Monthly Archives: October 2013

Spiritual Thoughts

The next time you’re stuck at a red light at a busy intersection consider the uniqueness of the moment. Look to your left, to the right, ahead of you and behind. You will never reach this red light again with the same group of drivers in the same order. This seems like a trivial observation, but it carries larger implications. What if every moment is significant and even the most mundane things are part of something greater? That there are cars and red lights and intersections—and that I might meet you there—these are incredible truths.

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Many people believe in the existence of the soul. They hold that the soul persists, that mine existed somewhere before my birth, that it will flourish long after my body dies. But what if my soul is something I create on earth—the sum of everything I am and everything I do? It’s the way I carry myself, how people view me, the general impression of my being in the world. After I die, my memory will live on in those I’ve left behind. Even after they die, we all will have been here. This is immortality—as time moves on nothing changes the fact that we lived today.

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You’re in a room full of fifty people and what you’re able to see is based on your position. The person next to you sees what he sees, as does everyone else there, each with specific advantages and limitations. But nobody sees the whole room. And nobody sees each person’s perspective. What if a view of the whole room and everyone in it, plus each person’s partial sense of the room and how he or she feels about it, is possible? That I can envision a force of some sort that can grasp all of this at once—this, to me, is God.

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Don’t Be Cruel

The other night I had a dream worthy of some Freudian analysis. A figure outside myself but clearly a part of my psyche asked me a question: Why be kind?

Why be kind when the world is full of cruelty? Why be kind when people can be so awful?

I’ve heard from more than a few women, upon expressing their desire not to see me anymore, that I’m a nice guy. I pride myself on treating people well regardless of the situation. We’re all suffering in our own way and the odds are often against us; a little compassion goes a long way.

But mean people take advantage of nice people. Sensitive men are often seen as effeminate, over-civilized mama’s boys. It’s not easy being kind. Sometimes I wish for a harder shell.

A dream full of questions left me with a partial answer. Why be kind? Because when you’re kind to people you’re showing yourself compassion. You’re being kind to you.

But my illness, hell-bent on keeping me down, challenges this axiom. In my darkest moments I abandon myself on the precipice of disaster. Life sucks and I turn the vacuum on full blast. I’m cruel to myself, curse my imperfections, swear off hope for a lifetime of dread.

I forget that I can’t show kindness to others without first caring for me. The world is tough enough. I can’t be strong for you if I’m too busying beating myself up. The question isn’t why be kind but how can we learn to forgive ourselves.

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