Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blame, Seeing Someone Like Us

"It's not your fault, but I'm blaming you anyway!" --Unknown 
"Looking deeply, we are not fooled by signs." by Thich Nhat Hanh

While one person may fancy himself as clever to place blame regardless, another may be more skillful and clear thinking to realize that carefully looking, they are not fooled by signs. And so it is the way. Some of us are more skillful at any given time than others, but all of us need deep looking and compassion for our less skillful means.

Look at things as more or less skillful. When we are less skillful, we are inclined to blame. Without more skillful means we suffer and we cause others to suffer us. "Forgive me and teach me so that I can be more skillful next time," writes Thich Nhat Hanh in his book, Talks from a 21-Day Mindfulness Retreat. With this mind, we will not blame or have the desire to punish our self or others. Without judgment, compassion may take its place and skill arises. These seeds can bring much happiness to you and to others.

Likewise, If we can say there in a place whose beginning and end are known, then we are fooled by signs. Yet when looking deeply, perceiving the inter-being of matter, we see that there is no clear edge. There is self and non self, world and non world, all are one within the many, and the many are the one. This is the true nature of inter-being, teaches Hanh.

In Cultivating the Mind of Love, Hanh writes of those who find their hearts cold. They do not understand themselves; they do not understand others. He writes, "If we look around, we see many people who are like dead persons, carrying their own dead bodies on their shoulders. We need to do whatever we can to help them... They need to be touched by something." What 'something' can water their seeds of understanding? What might awaken their compassion?

Hanh records the story, The Stranger by French writer Albert Camus. In the story the main character finds that he is imprisoned and will be executed in three days time. What has his life come to? What did it mean? Why is he alive? Suddenly he sees "that life had meaning" and he began to live that meaning, the words, the earth, the sky, it all meant something to him for the first time. For him the end was the last, just as the first. It was the first time he paid attention, and it was the last time he would pay attention there on his last day, the day of execution.
It was there always, the seeds of understanding-the sky, the  leaves, the scent of the ground, something that wakes them up, that brings them alive. He saw that now.

"The energy of compassion in you will transform life and make it more beautiful. Compassion is always born of understanding, and understanding is the result of looking deeply." -- Thich Nhat Hanh

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