Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Generating Kindness and Generosity In Every Day Life

Easter was a heavy time but after that I found it easier than before to keep a positive attitude on a regular basis. I would run errands in town and notice how cheerful I felt as I was struggling in the chilling wind on my bike on the way back home. I noticed how willing I was to erase bad feelings that had existed between me and people I was forced to be in touch with. For instance, a much dreaded visit to the social service worked out ok as I decided to try and be as open as possible about my issues so that she would have no questions or doubts in her mind... (ok I admit I was using a strategy of war by wearing her out with my ramblings so she couldn't think and only wanted to be rid of me, lol, lol)... after that I've felt more comfortable to turn in my monthly report and know that the bill for my electric heating will be taken care of. Some time ago I was taken by surprise when someone who represents the green card lottery program of the USA called me and talked me into paying for it without telling me that I can also be in it for free. Being Finnish, I am not used the assertive American way of selling things, and so I fell for it... Though I am upset about the commericalism that abounds, I've tried not to regret the 200 € I had to spend on the green card lottery I try and send it some kind of blessing instead...

Somewhere deep inside I have come to feel that the worst is over now and so I can let go of some of the fear I was feeling for many years when I sensed that I had many challenges and learning lessons ahead of me. Whether things will really be easier from now on or whether the difference is in my attitude, is hard to tell. I have learned recently that I am just as much an intuitive empath as I suspected, and it helps to re-establish my sense of self-worth. My past relationship took a great toll on me since my sensitivity was highly criticized. Now I need to re-instate a sense of empowerment and reclaim my right to be a highly sensitive person. I hope that somehow I will be given the tools to bring in more clarity on this issue. As it is, it is still hard for me to tell what is what - when I am worried I am not always sure it is because I sense a real problem or because I am being paranoid due to past conditioning. I so hope that someone or something will help me out of this confusion (unless I come up with the solution by myself, of course, which is what usually happens). I need to somehow be very clear on what to do when the end of summer arrives and I have to decide whether I should leave my apartment for good and how to do it. As it is, right now I have no way of validating the relationship that is calling me to leave my country and settle in America instead. It makes me feel inadequate, although I am really just being realistic and aware that true love needs a growing ground in order to flourish. Opening my heart to someone is not something I take lightly at all. Who knows, maybe what to other human beings may seem like flaws in me really are my strengths and things that I should embrace as valuable assets... I am sure that many are realizing the same these days. It is time to stop trying to fit in and making ourselves smaller than we really are just because of peer pressure from our social environment. Of course I am not advocating some silly ego tripping in which we go out with our 'truths' and impose them on the unsuspecting people out there in the world...

What really happens when we stabilize our sense of self and come to greater clarity about who we really are, is not some kind of vague loss of ego and slavery in the service of the greater forces. I remember how the idea of enlightenment always bothered me while I was into studying transpersonal theories and mysticism back in the '90s. Something just didn't really seem right. Although I embraced Mahayana Buddhism to a very great extent and especially felt kinship with the ideal of the Bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvar or Quan Yin), I just couldn't see myself as someone who would disappear into the Source in order to start all over (in a manner of speaking). What is now being brought out under the umbrella called 'ascension' actually helps me realize that the traditional way of enlightenment is not necessarily the only way of becoming free from the obligation or desire to return to Earth (Samsara). What makes much more sense to me is that I do indeed personify some form of Bodhisattva ideal but that my work on Earth may be finished by the time it is my time to go for good. Ok, I'm saying this because it's something I've felt for a very long time but have not found confirmation about.

What I am trying to say is that a stronger sense of self and Self, i.e. the experience of a greater emergence of both into each other and a more secure feeling about one's life's purpose actually engenders more love, kindness and generosity. This is because the stronger and more empowered you feel as a result of a true integration of life's lessons (as opposed to an inflated ego based on illusions about oneself and one's 'mission'), the less you feel a need to defend yourself. If at the same time you make a conscious effort to encounter your peers and your challenges with a positive frame of mind whenever possible, the more it will become a second nature to you. After all, new tracks have to be created in the brain...

Love is not something one has to force. If one is willing to allow it to grow and blossom in a natural way, then it will. Follow your intuition and create objects that inspire love in you wherever you happen to be. Have a pet (there's nothing like feeling adored due to the good feelings you are instilling in this little creature!). Spend a little on flowers. Try and avoid dwelling on injustice - resolve it as quickly as you can and then get on with your life. Try not to take things personally - most criticism reflects the critic more than you. Try and do things that make you feel creative and accomplished. Find places where you can generate kindness without having to worry about whether people want it or not (I find this part quite tricky, since I often feel that my gifts are not wanted). I have for instance found that photo sharing sites on the internet are good places in which to make other people feel good about themselves. Sit down and browse images you like and give comments. It's a guaranteed kick to make you feel better too. When you feel rejected or ignored by others (which again is a feeling that is very normal in this world and I tend to feel it all the time), try and let go of it in a conscious way. Sometimes you may need to bring your hurting feelings out, but I would suggest that you try not to pressure the other party to respond to them the way you expect them to. I know from experience that this is really hard... But practice makes a master. Some people are willing to do this work with you. You will find that someone who is able to 'take' a little more than others.

There are still a few things people can do even if they don't have any money. In fact I would recommend that we try and forget issues regarding money transactions as much as possible. This is for the simple reason that money is a highly charged subject that can cause a whole series of negative feelings and events like ripples on the surface of the water. When I am being bombarded with the assertive tactics of salespeople I get very cranky and confused, because they may be tempting me to buy something that I really want, yet I feel that their strategies are not morally sound and that maybe I should have no part in it even if the end result might be fun for me. While I am not against the fact that we must sometimes pay for services, I am trying to practice discernment about the ways in which this should happen so that no one involved feels distress about it. This may very well be the reason that I've been poor for a great part of my adult life. I am trying to figure out ways of getting around these moral dilemmas. And sure enough, when I can have some fun for free or for a very reasonable charge, I feel happy! (Ok, I am sad I don't have my own credit card but I am grateful my father trusts me enough to allow me to have one in his name...). But anyway, this joy is sure to spread like ripples as well! So let's forget (metaphorically speaking) about the super packaged goods in the supermarkets and go for the simplicity of an old time country market. Let's also be mindful about the issue of greed. Wouldn't you agree?
Artwork: Digita Abstract Photograph by author, copyright 2008

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