On The Upholders Of Tradition.

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When we do not allow others the freedom to choose and we impose our decisions and beliefs, we are being oppressive. Every so often we do this perhaps unwittingly. It is what we have always seen around us. Our elders who we look up to did the same as did their before them. We did not defy them and we were seen as good for that, and others have a duty to do likewise we think. What’s more we are lauded for running a tight ship. And who are we to question tradition? But make no mistake, it is oppression nonetheless and there is a touch of the desire to be in a position of dominance and control. The tools employed are that of subtle or veiled intimidation and manipulation. The repressed play safe and submit rather than be excluded or out of favor and face uncertainty. They try to find meaning and happiness within the structure. Are praised for their obedience and devotion and sacrifice of which a virtue is made. And often the seeds are sown early when respect for authority is inculcated, when independent thinking and a free spirit is discouraged, and when dissension is scorned upon or punished. Freedom is a prerequisite to happiness. Moreover, it is an injustice, however well-meaning, where an individual is not allowed to pursue his or her dreams or to soar to the heights that he or she is capable of. Besides would it not be nicer were people to do stuff out of affection and regard rather than a sense of duty, or under compulsion or for some other consideration; and also were people to empower others rather than look to wield authority?

As for our traditions, they are there to serve the individual and society and not the other way around. Their origins have a context and reflect the knowledge, challenges and aspirations of the people of the day and they must evolve with time and the changing situation. Either that or you turn back the clock to keep them relevant! Even then where there is stagnation, muck builds-up and the soul is lost in all the murkiness.

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Show Yourself.

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We try and conceal aspects of ourselves to avoid ridicule, and they instead build-up inside our minds and traumatize us from within. In this way what may well be a thing that nobody really cares about or is a part of what it is to be human turns into something enormous and a burden we must carry. We feel insufficient and then we either keep to ourselves and avoid contact with others, or we put up a front and do not reveal our true thoughts and feelings. Only before you know it these take the form of a habit and become an obstacle to genuinely connecting with people.

We all want to connect and we want to feel accepted and all we need really do is be ourselves, be less self-conscious and less guarded. In fact, the problem takes root early in life. For instance, a child in school does not want to come across as unintelligent and so does not share his views in class, or the boy who is told at home to not show his emotions, or the girl who is taught by a parent perhaps inadvertently to be secretive. On the other hand when you aren’t self-absorbed (that is key) and you let yourself be seen, it is truly liberating and empowering – it takes away the shame and you feel at home everywhere.

What Is Love?

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What is love? Is it desire for the other, or the will to control; or is it about dependence, or about give and take, and all that. Or is love a mind agitated with emotions of jealousy and possessiveness? On the contrary all of this contaminates love. Love is precisely the absence of these. Put simply, love is a feeling of closeness and affection that comes about when the ego drops in the presence of the other. For example, when you meet up with a friend and there is no pretense and no one-upmanship, you let down your guard and allow yourself to be vulnerable, and confide or unburden your heart with no concern for what the other might think of you.

Only after a while you want that the person is forever there for you or are resentful if he or she would rather be with or around someone else. Or you are angry because the situation is not as you want it or things seem out of your hands, and then you want to have power over that individual, and so on. In this way the ego resurfaces, love is lost and in its place there is now this holding on. We must realize that love is something that is happening within us and not so much about the other. It is the ego that is the problem and to the extent that we diminish it we experience love all around.

A Culture Of Obedience.

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Obedience is doing as you are told regardless of your opinion on the subject. This perhaps is needed to a degree in childhood for the limited purpose of learning. The learner needs to pay attention and follow instructions. Other than this limited function though, obedience is damaging. There is no exchange of ideas. You have surrendered your will and are not responsible for your actions. Why apply your mind or else express your opinion when the right answer or approach is predetermined and is that of one in authority?

Besides that, after the person has amassed all this learning, he needs to take the next step – to free himself from knowledge that does not corroborate with his experience. Only then can the individual live without conflict. But most of us get stuck and live our lives in the safety net of traditions and societal rules, untrue to ourselves, and consequently there is always an element of denial and humiliation.

And nor are we encouraged to take the next step, to question. There is comfort and reassurance in power and moreover the illusion of love and respect. When in truth obedience is about habit and training, or not wanting to be seen as someone that is bad or ungrateful, and about fear of loss or of dire consequence. We must make the distinction between love and respect and obedience. There is no emotion of love for instance at the moment when you are acquiescing contrary to your way of thinking and feelings.

Moreover, obedience in fact takes a toll on relationships. There is for instance a constant tension in the air. On the other hand where there is love you enjoy merely the presence of the other. For love to blossom you have got to remove fear. In that case obedience can be a willful expression of affection. Or you might say – “I love you and I respect you but I feel otherwise and am not going to this”.

The Power Of Love.

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Being in love is a remarkably transforming force that clears the mind of accumulated layer over layer of conditioning. You are uprooted from your past and have no concern for the future. You seek and desire only the ecstasy of being with the other. You drop all pretense, let it all come out without care for the world or yourself, and with your ego surrendered you rediscover yourself.

In doing so, love takes you ever closer to that which is love itself and the lone source of all happiness. You now feel an affection with the rest of existence. Your heart is cleansed of any anger and envy or hatred. Life and everyone and everything around you seem beautiful. You are bubbling with energy all the time. You are free and playful and there is nothing that restrains you.

A vital point to take note of here is that it is being in love, not receiving love, that brings about all this. It is something happening within you. What’s more it is irrespective of the object of your love. In actual fact there is an exaggeration of the other’s qualities and your compatibility.

As a final point there are two distinguishing ingredients in romantic love, the thrill of sexual excitement and a heightened and overwhelming intensity of desire. When either or both ingredient is lost it doesn’t quite taste the same. For the union to then endure mindful love must take its place. So be thankful for the time that you partook of love, when love happened to you …. and then move on if things don’t quite work out and do not in any case allow the past to muddy the present.

Keeping The Trust.

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Trust is not opposite to reason. It is supported and requires ultimately to be borne-out by experience. When exploited or abused time after time it gives way to and is replaced by doubt. Then there is anxiety all around and a dire need for a sense of control. It is agonizing to have to depend on somebody that you’ve lost or haven’t any trust in.

Our actions leave their imprint and we must be mindful of keeping the trust – be it of our child, spouse, friend, or colleague. Keeping the trust is about constancy, dependability, and instilling assurance and calm. It is about drawing out the best, encouraging initiative and independence, and enabling the other to realize his potential. It is about dealing with fairness, acknowledging goodness and contribution, and readiness to take responsibility. It is about being able to sense and understand the point of view of the other.