Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Discernment vs discompassion.

Those of you who know me through things like Facebook may recall a little while ago I was having some difficulty finding my 'core' response when it came to things like accepting friend requests, culling people from what has become an almost-too-large-to-manage-or-be-meaningful list, and so on.

Well as usual, the Universe has helped me along a bit.  As I maintained a bit of a focus on watching myself in my moments of discomfort - and those more frequent moments of ease, I must add - circumstances and the behaviour of others, seemingly out of the blue, lined me up for a showdown with my need-to-know.

What am I talking about?  I'm talking about self-examination.  My habitual wish to understand myself better; why I do the things I do, make the choices I make, attract the fates I attract, and so on.  Someone once said an unexamined life is not one worth living, and there's something in that.  We all certainly can name a bunch of drones we know in our lives, those who go around seemingly oblivious of their own motivations and processes, or if aware then uninterested in changing or growing as people.

Yet I KNOW deeply that self-knowledge, intellectual understanding,m is a blunt and limited tool at best, and just muddies the water with imprecision, the weight of personal history and memory, and the bias and skew imparted by the simple fact of employing language at worst.  I KNOW that just shutting the hell up and getting still and clean inside is all that I need to do to live well.  And yet.....and yet......there's this rattly old insistent mind going on.

As inside, so it is outside, que no?  Just lately I've been confronted with ciphers of my noisy and persistent intellect (thinking back though, when *haven't* I been, d'oh!) in the guise of others.  Good, ordinary humans all, but ones with definite agendas or worldviews or driving wounds or at least modus operandi that make them just right for chafing on my......what?  On my 'need to know' cicuitry.  My stubborn desire to find my truth, and live it openly.

How can that be a bad thing, you might ask, to find yourself closer and closer to you core being?  To God, as it were?  Well, sure, there is learning to be had, but it's expensive, and when it comes via the tools of the mind........see above.  The price to pay is endless conflict, friction, and wasted energy.  But if I am to have an opinion on things, and it is challenged by another, is it not my duty as a student of life to see where I might learn from the challenge, to test my truth against another's truth, to have it strengthened or indeed changed?

Actually, what I keep forgetting is that the answer to that question is not just "no", it's that the question is irrelevant and no basis for a contented life.

So once again, as I did near the very start of this blogging adventure, I am wrestling with this whole banana about having an opinion.  Being able to articulate a worldview.  Because that's ultimately where it comes from, a desire to express my experience of life, and the only way open - or so it almost always seems - is using words, these obtuse and clumsy sylllabic chunks of line and sound.  Ironic in the extreme too, as my speech and even typing abilities go downhill.  You'd think I'd be a better listener.

But then, sometimes, the Universe forces your hand with a bit of extremism.  In this case, it was an extreme other person (extreme in my experience that is, of course) who posed me quite the dilemma.  You see, this person has serious anger issues, and personal mental health issues which affect strongly the way they relate to others, and people thus affected can see their emotions towards others (and themselves) veer wildly from love to hate, and so forth.  Naturally, compassion is called for.  But then, I am also responsible for my personal space, and my sense of wellbeing.  The question arose; "where do I draw the line at allowing and accepting angry outbursts, irrational anger and venting etc as necessary to my duty of compassion to this person, versus my duty of compassion to myself and others who may share a space I have created (eg a Facebook feed)?"  Because much as I seek to be opinionless, to be beyond discernment (just a fancy word for judgement really), to be friggin' *enlightened* I guess, in the meantime I can only act by my own best way of being.  By choosing based on the most loving way I can accomplish in *me* and trust that this works out for others.  Hard though it is to have a true self-love all the time.

I procrastinated and thought about it for so long ("to unfriend or not to un-friend, that is the question") that my hand was forced, pretty much.  I am ashamed to say I was relieved at being relieved of the responsibility for action by this person pulling out of my life.  But then, not really ashamed, to the extent that it was an outcome that is good.  The shame is just a "should" shouting out from the ol' ego wanting to be running the show via the mind and concerted action again.  Urge to exercise control, again ironically.

Really, it's such a relief and it has made an enormous difference, just this one act of being un-friended, in my whole deal.  Because now I have lost - and I hope this feeling lasts, I'm certainly cultivating it - my hesitancy in discernment.  Discernment this time defined as "getting the hell out of the way and letting my first reaction stand".

In practice, it means there will be a day shortly where I cull a few FB friends.  In a nice way, you understand.  More importantly, it means my home relationship will change for the better yet again, and this is always something I want.  To grow in love with my closest friend and partner, of course.  For the hesitancy, the self-doubt, leaked out all over.

I don't doubt that I may fail again and again at this.  But a watershed has been passed.  I feel like my compassion flow has been re-energised, and in the third stated irony of this blog post via the mechanism of no longer extending my acceptance of the outward manifestations of an angry, struggling person in my space.  To remember that sometimes compassion from afar is what is right and it is no less real and good for all that.

Thanks for listening.  I could have done it without you in theory dear reader, but I didn't - I had you there in my life for a reason.  I appreciate you all, and love you, for your challenges as much as your supports. <3

I think the blog posts might run a bit more freely now too.

1 comment:

  1. What a great outlook. Your blog is rad.

    I had the same problem with facebook a couple of weeks ago. I resolved to close my account and keep in touch with people who really matter the old fashioned way (over a meal, or a drink, or a road trip). I highly recommend it.