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Gratitude and Random Acts

An Amish woman was killed in her buggy, rear-ended by an SUV.  Who are you?  There is a woman who is threatened with stoning in Iran.  Who am I?  

What happens within us when we learn these things?  

Buddhists believe that all of what happens everywhere affects everyone and everything. Nothing is foreign; it is all of us, all the time.  There is no other-ness. Our life force and spiritual energy is interconnected.  We are assaulted and cheered, encouraged and oppressed by things that happen everywhere.   

The most difficult teaching of the great religions is that of gratitude, especially when it relates to our enemies and the oppressors in life.  We may be joyously grateful that lively music fits our mood perfectly, but can we be grateful that a loved one has died or mayhem is imminent?  Why do spiritual teachers ask us to do that?  What's the sense in it?  

Gratitude is a very difficult concept in the face of evil, makes much more sense in the realm of beauty and love.  The truth is, if we can be grateful for the oppressor, we are more accurately ourselves as defined by them, and we become better aligned with what is good and true in the world if that is our intention.  But, this is not simply a statement like:  "Wow, they are so horrible, and I in comparison am an angel."  More in truth it is:  "I understand myself more clearly, and it is very certain that I must never become or be part of evil and destruction."  

It is far simpler to hate hate-filled people and love love-filled people, but it really is just easy and teaches nothing.  It is said that to know your enemy is to know yourself, and I say it is because you are forced to define your self very clearly when faced with clearly awful things.  

 

Comments
4 Comment count
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Deep

And poignant - I sense your passion. I understand.

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Understanding

This is a difficult subject to approach for a host of reasons, and I do not wish to sound as though I am taking the moral high road as if I am some kind of highly evolved perfect person.  Far from it.  If only I had some inkling of an idea why humans choose violence willfully....

Thanks for your comment.

Cheers,

Christine 

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Thinking...

Thought provoking, although, it is easy for me to over think ideas, beliefs and practices. I don't believe in black and white. I believe most things, people,ideas, and beliefs are fluid,changeable and therefor, not truly definable.

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Agreed

I may overthink ideas too much of the time and look for absolutes, but I see randomness constantly in the world, especially in people. Encouragingly, one of the most interesting ideas to consider is generosity, and it is certainly refreshing to know that.

By the way, maybe your armadillo believes you to be generous and admires you in scaly, scuttily way. Oh joy.

Cheers,
Christine