This has been a very interesting week for me. On Saturday, March 10. 2012, my mom was taken to the hospital ER, she was admitted to the hospital for what seemed to be the Flu and severe dehydration, her kidneys weren’t working to well. She was given lots of fluids, but on Sunday her kidneys and her liver had started to shut down. I thought she might die Sunday night. Since then she has slowly started to get better, but she has had a domino effect happen, her kidneys slowly started to work again, but then she had a gallstone exit through her pancreas, which was very painful, only to enflame her pancreas, which caused swelling, which enflamed her lungs, and ended up causing her some heart rhythm issues. All and all the last week and a half have been a roller coaster of life experiences. For her, for me, and for all the people who love my mom. Good news is she is starting to improve and today or tomorrow should be moving out of the ICU and into the ACU… But, all these ups and downs have forced me to work very hard on using my own tools. Several things have sort of crystalized for me. I think I figured out the purpose of my life. I will tell you it’s not exactly what I thought it would be… go figure.
From an existential perspective, it’s obvious that none of us can live another persons life for them. But, more importantly, it’s not our job, in fact we stop them from learning what their life journey is trying to teach them if we try to ‘save’ them from their experience. Our job is to work on becoming the best Human Being that we can become, in every situation. That’s it. In working only on our own journey, we open ourselves to be more honest, true, and courageous. We can only sit in compassion with another when we give up on the attachment we have to life being different than it is. Seriously, nothing outside of this Unique Singular Experience that we are each having is important. The more we work on becoming the best Human Being we can be, the better our life feels to us, the less we are rocked by the ups and downs. I am not saying that we don’t feel sad, but instead of creating a drama or story around the sad, we allow ourselves to just sit with it, experience it and then let it pass. When I say, the best Human Being possible, it doesn’t mean that we allow others to treat us badly, we just stop taking their actions personally, their behaviors tell us about them, not ourselves, so we set a limit or a boundary, and when they trigger us, we ask ourselves, why and I choosing to be in a relationship with this person, or what do I need to learn from this experience. The goal is to be in balance emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. This is all very easy in theory, but the practice takes real effort. The journey to love oneself, so that we can truly be loving and compassionate to others comes when we stop personalizing anything, we work to hold in our mind the question, “is what I am about to say, think, or do, going to help me on my journey to becoming the very best human being I can be?” If no, then sit with it and rethink it till you can come up what a response that helps you on your own journey. I think its very hard to follow the profound ideas of what spiritual masters are trying to teach us, if we don’t work very hard on our own journey.
Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22.37-40 ESV) How can we hate others or create drama if we are focused on what Christ said was really the only important things to do?
Mohammed said, “Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind. And, To overcome evil with good is good, to resist evil by evil is evil.” Here is another example of the same philosophy, focus on your own journey to be the best human being you can be.
Buddha said, “To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If one can control their mind, they can find their way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will come naturally to them.” And, again it’s here.
They seem all to be trying to remind us, work on oneself before you work on others. Judgement and criticism only take you away from your own journey. The more I focus on you, positively or negatively, the less attention I am paying to my own behaviors and responses. Plus, how someone behaves to you, is only telling you about them, it says nothing about you… only your own reaction speaks to you about you.