Reader comment on Rev. Carol Carnes's passage ...

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    On Mar 12, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

    This piece reminded me of a monk's thunderous essay, where he declared that sameness can only happen when there is no life. As long as there is life, there must be good and evil. Every wave creates a trough. And yet, we are worried when some suffer while others seem to be happy. The question then is, do we expand our notion of normalcy to accept the suffering of others? That sounds like a heartless thought.

    And yet, the opposite idea of trying to get to sameness is at the heart of all fanaticism. In the same essay, the monk says that we are all fanatics about something or the other, and that fanaticism has both good and evil effects (no surprise on the evil aspect).

    How do we resolve this one? Nothing can have positive effects without also having negative effects. This is a great truth that should help reduce our fanaticism about our favorite ideas. The other day, my professor shared an insight when someone brough up how they valued environmental sustainability. It turns out that there was a period when foam containers were considered evil for their impact on the environment, and it was politically incorrect to use them. We made the switch to paper containers. When a deep analysis was done, researchers found more harm to the environment from the switch, but our minds were made up about this. Such patterns repeat, and our fanaticism does not reduce. If only the world were to do the obvious, we'd be a much happier planet.

    As I find myself guilty of such fanaticism, it is amazing how profound this little iJourney passage is, for it provides a compelling answer. The notion of normalcy is about developing the awarenss to accept everything as it is right now, without introducing any distortions. What that seems to do is to calm my mind. My sister had this wonderful status message today (talk about the benefits of our online lives) which went as follows:

    “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” - Anais Nin  

    Once this acceptance without distortion has happened (to the extent possible), I am in a much better position to go in and see where I can be the change, in a skillful, efficient manner. The idea of sameness takes an altogether different dimension - I am seeking to recognize a deeper unity, not impose a shallow uniformity. With that recognition comes a deep sense of responsibility to be the change out of compassion, not anger at the world. The best service acts I've been able to do are the ones where I didn't think and plan the seed, but became aware of a deep connection, and went beyond the doer, the deed and the receiver. These are the rare moments. Most of the time, it is a struggle to get away from the idea of agentship, a struggle to get away from distorting, a great struggle to stop struggling and do the easiest thing possible - just be.

    Missed this Wednesday - hopefully someone will write about insights.

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