Friday, October 20, 2017

“I did then what I knew best, when I knew better, I did better”

That's a famous quote by Maya Angelou, and one of my favorites.

There are many simple, yet profound, concepts and sayings we have heard and know to be accurate, but which we do not comprehend fully and do not actively practice. We throw these aphorisms and saying right and left and fail to understand what they actually mean. No, not the words – the Meaning.

I cannot tell you how many times I have had this dialogue: me - “This needs to be done”, other person - “I know”, me – “I don’t need you to know, I need you to do”. It’s as if we are asleep and the understanding happens only on the surface, after which we forget about the profound thought, or, worse, find ways of discrediting it. Many say it’s because we are lazy, we don’t want the change, we are afraid of it, but I think the problem is deeper.

The problem is that our thinking is primitive. If we hold a pen with its pointed end facing us – we only see the pointed end; as soon as we turn the pen sideways – we see a larger picture. At first, it was three millimeters of… something we can’t recognize, only assume; and now we see it was an end of a pen, the pen is long, it has a color, texture, etc, etc.
Sure, it is so easy to understand what Maya Angelou meant with these words “I did then what I knew best, when I knew better, I did better”. It means people make mistakes and learn as they go, and they should not feel guilty about their inexperience, only to strive to be better persons. Sure. But this quote can be viewed from so many different sides. 

Here is one of them (I will let you ponder on the rest).
When someone is rude, or insulting, or abusive, or childish, or does any number of foolish things… if we understand that they are simply incapable of being nicer, because they are ignorant and don’t know any better, because they have no inner strength, wisdom and kindness to act any other way, because they are afraid – our lives become easier. Now the mystery of “why” is solved. Now we know why the rudeness. And we learn to be more compassionate.

However…

This doesn’t mean that we should let them do it to us. No way. The saying “If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” has continuation - “but don’t allow them to strike”. This is the crucial part of the saying. Yes, we should be understanding, loving, kind and wise, but we should not allow "evil" to be done to us simply because the person doing it is ignorant and we are not. If this happens long enough – only evil will stand in the end, all the good guys would have been slapped to death.

So, yeah… “I did then what I knew best, when I knew better, I did better”. 

x

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's a Myth... We Can't Love Everyone


















There is a new trend among people today: "loving everyone". It stemmed from a genuine, good place, but without understanding human limitations it turned sour, a must, an obsession, a burden. People go above and beyond in forcing themselves to achieve this impossible feat. Some have been brainwashed into following the trend and believing that it's doable. It's not. (Unless they've reached enlightenment, which, judging by their confused behavior, they haven't.)
But why would anyone want to love everyone? Everyone means sick people like Charles Manson as well. I don't think he "deserves" love like the trend suggests he does. 

The trend suggests a lot of things and all of it in a very indirect, hidden and passive aggressive manner.
It suggests that we are perfect. One might miss this subtle trend within a trend, but demanding us to overcome regular human emotions such as jealousy, envy, grief, anger - all in the name of loving everyone - does mean expecting us to be superhuman. This trend also advocates that anger, grief, sorrow, jealousy are emotions below us superhumans and need to be overcome and eradicated, like a decease. (But on this some other time.)

What I wanted to say is that we don't have to love everyone, we can't love everyone and a lot of people are mean and don't deserve being loved. Some of you may point out the Buddhist way of looking at life and tell me I'm wrong, that we must love everyone in order to become better us. I don't deny I could be wrong for those who truly strive for enlightenment, who meditate and actively practice the "Buddhist" loving. Those who dedicate their lives to achieving the "all loving", who have reached a level of calm and balance within themselves before tackling the hardest thing of all, being gods. 
 But people with everyday stress, rejection, work, chores, ups, downs, traffic, money, busy minds, dealing with others and their equally busy minds can't expect themselves to achieve the zen. And without zen one can't overcome jealousy and love the person who stole his wife, or who rejected his dream project, who told him lies, who hurt him, or killed someone he loved. It's almost impossible to love someone who means the mean things he says, reveling in feeling superior, belittling others to feel higher himself.

We must not blame ourselves for not loving everyone. It's better to accept early on that humans have human emotions and limitation and unless those have been overcome, we cannot and should not love everyone and that's how it is.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Go ahead, look up














When was the last time you looked UP? 

