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NO SHAME

A friend of mine set some goals for last week, and failed. His goals were realistic and possible, but he did not do them. He sent me an introspective email analyzing why. We had a good discussion on it, here's an excerpt of what I wrote him -

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I understand. This really sucks. By the way, I still do this, myself. I still catch myself making the occasional fundamental mistake. The good thing is, no single mistake kills you (well, usually). Usually you can recover. Don't flip out when you a mistake, damage-control it and move on. How old are you - 28? You've got 10-15 years of mediocre societal programming, you don't get that out of yourself in seven days. 30 days, 60 days, you can take a huge chunk out of it. A year or two, absolutely you can almost completely re-wire yourself. But remember how you were saying, "Dude, I can do this so much faster than your timeline!" Well, I've been there. Shit like this happens. You're fighting some of your deepest, instinctual defense mechanisms to keep you alive. You've also got your toolbox of good instinctual mechanisms limited by society, so you're needing to create new tools. Basically, you've got all the disadvantages a caveman had (fear, nervousness, pressure), but you lose a lot of the advantages (unbridled, raw power, no rules, etc). You've got to make new tools - calmness, focus, intent. It takes a while. There's no shame in that - let me say this -

THERE'S NO SHAME IN THIS, IT'S NO REFLECTION OF YOU - WE'RE ALL BUILT WEAK, YOU'RE ONE OF THE FEW WHO ACKNOWLEDGES IT AND TRIES TO BECOME STRONG.

We're all built weak, man. Most people hide from it, deny it. That way they don't have to feel it. But you're diving right in, into your weakness, into your errors, into your unrefined patterns, into your fears... so you feel it. But don't mistake these things - these things are the weakness that everyone feels, there is NO SHAME in feeling it. It's part of being human. You need to feel it to conquer it. This is what I was writing in "Give me strife and suffering" -

Who really deserves compassion anyway?

On The blog: Sit. Breathe. Love.

Last week at my meditation class we were talking about compassion; how we experience it, how we can work on feeling more of it, and the kind of people we're able to generate compassion for.

So first off: what is compassion? It's described as a feeling of empathy for others; it's the emotion we feel in response to another's suffering that motivates a desire to help.

It's quite easy for me to feel compassion for people I think really deserve it; starving children in Africa, people suffering the trauma of a natural disaster, people grieving the loss of a loved one. I want to help those people, so I can feel compassion for them. But how about people we don't really, in our heart of hearts, actually genuinely believe even deserve our compassion?

This made for some uncomfortable thinking. And some pretty raw up-close-and-personal time with my own prejudices.

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