Sunday, August 04, 2002

Apparently I'm not the only one exploring the world of Buddhist thought...and I'm glad to hear it. My intelligent friend and neighbor Paul has reminded me that, along with compassion and a basic belief in inherent good, Buddhist idealogy emphasizes patience. I hope he won't mind if I include his own words..."I think more than just compassion though we also need patience (another tenet of Buddhist thought). We are all in such a hurry to change the world that we sometimes forget that it takes time for others to grasp the meaning of what were talking about or even allow them to explain why they are the way they are. Rather than be patient and allow people to adjust over time we become frustrated and immediately
discount their abilities to change. What then happens is these people feel misunderstood, frustrated themselves, and then angry which is then projected onto those that have tried to help. Having the best intentions, however lacking the necessary patience, those who wish to help end up causing more strife."

It's a thoughtful, important and interesting point. I was thinking about what he said about letting others have the chance to explain themselves. It occurred to me that - so often - when we ask questions of people who we know think and act really differently from ourselves, we aren't truly interested in the answers. We ask loaded questions and, beyond even anticipating the responses, we go as far as to be thinking ahead to OUR responses to their responses. Headway will never be made in this fashion. For a spirit of change to really take hold, we need to ask questions and then be open to hearing the responses...really HEARING them, listening to them. That is my challenge for myself.

My radiant and articulate friend Laurie also had some thoughts on the subject (with the Psych degree to back them up)...."Their [the Buddhist school's] take on Western Psychology (actually, through my cross-cultural studies, I’ve found that 99% of all psychology is STILL Western, actually, mostly AMERICAN WESTERN, and change is happening, but quite slow) is right on the mark, which is why most people don’t like going to see a “shrink,” since we look to them to control and fix us, as opposed to sitting next to us and guiding us." Guides...isn't that what we all want? Spiritual guides and human mentors...I mean, we ALL have something left to learn (some of us have lots and lots and LOTS to learn, starting with myself, of course).

Soooo much more yet to be figured out...never stop wondering, never stop learning.

I learned something about myself the other day - a very important something. I went out to breakfast with a few co-workers the other morning, after work. This was a goodbye sort of breakfast as it was one of my last nights at work and the friends that were there wouldn't be working on my actual last night. So, as I was pulling away from the parking lot, after a few hugs and the exchange of some "ahh, I like you, I'm gonna miss you" sentiments(only in Spanish), I found that I was crying. Like, I really WAS gonna miss these people. I know it's only been two months, but you can make some nice connections in two months...there are many, many warm and amazing people out there. And here's what I learned about myself: I'm tired of moving on. I used to feel like I had turned my heart off. I was so used to moving around the country and starting and quitting jobs and stuff, that I became de-sensitized to loss. I didn't miss people. I mean, I did from time to time, and there are people that I've chosen to keep in touch with over the years, but I didn't let the emotion really take hold in me, didn't feel the pain of it.

I think that's horrible. I think it shows a lack of understanding of human value and the importance of meaningful relationships (friendships and otherwise). I'm not like that anymore. The older I get, the more it hurts...just planting little seeds, sending down little baby roots, and then ripping everything up and moving on. I'm ready to settle in some more, which is partly why I can't wait to get back to San Jose. I've finally let myself call a place home, and been there long enough to where I can run into people I know walking down the street downtown. While I do want to come out to Colorado for graduate school eventually, I know it's gonna be really hard to leave San Jose (I can hear the snickers of all you people who have wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of Dodge, but I've been a lot of places, and I can say that, for me, San Jose holds a unique kind of charm, despite its urban sprawl and techie MADNESS). No more uprooting all the time. At some point, moving on is nothing more than just empty searching (for me at least). In the past, I've prided myself on not being afraid of change. But is being afraid of NOT changing any better? I feel like the proverbial bachelor...afraid to commit. I'm not talking about relationships here, but that thing I mentioned before - fear of sticking with something and seeing where it can take me, which includes just STAYING PUT for a little while!!!!

We'll see where this road leads....

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