I have been noticing more and more that people don't look up higher than their eye level. But existence below eye level makes people petty, small, shallow, and forces them to forget the scale of it all.  
Some of them look at me as if I'm crazy when I look at the clouds, or the birds flying (around 6 p.m., hundreds of crows make huge rounds above Yerevan; it's bewitching), or the mountains, or the new Moon... I'm used to those stares, they don't bother me in the least. But it boggles my mind why anyone would limit themselves to just one plane or level of existence.

According to a scientific research, knowing and, most importantly, picturing where you are geographically - not only North, East, West, South, but also the relationship of one's location to others (say: west of Black Sea, north of Turkey, south of Russia, in the middle of the country, 600 meter above ocean, as well as the relationship of our planet to other bodies in the Universe) - makes a person calmer, more balanced, less irritable, better at communications, better at navigating through life, and rids one of the feeling of being lost. 

But even if that isn't true and even if our geographic location doesn't matter for our health, I still say go ahead and look up. Lift your face from the stresses and grime of everyday life, put everything in a different perspective. See what's up there. Let it make you feel lighter.
Look up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Channel your moods into your passion












All writers periodically suffer from writer's block, plus all of our muses are a bit fickle, only making the path we chose so much more arduous. But along with being inspired, imaginative, having good language, vocabulary and skill we also have to have the writing muscle developed, trained, practiced and exercised. "Everyday", as we are told by more productive writers.

To be frank, I have relied on my muse more than I would like to admit, making excuses of why I can't write, of what's keeping me from telling the stories that I dream about every night, and which have been brewing in my head for years.

Last year through one of those productive writers' blogs I head about NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) http://www.nanowrimo.org/, which is a virtual writers camp. You sign up with them, and during the month of November write 50,000 words of the first draft of your novel ("draft" being the operative word). This year they asked each participant to share information about them, hence this blog. Thanks for that, NaNoWriMo, you gave me something to think and write about.
Last year I didn't last for more than 16,000 words. (I had an excuse. Yup, one of those again.) But seeing how many people are successful with this program and are published writers now... Yeah, that gives you a good kick on your behind and says "if this is what you really want to be then stop wasting your precious time and be it".
I'm not the first or only one to drop out from this program. There are many things that stand between us and our dreams: work, people, being tired, society telling us "why bother?", not being in the mood...
But I decided to start channeling my moods and anger into writing. Good luck.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Foundation of the Little Blue Planet













Today I realized something, which many people may have realized a long time ago. But that's life - you learn things according to your readiness and general circumstance.

The reason Earth is still standing (or rotating) is people who are honest, fair, open, clear, straight forward, who take pride in what they do, take responsibility for their work and their own mistakes, who know how to communicate with one another and whose souls always smile. Unfortunately, it is a disappearing breed. Our world is filled with the exact opposite type of creatures, and, regrettably, they are running it (and look what they've done to it). 

Fortunately, we are the foundation of society. If not for us - these mongrels would have eaten each other alive and blown up this rock a loooong time ago. We are the reason why businesses still run, the buildings don't crumble, why these losers haven't massacred everything in their wake yet... While they are the reason why laws get more and more complicated, why trust is no longer in the cards and why the whole planet is warring. 

For us, this is a difficult society to live in. We are not well equipped for survival in the community they've created. Them and us - we speak in different languages. Our values are absolutely foreign to them. Explaining anything to these half-humans is like telling a carnivorous flower that butterflies it's eating also want to live. It's like reasoning with a violent truck coming at you. It's like fighting with a chainsaw.

We are what prevents these brutes from total destruction. Somehow we are able to tie and restrain this mass of filth. It's an arduous task, but I am glad we are.
"Мир строится на таких как Я."

edit: (according to Zophorian, who left a comment below, honor is primary and should be the origin of honesty, and I completely and totally agree. Honor.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Duality-shmuality















“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" - William Shakespear

Not many people know this fact, but there are no such things as black or white colors in our world. By true scientific definitions: black is the absence of color; white is the blending of all colors. While we, humans, consider them to be colors, they do not exist in nature.

