Sunday, April 5, 2009

Passing On...

Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves.
Thich Nhat Hanh

I have only three enemies. My favorite enemy, the one most easily influenced for the better, is the British Empire. My second enemy, the Indian people, is far more difficult. But my most formidable opponent is a man named Mohandas K. Gandhi. With him I seem to have very little influence.
Gandhi

....this friend of mine told me about how, coming back from month-long yoga retreats she’s found herself unable to relate to her own name....I said I’m always like that....I don’t think this is a sign of my enlightenment, though, impending completed, or any which way...then, I don’t think either my name or who I really am means anything...or if it does it means something just this second and it’ll mean something else in the next....somebody, I think it might’ve been Thich Nhat Hanh, said we die with every outbreath and we’re born again with every inbreath...actually, maybe he didn’t say that...maybe it was somebody else...maybe it was me...

...anyway, I was thinking of that recently... the rebirth thing...not reincarnation in any literal sense but the sense that we can start again, at least in an internal sense...no, I don’t think I can shirk responsibility for ugly words and actions of the past...but maybe I can no longer be the person who needed to say and do them....there’s that song where Lou Reed talks about the possibility of becoming a father and says it might be fun to have a kid I could pass on to something more than rage pain anger and hurt...never mind the redundancy...I’m wondering what I’m passing on to myself...what I can pass on to myself...what I can not pass on to myself...

...I tend to be hung up on the past...my biggest regret about my adolescence is that I wasn’t more violent...really...seriously....if I had it to do over again, I’d break some bones...but endless violence inside myself can’t be my reality now...I don’t want it to be....I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen for maybe fifteen years over Indian food a month or so ago...she said she thought we were both a lot nicer than we used to be...I agreed...not as good looking but much nicer people...it’d be great to have an eighteen year old body but no way would I ever want to have an eighteen year old mind again...there’s only so much suffering a person can take....actually, that’s not true...one thing I learn working with recovering addicts is that people can suffer more than you can imagine...and yet keep trying to get well....I find that inspiring....somebody who’s been molested, beaten, abused in every way by criminals and law enforcement both and is still there has something to teach about the possibilities of rebirth...

8 comments:

Brooks Hall said...

Excellent thoughts, Dr. Jay. Even so, I felt sad reading them. I don't know how you feel about life span, but if you consider your life up to now as one, timewise you might have as much as another one. Make this one one you want. I think we all have this choice.

patti said...

I love the Gandhi quote. There is this woman called Patti who sabotages me often if I don't treat her right. So I have learned to be kind to her and listen to her and I give her permission to start again & again, if she needs to. I think I am beginning to like her. We need to be best friends if we are to get anywhere.

Linda-Sama said...

every moment is a moment to be reborn. simple.

Eleanor said...

Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living. Maybe that is the key?

Seeing Eye Chick said...

Every day you have the opportunity to be a better person than the day before. You have the opportunity to grow around and past your own foibles, mistakes, and hang ups. Everyday, every moment you choose who you want to be.

svasti said...

No, its not a sign of enlightenment to feel like you can't relate to your own name. The reason you feel that way though, might be telling...

My own experiences in that realm, weren't about disassociating from life as such (not saying yours are), but more... feeling that a name is limiting to the sense of 'self' I was experiencing at certain points in time.

That said, I've never been able to appreciate myself as I look 'right now'. Or, at least its something I'm working on now.

But I've never been a fan of photos of myself. Even when I was very young and had that eighteen year old body.

Tho, I could always look back at photos from a year or two back and think... yeah, I didn't look as bad as I thought...

Nothing like self-loathing to keep you from being happy, being able to enjoy life for what it is.

And then, in the end it comes down to choice. Its possible to get hooked on suffering - that's part of the human condition, according to those spiritual types.

When we can eventually say to ourselves - whoah, I am suffering, and damn, I'd like out of this freakshow! - that's when we have an opportunity for growth and rebirth.

And yeah, that opportunity is moment to moment, if we only pay attention.

the walking man said...

If you in fact are hung up on your past, and hung up wishing it had been more violent; then I suggest that it is violent still because you can not let it go. The past is never dead until we let it die.

earthtoholly said...

Geesh, I could've sworn I commented here but I think it timed out on me and I didn't notice and anyway...

Hi drjay. In the past I have read some stuff by Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese zen master, right?) and it actually helped me overcome my HATE of a tormentor I used to work with...

I find those amazing who have suffered so much yet fight to reinvent themselves. Having not suffered at all (physically) and slightly mentally (albeit in my own mind) I'm sorely lacking in moving on.