen — or even heard more than a rumor or two — of people like you or of your culture and civilization.

Further suppose, upon learning their language, you discover it is beautifully suited to expressing the interrelatedness of all things, but there is neither any word for “god” nor any words that can be used to express the concept of god.  In short, the people have no concept of metaphysics at all.

The world, to them, is not much more than what it appears to be, and the closest you can come to telling them about god more or less translates into “Big Hidden Man/Woman”, which makes them wonder whether you’re talking about a transgendered human of inordinate size who hides behind bushes and trees.

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Family, Human Nature, Life, Living, Oppression, Quality of Life, Self-Knowledge

When Relationships Turn to Stone

SUMMARY:  The peculiar fact that couples can get into ruts that neither partner wants, but which both think the other one does.  Three possible reasons for such ruts are miscommunication, lack of complete self-knowledge, and personal change.

(About a 5 minute read)

A curious thing happened some years ago when a couple I knew broke up.  Since I tried to stay in touch with both of them, I was privy to how each of them took the break up.  After a predictable period of grief, both found other partners almost at the same time.  And that’s when the strangeness began.

Each in turn confided in me that they felt “liberated”.  But not from anything evil — they had not broken up because one or the other of them was a bad person.  They had simply failed to see eye to eye on so many issues their relationship became untenable.  What each assured me he or she felt liberated from was the “rut” they’d been in.

But that wasn’t all of it.  It wasn’t even the surprising part.  What astonished me was when now and then the two of them would — without knowing what the other had said — “agree” that it was the other person who had liked or disliked something — not them themselves.

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Abuse, Human Nature, Ideas, Learning, Life, Living, New Idea, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge

Familiar Suffering

SUMMARY:  Why does it seem so many of us prefer to suffer, rather than do what seems obvious to others will bring about an end to our particular suffering?  Perhaps one reason is that we fear the unknown.  Perhaps another reason is that it is generally difficult to understand what would be better than our current circumstances if we are unfamiliar with what would be better.

(About a 3 minute read)

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I think many of us — especially when we’re young — now and then come across someone we believe we can save.  That is, someone who is recognizably messed up, but not so messed up that we deem them beyond “straightening out”.

Sadly, you cannot save, you cannot straighten out, someone.  They have to do it themselves. The most you yourself can provide is encouragement and — if you’re lucky — wise guidance.  But how many of us understand that about people before we ourselves have tried — often more than once or twice — to save someone?

I know that was a hard lesson for me to learn.  One of the hardest parts of it was to grasp that so many of us prefer the misery we know to the happiness we don’t know.

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Adolescence, Adolescent Sexuality, Attachment, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Coffee Shop Folks, Coffee Shop Stories, Family, Fatherless Children, Fatherless Daughters, Fatherless Girls, Friends, Human Nature, Jackie, Jerks, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mental and Emotional Health, Obsession, People, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sarah, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Sex, Sexuality, Society

All the Young Women

SUMMARY: I take a look at the women I met some years ago in Colorado Springs, and then draw a few conclusions about the challenges they faced at that time in their lives.

(About a 8 minute read)

People are often more predictable than life itself.  I can often predict, with surprising accuracy, what a long-term friend will do in almost any situation, but my life has taught me that it can be considerably more difficult to predict where I will be in a year or two.

I certainly did not expect when I came to Colorado that I would soon know — at least casually — about 200 young men and women twenty years younger than me, nor that about two dozen of them would befriend me.

Yet that’s what happened — largely as a direct consequence of my choosing to frequent a coffee shop that both served the cheapest cup in town and was the hang out of hundreds of local high school students.  Since it was also the oldest and most established coffee shop in town, it was also the hang out of everyone else — from the mayor and some city council members to several homeless people.

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Attachment, Buddhahood, Buddhism, Consciousness, Cultural Traits, Culture, Emotions, Enlightenment, Human Nature, Ideas, Knowledge, Life, Living, Memes, Mysticism, Neuroscience, Psychology, Quality of Life, Religion, Satori, Science, Self, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Self-Realization, Sense of Relatedness, Spirituality, Thinking, Transformative Experience

What is Spiritual Enlightenment?

(About a 9 minute read)

When I was at university, I met a woman two years older than me who seemed to me at the time to be so psychologically healthy that I had not expected people could be that “together” before I met her.  She changed not only my ideas of psychological health, but a number of my ideas of what people were and could be.

One day, she and I were talking when the topic of enlightenment came up.  I had only recently heard of the idea and I told her I wanted to find out if it was true.

“Oh, it’s real”. she said, “And it’s my life’s goal to attain it.”

I didn’t know — and I didn’t ask —  how she knew it was real.  The idea was so new to me that I had scarcely heard any evidence for it at that point.  But I did realize she was a very rational person and most likely had reasons she considered solid for believing it existed.

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Emotions, Human Nature, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Passion, Quality of Life, Self, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality

How to Pass the Time When You’re Dead Before You Die

(About a 5 minute read)

“Some people die at 25, and aren’t buried until 75.” — Anonymous, but often attributed to Benjamin Franklin.

 

Of course, people have a right to live their lives as they wish, so long as they do not interfere with the rights of others to do the same.  Still, it is interesting to observe the choices they make, and the consequences of those choices.

For instance, I think many of us choose, perhaps at relatively young ages, to go through life without truly living.  We have neither love nor the passion it brings, having erected psychological barriers against those things.

We might go to school, graduate, find work, get married, get promoted, have kids, and so forth, but we are shells.  We are not living as fully as we could.

Curious things happen when we do that.

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