Of course if we go a little deeper, then we'd see that nothing is as we perceive it. But it's not as if our perception is wrong either.
Take a pen and turn it so that you can only see its tip - that would be how most people perceive life, universe, existence. As we turn the pen sideways, we see how much we aren't taking into consideration, how much we are missing.

But I went a little off track here.

There is no 'this' or 'that'. It's not like the 'black' and 'white' we perceive, but like 'white' - all encompassing, or like 'black' - non-existent.
 
As I see it, this duality we seem to have adopted thousands of years ago and are still practicing, is the primordial sin spiritual teachings talk about. (I view the Bible as a book of metaphors and not true stories.) The apple of knowledge Adam and Eve consumed, thus getting banished from Eden... Knowledge of WHAT? This has baffled me for years. Knowledge of WHAT?
And then I realized: dualism. Creating these polarities. Taking a whole and splitting it. Separating that which cannot, may not and shall not be separate. And for that they were "banished" from Eden to a world of humans' own devising - the dual one. Unless we learn to perceive the world as a whole - we will not return to Eden.

Maureen Murdock says: "We live in a dualist culture which values, creates and sustains polarities - an either/or mentality which locates ideas and people on opposite ends of a spectrum. [...] We separate spirit from matter, mind from body, science from art, good from evil, life from death, women from men, fat from thin, young from old..."

But when does young end and old begin?
We cannot separate our physical body from spirit, because they are one. Is it bad? No. Is it good? No. It just is.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dear mom and dad






I guess, it's one of the most ancient stories: parents vs. children.

I've thought about this for a long time and came to a conclusion that a good connections between the two parties is possible (I've seen it happen); all they need is - no, not only love, mere love isn't enough, I'm afraid - communication, understanding and respect & trust.
Most of the families have the love part of the equation down. Then on the list is communication, then we have understanding with lesser percentage, and the last comes respect, which in many families is almost lacking. 

Everyone knows the definition of the word 'respect', undoubtedly, but so many don't fully comprehend what it entails to have respect, especially when it concerns their children.

While we're small we need our folks to tells us what's good and bad, to help us differentiate right from wrong, to tell us that fire burns, to forbid us hanging out with dangerous crowds, to show & teach us how the world operates. As we grow older this sort of parenting needs to be slowly replaced with support, understanding, acceptance, trust and respect. Of course, I don't think there is a specific date or age for this: it's gradual and individual.

I know the scariest part of parenting is realizing that your children no longer need you. But this isn't true, we always need them, just not in the same way, not for the same things. True - we don't need them to tell us fire burns, but we want their support, when we do decide to stick our hand in that fire. There is always a need for them to give us advice and to think and care about us, but we no longer need them to choose and think for us.

Parents forget that when they were the age of their grown children - they already had families and kids. They considered themselves adults, which according to Merriam-Webster dictionary means fully developed and mature. So how does it happen that they were "fully mature" at our age, yet we're not? Why do they think we are incapable of making our own decisions, our own choices? Why do they think they know what's good for us? Why don't they trust us to choose the right path for ourselves? After all, this is our life not theirs; it's us who'd have to live with those choices for the rest of our lives. 
Well, it's many things, really: a little fear of being unneeded, a habit, maybe control issues, but mostly I think it's because they expected us to be someone else. Someone who would, with their help, fulfill the perfect life they pictured for themselves. 
But this is not how things are meant to work.

I've heard the same story many a times: "I wanted to be a 'blank', but my parents wouldn't approve, so I had to sneak around doing what I loved, now I'm successful at the 'blank'." And if not successful, then content.

Yes - we all make mistakes, yes - they've had more experience then us, however that doesn't mean they know how life would turn out in our case. They can't know what future holds. 

By not understanding our choices, by not trusting us that they are right for us, our parents undermine their own parenting job. By not trusting us, they in turn don't trust themselves. After all, the fact that we aren't drug addicts or serial killers, started with them.

Of course, I don't think they behave like this out of malice, and many people would tell me that it's all because they love us... To which I'd reply - Duh! Of course they love us. Why else do we forgive them? If someone other said the things we hear from our folks - we'd wage war on them.
They love us, that's why we care what they say. We love them, that's why it matters how they view us. Just a little more understanding, a pinch of respect, a spoonful of trust and then we can eat it.