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Archive for April, 2011

Recognize me?

I found this post I wrote over 2 years ago. I can’t remember that day at all, and I don’t recognize the person who wrote it.

From my perspective right now, I can’t imagine experiencing life as it’s described in that post. I feel so gun-shy and fragile, and I want to hide.

Yesterday a friend told me that other people she knows who have gone on meditation retreats have had difficulty in the days and weeks that followed. I’m not surprised. I’ve experienced this kind of ego backlash before.

This too shall pass.

Fortunately, I can draw wisdom and hope in the posts on this blog. They remind me that I can experience empowerment, hope, flow, love, optimism, peace, etc.

Another friend of mine left me a voicemail thanking me for helping him and his family. He said, “You’re a good person and I hope you know that at your core.” Right now this very moment, I don’t. But I can see in this blog that I have known that. And I can trust that I will again.

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I don’t want to die

I don’t want to die.

If I do die tomorrow in a plane crash (or car crash, or fall in a hole, or get crushed by a falling piece of Skylab), you will read these words and think, “How odd. He’s dead and yet he still speaks to me through these words.”

But I don’t really. These words are just symbols. I put them together in a way that I assume creates meaning for a reader, but any meaning you get from them has more to do with your relationship to these symbols than mine. These words are no more me than a photograph of me.

So if I die, I’m gone. You can no longer relate to me, only to some symbols that you may choose to represent me. You can only relate to me in my presence. If I am not in your presence, there is not relationship between us, only between one of us and our mental version of the other.

And here’s the kicker…

That’s true whether I die tomorrow or not.

In that sense, anything outside our present experience of life is dead to us. It simply does not exist to us. Our persistent denial of this fact is what allows us to squander our lives away to the point where we eventually sense our impending death and finally exclaim in futility…

“I don’t want to die.”

The positive opposite of that statement would seem to be “I want to live.” But wanting to live is just wanting. It’s just more squandering of the present. Life is now. So the positive opposite of “I don’t want to die” is “I live now.”

I live now. Not the now when you read these words, but the now when I write them.

I live now.

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Fear of death

I think the fear of death can be understood as a story that’s born from the value we place on life.

Whenever you value anything, it’s natural to want to hold onto it and not lose it. That’s pretty much the definition of value, right? Otherwise it’s just trash.

But the fear of losing something is an unnecessary extension of the valuing of that thing. It’s the story that because I value something, it’s bad or wrong if I lose it.

So by seeing that the fear of death stems from the valuing of life, we can see the fear of death as something helpful. It’s a sign, a reminder, that we value life. And once we remember that, we can turn the fear of death into an appreciation of life.

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Missing the point

It seems that most people define the quality of their relationships by how much they miss someone.

“I miss you so much.” As if that’s supposed to mean something.

I’m no longer interested in how much I miss someone. I’m much more interested in the attention, care, empathy, and love I give someone when they’re in my presence. That’s how I want to define the quality of my relationships.

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Dynamics

I was listening to an interview about why some guys get stuck in the “friend zone” with women. He was making the point that many woman don’t value these relationships and simply use them to fulfill certain emotional needs. In other words, the relationship is not the friendship that the guy thinks it is. Nothing revolutionary, but the speaker kept repeating a phrase to drive his point home that begs a second look: “She’s not your fuckin’ friend.”

What is a friend? It’s one of those words we throw around thinking we all know and agree on what it means, but we don’t. In fact, there’s no such thing as a friend. Yes, there are people that you relate to with different degrees of intimacy and caring, but those relationships are all unique. “Friend” is a label we apply haphazardly and then get upset when people act out their nature and it doesn’t fit our definition of “friend.” No one is your friend in exactly the way you think they are.

I’m finding I have less and less interest in labels and more and more interest in the actual dynamics of my relationships. I don’t want friends. I want to share experiences with people who have common values and interesting perspectives.

This shift in language makes it much easier for me to see the difference between exploitative relationships and mutually nurturing relationships.

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