Thursday, November 10, 2005

Different Religion

On the Martian Anthropologist, Martian's entry Who would Jesus torture? intrigues me.

I think that there are more commonalities amongst the major religions than there are differences. It's too bad that so many people have used the small details to decide that some people are okay and others aren't. Some of the details may seem large, like by what name they call their god, whether their god is male or female and whether they have one or many gods, but ultimately it's all in the details.

We are all striving to be more connected to something greater than ourselves. We are all ultimately striving for that unspeakable something that most closely equates to unconditional love. Instead of working on loving those around us, we have degenerated into insulting and making people who are different, "other" and therefore less human.

I think we are all guilty of it. We all have beliefs that we defend and those that we ridicule. It may be human nature. Perhaps if we can be more aware that that which we ridicule might be sacred to someone else, we can be more forgiving and work on being more interconnected. If we and we alone are right, then doesn't that create a pride that isn't necessary? Maybe everyone is right--even those folks that annoy us most.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Guilt and Anger

Anger is always a tough emotion. I suspect that if I wanted to just blog about the issues of anger, I could blog daily for a very long time and never run out of material. We all have trouble owning and working through our anger.

I have friends who are great. I see them get angry and say something and they are so cool. I only know they are angry by certain quarks that come up. If they are called on that they say, "Well OF COURSE I'm angry. Wouldn't you be?" As if this is all normal. I wish I were like that.

Personally I am much more of the I hate to get angry person and as a result I do. Then I get things all messed up because I'm mad and don't stop and think because I'm mad. I mean I don't get as angry and I certainly don't yell and scream (unless it's computer related and I'm yelling at the computer, but I've decided it's not a sentient being--yet--so it's okay) as I used to, but I know the people I deal with understand when I am angry.

This came up because I am dealing with a management company on a rental house that I inherited. I am selling the house. I don't know what I am doing. I have called them many times to ask what I need to do. I get different answers each time. I find that frustrating. I am also frustrated by the fact that apparently I can't keep that frustration out of my voice because every phone call to them ends with whomever I am talking about being very short and basically saying get out of my face. They do not return phone calls.

I have not been impolite, nor have I yelled, but I can understand thinking back on it, that you could hear in the tone of my voice that I wasn't happy.

I can see this as an escalating situation. I am glad that when the house sells I will no longer have to deal with them. I am sure they think I am a bitch and I feel badly about that. While I can list all the wrongs they have done, I can also list the wrongs I have done to create this situation. In listing my own wrongs to myself, I create only guilt for not having been perfect.

Certainly there are things I could have done to have acted better. However there are things they could have done to have diffused the situation as well. I think the best thing I could have done was have been more honest about the fact that as a company they were failing me. I had the expectation that when I asked what to do, I would get a straight answer. My expectations are not being met.

This seems like a small isolated situation but there are many factors coming into play. I can take responsibility for my part, but I need to remember that it's only my PART. I am not the whole. Likewise, the evil "they" are not the whole. We are both only a part and we have both made mistakes.

Looking back and reflecting there are two things that I think I need to do to help create peace in myself. First, I need to take responsibility for what I didn't do as well as I could have and see what the core issues were that triggered me. What would I have liked to have done that I didn't? Second, I need to remember that I am human and that I will get triggered and get angry and sometimes I will act badly. I need to allow myself that and move on.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Attatched to the Outcome

Well one of the lovely things I got to do while away was read the latest Amy Tan book, Saving Fish from Drowning. I quite enjoyed it. Her narrator is a dead woman and it's an interesting tale about how the book came about as well. Her narrator talks several times about American Buddhism and how those people are those who just think it's okay not to care because, of course, we need to detach from the outcome.

I think there is a fair bit of that among people like myself who sort of dabble. Perhaps even amongst those who go farther than dabbling. It's a tough balance to care but not be attatched.

I have an issue with the concept of saying that to be unattached to the outcome means that you don't care. That thinking can lead down the road of do nothing because nothing matters anyway. It doesn't allow any room for passion either and that doesn't seem right.

The example is that if an injured person comes into the ER, the doctor does the action--the working on the patient. They use all their knowledge and understanding of the human body and the injuries and apply it to this case and use the best treatment that they can as a doctor, given the circumstances they are in. However, the doctor can't be attached to having the patient survive. Some injuries are just too great and nothing we do can save the patient. We are only human, not gods. For his or her own sanity, the doctors in these situations MUST let go of the outcome because otherwise they would be overwhelmed with the futulity of healing.

What it doesn't mean is giving up on acting. I think when we are so attached to the outcome in any situation, we end up with that same sense of futility and think why should we even try or bother? What I think is that it's the action that counts. It counts that doing your best and acting in the best way you can is what counts, not the outcome.

Failure is not the outcome of the action. Failure is not acting on the desire and acting on it in a way creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Next time we are faced with thinking we'd like to do something but then think we can't, maybe we should look at what we might accomplish if we even set out down that path. Who knows what we might learn? We might never get to the outcome we envisioned and thought we couldn't do but our actions might take us to new and wonderful places leading us to envision outcomes we never would have dreamed of.