Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit that I like to watch the television show “Survivor.” It’s full of gossip and back-stabbing, you know, those things I try to avoid in my everyday life. I realized today though that I’m learning a lot about human nature by watching this show.

You see, I guess for the first 40 or so years of my life, I have been quite naïve about human nature. I’ve always believed that people are all basically good or at least they strive to be.

This particular “Survivor” season though, there are at least two people who are really just… not nice … and they are proud to admit it.

One of these players boasts that she is bitchy.

Another one finds something to complain about in pretty much everyone. He treats others with rude manners but when they do it back to him, he thinks they are terrible, refusing to see that he was the first one to act rudely.

There are others that have displayed less than honorable character, but they would argue they are just playing “the game.”

It surprisingly has made me look at the way I interact with people in life. You see for 40+ years, I have walked around with a smile on my face, thinking everyone is friendly and nice (or at least tries to be) – the same as me.

I would be lying if I said that I have never encountered rude, mean, and inconsiderate people. The difference in my life view now though – you know, after that light bulb went off – is that before I made excuses for their behavior…

“Oh, she’s having a bad day.”

“He had a horrible childhood.”

“He doesn’t know any better.”

You name it; I’ve probably used it as an excuse for someone else’s bad behavior.

Now I’ve finally figured out that some people don’t need excuses. That’s just the way they are and they enjoy being that way.

But wait… then there’s that naïve, sweet voice inside me crying out that …I still believe most people are not acting out personally against others, but an event or circumstance triggers something from the rude person’s past that brings out that side of them again. They zoom in on the target of their anger and pain (usually another person), blaming them for their feelings and actions. They even feel justified in the way they behave. Still, they are where they need to be in their path towards spiritual enlightenment….

But my smiling bubble has been burst.

Yeah, maybe I was delusional back when I thought everyone was nice.

Yeah, maybe some people are just mean and they like being mean.

They like the power it gives them.

I am so thankful and excited to be enlightened to the fact that this weekly TV show has helped me to better understand the human race.

I am thankful that my perspective has changed.

If you can play and survive the game of “Survivor” – by understanding other people – you can most likely play and survive the game of life.

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Before you read this, I must warn you…this entry is raw and unpolished…

And before you read it, try to put aside your “Uh, that’s dumb” or “That makes sense” comments. Just read it without commenting. Is that possible?

Is it even possible to do that in life? Just live your life without commenting on it as you move through your day? I think it’s an acquired skill.

I have been working on writing this in little spurts over a period of about seven days. Normally, I sit down and let out all the words in one sitting. The past week has given me little time for that freedom, however.

It’s okay though. That’s just the way it is. That’s the way this thought process was meant to be.

I’ve realized these past several days that everyone seems to be in slow motion. That is, everyone that is in front of me.

Slow drivers, slow walkers, slow baristas, slow coffee, slow decision makers… Breathe, I tell myself as I resist the urge to watch my watch. I know that I have patience to learn. I do. I know that.

I also know that I have a fast internal energy. At least I realize this about myself and I know when to curb that energy.

Like the other day, I was sitting quietly on my bed. I had just been pondering over the subject of judgment when my husband started cleaning our daughter’s room.

“I didn’t know she had this book,” he said as he tossed The Tao of Pooh onto our bed.

Oh yeah, that book.

I gave it to her several years ago when I found her being drawn to every religious text at the bookstores we frequented. It was before she could read – and it was at the used bookstores where all the books were not separated by subject, but rather mixed together – so how she knew which book to pick, I have no idea.

It was like a gravitational pull.

I am convinced that personality is set from birth. I see this as I watch my children grow. I have also noted this in the people I have known for 20 or more years. Years pass, but their personality core is still present.

Parents and peers guide growth to a certain extent, but there are qualities in each of us that stay present from the beginning, no matter what the influence.

It is my job to teach my children right from wrong; it’s not my job to change who they are meant to be.

When I was little, I remember being appalled when people made fun of other people. I would overhear someone say, “Look at how ((fill in the blank)) that person is!” and it made me want to cry. It wasn’t nice and I knew it before anyone told me that it wasn’t.

In the same way that I felt lying was a bad thing… I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I would cry and my face would turn red – and then I would tell the truth.

Now I watch and ponder what qualities are most prevalent in my children.

So, I sat on my bed studying web design with the Tao of Pooh whispering to me, “Pssst….Hey you… read me. Read me…”

It’s been years since I first read it – and I guess the time was right for me to read it again; I put my studies aside and read about the Tao and Winnie-the-Pooh.

It fit right into the grand plan for me for that book to fall into my life again with judgment on my mind. I’ve been contemplating how not to give anything in life a label of bad or good.

When someone does something outside the norm of what is acceptable in society, how can I not call that bad?

When I feel someone is judging me, how can I say that’s not bad?? But now aren’t I judging judgment??

My brain could go in circles on this one.

Everything has a purpose and everything is a lesson, so how could something be bad if it is meant to be a learning experience?

So reading the Tao of Pooh – again – wet my appetite for more.

“The sage does not distinguish between himself and the world;
The needs of other people are as his own.

He is good to those who are good;
He is also good to those who are not good,
Thereby he is good.
He trusts those who are trustworthy;
He also trusts those who are not trustworthy,
Thereby he is trustworthy.

The sage lives in harmony with the world,
And his mind is the world’s mind.
So he nurtures the worlds of others
As a mother does her children.”
Peter Merel’s Tao Te Ching

To some, like for instance Eeyore, it’s a gloomy day. To others, like Tigger, it’s just another day to bounce.

And still, to some, like Winnie-the-Pooh… it’s just a day… with no judgments as to whether it’s bad or good, gloomy or beautiful.

It’s a day to put emotion aside and accept what comes your way without putting a label on it. It’s a day to accept the gifts that are given – whether these gifts are a lost job, a lost friend, a friend returning to your life, or a lump of money appearing in your life.

Each one has something to teach if you are open to the teacher.

Someone asked me the other day if I thought a particular poem was too bleak.

“No, I like bleak,” I responded.

It’s not that I like negativity, but I appreciate honesty.

I appreciate it when someone can allow their emotions to flow freely, whether the emotion is happy or sad. It’s not that I don’t like negativity either because … while it may rattle my energy, it always teaches me something.

And so it goes… I try not to judge, but then I find myself judging my own judgment or lack of judgment.

Just allow life to flow around you – and accept that which moves around and into your life.

That’s what I’ve been contemplating lately.