Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pema says this

So, one of my quandaries vis-a-vis the workings of the world lately has been about pain avoidance.  I mean this in the emotional rather than the physical sense - though I've never really been particularly good at avoiding either one, to tell you the truth. (So, so, so many sets of stitches, me, and the dubiously proud owner of a silly-as-hell heart that just seems to love putting itself out there). And for awhile there, I was starting to believe that things like trips to the hospital for stitches and sundry, and getting my heart smooshed were a result of some kind of intrinsic carelessness on my part. After all, I, like most people, do not particularly relish pain, generally speaking. (And no - remarkably - I'm not going to get more specific there). But lately, in my spare time - I've been reading some Pema Chödrön.  She's a Buddhist (which might make her surprising reading material for yours truly. But what can I say? I'm going through a phase. *Not* a Buddhism phase.  Just a phase-phase. I think it's probably clear that I'd make a rather shitty Buddhist), and just generally a smarty-pants in the department of emotional intelligence (which is the nuts and bolts of why I like her). (And also, in the way of further, further digression - how amazing and cool would it be if universities actually had departments of emotional intelligence?! Hmmmm. Then one would surmise, we could have departments even *less* funded than arts ;) ).  

Anyhow - she writes about many wonderful love-y sorts of things - amoung them the silliness of our penchant for pain avoidance. And what can I say? I'm struck. Perhaps I'm not a masochistic nut bar. (Or not *just* a masochistic nut bar?) Perhaps - I might even be on the right track, if such a thing exists. Who knows. It just resonated, is all.  

On that note, Pema says this:

"To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.” ~Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chödrön

(Though none of this helps me at all with my penchant for finding physical pain. Sadly, I'm still pretty much just a clumsy goof.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment