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Posts Tagged ‘understanding’

It’s time to give a bit of a status update for my Lent resolution of giving up “Separation”, or the idea that the experiences I have of other people can be completely “separate” from my own life as a human being.

Today, there was a bit of a traffic snarl in trying to leave work. I had to take a detour, and on the way home, there were more “snarls”, which reminded me what an obstructed time it was in the morning to start with. It was just a day of jams and being in each others’ way. Inevitably, there were drivers who were trying to weave in, jut out, and otherwise “beat” the traffic game, as though it were a competition.

I had a curious experience in all of this. Moreso than normal, I had a deep appreciation for the frustration these dangerous drivers were feeling that “drove” them to drive so unsafely. I felt myself wishing them all the best, and lending my lovingkindness to prevent them from experiencing any accidents or injuries as a result of the difficult time they were having. I recognized that we are all sharing one road, and the accident that impacts one/two vehicles, impacts us all.

I realize it can be considered a fairly “mundane” epiphany, but then again, my focus is squarely on the everyday experiences we have as regular human beings. One of the most everyday of the everyday is the dangerous tedium of the commute, and it was in this everyday experience I felt a unity with the others sharing my road.

I figure, you might have some relative idea of what this might mean to your own life, so I wanted to share. Truly, all my best to you, for we are sharing one road, and I wish for it to be smooth for us all.

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There was a piece of advice on my calendar last Friday that I saw again fresh this morning when I went to turn the page. It’s good advice, if you get what it’s trying to say:

See as if for the first time a beautiful person or an ordinary object.
– Shiva

Lately I’ve caught myself unconsciously judging again. For some reason I’ve become quite aware of all my judgements and feelings about a thing when I look at it — for example, right now I see my sweater, and I have a quick rush of “I love that sweater. It’s so freaking cold in here. It’s a travesty we have to wear two layers of sweaters in the summer.” Each sight we see or sound we hear can bring in a whole rush of ideas and images and feelings that really aren’t about that exact sight or sound, just what we’ve come to associate with it.

While this is all a great survival technique, it can get in the way of living. When we’re distracted by our past experiences and expectations, we miss something about what’s there in front of us right now. We’ll miss subtle changes, and we can also lose sight of freshness and insights. It all becomes a big subconscious habit that keeps us from being spontaneous and free.

So yeah, I’m going back to practicing seeing things and quieting the flood of judgement, instead trying to get a fresh first impression. Already I’m feeling it, like a little bit of weight from the past is lifting away.

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