Friday, April 29, 2005

on being inspirational

Every so often someone tells me that they find some of my writing
inspirational. They seem to think I should be flattered that they were
so "moved" by my writing. Most often these comments come from people who
seem to want to read something that makes them feel good. I want to ask
"What did that piece inspire you to do?"...I can tell the answer usually
would be "well it enabled me to get through another day of my
problematic life."

If you wish to flatter me, tell me that something I wrote moved you to
do something to fix the problems in your life. There have been several
people who have written me and said something like "I am going to Japan
because of what you wrote" might be misguided, but that is truly
flattering. A comment like, "I now sit with a group and have met a
teacher because of what you wrote"....or "I saw what you meant and then
I fixed the problem I had in my life." or "You not only made me think,
but now I do things differently" that is what inspirational means
to me.

I am not really interested in writing things and posting them to lists
in order to enable people to continue to live in delusion. This is why I
stopped posting to places where people cannot or will not read what I
post or are not really looking for answers, but rather are looking for
confirmation that they are not really as screwed up as they fear they
might be.

Some cannot understand how I can be so inspiring (read enabling) on one
post and so harsh on the next. They see it as some sort of paradox.
Evidently in their dream of what a spiritual life would be like, they
understand it to mean that all your faults will be eliminated, and only
soft and gentle ideas, and only soft cushy woo woo sentiments will be
felt. Only good and gentle things will happen to you.

I am sure the Buddha felt no pain from food poisoning. Dysentery is
definitely not my idea of a graceful exit. Especially while camping in a
park.I imagine that Christ only had generous thoughts about the Romans
as they nailed his hands and feet to the cross, certainly nothing
unpleasant arose in that situation either. I am sure all those who who
heard "let he who is perfect cast the first stone" were immediately
impressed with the wisdom of the Christ, and none felt embarrassed or
humiliated at the words. The money changers in the temple probably were
singing his praises as Jesus overturned their tables. I am sure Buddha's
child certainly never had one moment of feeling abandoned by his father,
and all those who were kicked out of Buddha's sangha went away singing
his praises as well.

I do not understand this idea that everything has to be said in a way
that no one (usually read "me") finds offensive. I wonder what could be
said if that was indeed the standard. I find it interesting that when I
am talking about how I live or how I have lived people find it
"inspiring" and when I talk about how others live a deluded life, I am
being harsh.

Those who know me know I am harsher on myself than I am on anyone else.
I am less forgiving of my mistakes than I am of anyone else's. The
reason my life is so apparently "inspiring" is because I am relentless
in tracking down delusion and eliminating it, more with myself than I am
with any one else.

I find from experience that it is usually the harsh writing ,the rap on
the knuckles, and the stuff that says "wake up!" that people find truly
inspiring. It is the stuff that brings them out of their head and into
the real world that moves them to actually do something in their lives.
It is when I am straight forward and sometimes harsh that people make
changes, open their minds, and move forward with some true progress in
their lives.

I wish I could just say "hey, you know, maybe you might want to try
something different here next time." and people would say "Oh wow! Why
didn't I think of that?... You are right...we perhaps should not be
changing money for profit in the temple. Maybe we shouldn't be ripping
off the people who come to worship...after all family really does
not NEED all the money I bring home from my daily activity."..I sort of
figure if that would not have worked for the "Son of Man" will not
have much of a chance of working for me either. I would imagine if Jesus
had just dropped a subtle word to the wise, it would have been neither
effective nor long remembered.

I do not write posts to make people feel good, so when I get as a sort
of a short hand for "that made me feel good" the words "I found that
piece of writing sooo inspiring!" I find myself less than flattered.
Making people feel good on the road to hell is not really what I plan to
do with my life, sometimes what is needed in order for a positive change
to occur is that the person must become uncomfortable enough with where
they are to wish to make a change. People really feel good when their
lives are working for them instead of against them. If any of my
writing ...sweet, tough or in between causes someone to make a change in
their lives that will indeed make them really feel good for a good long
time, then perhaps I have accomplished my purpose in writing.

I do not write so we can come to the conclusion that based on all the
technical data, and specs the Titanic is in fact unsinkable while the
ship slowly sinks in the North Atlantic...such a discussion might in
fact help us feel better for a few minutes, but we are headed for a cold
dunk in the water unless we look at what is really happening and head
for the few life boats there are. Why were there so few
lifeboats?...because the experts had known the ship was
was designed to be unsinkable. All reason and logic said it was
unsinkable. When the ship is going down, it is time to stop thinking and
talking about being unsinkable, and time to start learning to survive in
the cold northern sea.

Be Well