Fearless Compassion

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Right now I’m sensing that “fearless compassion” is my motto for 2011.  I just came up with it as I was stuffing my virtual voodoo doll with my sins of the past and dreams for the future.  Yes, I know, it sounds like I have flipped my lid, and perhaps I have, but that’s what I was doing:  a friend sent a link on Facebook to http://www.burnthiskeepthat.com/index.html?did=1760, a clever site to help bring some catharsis to the New Year’s celebration, and I got to work.  I dressed up a little bean bag version of me, named him HUSKY, and added hopes and dreams and sins and fears.  He will be digitally set to fire and, allegedly, the bad will fall to embers and the good will rise into the ether and surround myself and the year with promise.  Hey, that’s pretty good.  I think I’ll keep that:  “may the bad fall to embers and the good rise into the ether surrounding you, comforting you, and inspiring you with each breath that you take.”  Perhaps I have found my true calling:  greeting card author.

But Fearless Compassion.  Yes.  That’s what I want to strive for.  I want to strive for other things as well – focusing on what I’m doing in life without always questioning and doubting.  I want to strive to be in the moment, to live “right,” as a person and an actor.  I know that sounds goofy “a person and an actor” but it works for me right now.  And Fearless Compassion applies to all of it.  Towards other others, towards myself, situations and the world.  So that’s what I will strive for and perhaps help others to do that.

Here’s what I’ve come to realize, I feel like I am my best when I am acting AND when I am listening to people and helping them feel better.  Do you see the connection?  Both require attention and focus on another.  Both demand listening.  I think I’m pretty good at that.  I often wonder if I wasn’t bitten by the actor bug if I would be a good therapist.  Well, I don’t really wonder, I know it.  My own therapist said it … of course what kind of therapist would he be if he said “you would be a horrible therapist?”  And I know that this desire to helped is linked with my own self-valuation, meaning that I do still look to others to give me personal value.  And I’m working on that.  But if I can help someone just by listening, if I can give comfort by understanding, and if that give me comfort – what’s wrong with that?  Nothing.  That’s the answer I’m looking for.  Nothing.

But fearless compassion … what does that mean to me?  I guess that means trying to understand and not judge, no matter how hard the circumstance may be.  And I know, you may be reading this (and by you I mean “me” cause I’m sure no one is reading this) and wondering how this relates to my previous post about Buddhism Plain & Simple.  Yes, this is not an account of what I’m reading, but it is related.  Buddhism, in my understanding, focuses on “seeing” and not judging.  It requires an acceptance that we are all connected.  It’s easy to judge a situation and a person.  It’s harder to be compassionate towards the person.  To be forgiving or at least understanding (since who are we to forgive unless the trespass was committed against us?).  Isn’t that what that Jesus fella was talking about?  So maybe that’s what I’m trying to do, be more like that Jesus fella … I already have the long hair and the beard.  I do need to drop a couple more pounds I think.  And I’d prefer not to have to die for people’s sins, I’d rather live and listen and help them cope.  Or at least put on a moving and brilliant performance that helps people.  But it all starts with Fearless Compassion.

At least that’s what I’m going with.

Plain & Simple

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I’ve lost my way.  OK, that’s a bit dramatic, what I was planning to write was “I’ve lost my way writing.”  Now that I look at it, its misleading.  It somehow implies that I was on the right path, then began writing, and because of that writing I’ve lost my way.  That is very confusing.  And not true.  What I meant to write was:  I used to write fairly often, almost every day.  Sometimes for an audience,  sometimes the writing was not ready for an audience but I hoped it someday would be, and other times it was just for me.  Either way, I’ve stopped doing it in any regular fashion and for the past couple of months have been kicking myself, literally.  (OK, I don’t meaning that I actually kicked my self, which of course would be a literal translation of that sentence, but rather that I have been figuratively kicking myself in regards to my writing or my creation of  “literature” (Of course, that is fairly high minded, pompous even, as if to say that what I write could ever be considered literature)  Rather, I meant that I have been attempting to motivate myself to start writing again.)

I’ve been kicking myself to do a lot of things.  Getting my ass in shape for one –  and that has been working.  I’ve lost over 23 pounds in the past 8 months, went from a size 33/34 waist to a size 30.  Of course I still have days of feeling fat and out of shape – which makes me wonder how much of that “feeling” is rooted in my mind and not in the  reality of my weight.  Which leads to what I’ve been trying to get at …

I’ve been trying to get my mind right.  Not that my mind is wrong but as you may have noticed my mind is confused, unfocused, somewhat fearful but surprisingly bold, perhaps witty or at least juvenile.  “How have you been trying to get your mind right” you may be asking me – Buddhism.  I’ve been reading up on the subject for the past few months and I am intrigued.  More than intrigued, I have found that when I try to be “awake,” especially when I get into a practice of meditating on a daily basis, I feel happier.  I know, I know, I “shouldn’t” say “happier” but it’s the best I word I can use to describe how I feel.  Perhaps its better to say the following:  “when I focus on being awake, when I take the time to be present, when I incorporate a daily practice of meditation, and when I attempt to no longer judge but to merely experience, I am clearer.”

I am currently reading “Buddhism Plain & Simple” by Steve Hagen.  As with some of the other books I’ve read (or are in the middle of reading) on the subject, notably Pema Chodron’s “No Time To Lose,” I am fascinated.  I want to make sure that I allow the information to sink in and the best way for me to do that is to read actively.  So (yes, I’m finally getting to the point) I figure I’d blog about what I am reading.  Perhaps include some thoughts about what I’m reading, some reflections.  I figure this will not only help me learn, but also get me back into the practice of writing on a more regular basis.  As a bonus, if anyone decides to read this blog, it may compel them to find these books and see for themselves.

So perhaps that may serve as an introduction to the next couple blogs.  Perhaps it won’t.  But I feel better for writing it.  And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?