Respect means to look again, compassion means with appreciation of suffering

We all suffer from a nagging sense of fear, or anxiety, or dissatisfaction, or loneliness, at some point. To recognise that this is in some sense an illusion brought about by the patterns that contain and occupy us like fractals which then bloom into other possibilities related to the last. Seeing this is not to relegate everything to the realm of myth. If I’m real, so is my experience, and so is yours, so are the fires and floods, pandemics and plastic pollution, corruption and courage that occupy the airwaves and our conversations when we are not thinking about sex, or food, or how to win an argument.

We are certainly the creators of our experience in the sense that we experience what we pay attention to, and that’s a creative act. But of course there is an ‘out there’ to contend with too. To pretend otherwise is to risk the kind of arrogance that drowned King Canute. There must be something that links these two, a line between what is happening, and how we bring it into awareness. It is this ‘how’ that matters.

With just enough effort, and just enough surrender, we can align with the liminal edge that is awareness of existence as it is happening, a respect which is reflective watching, but which is also an opening, like a portal, to love.

This kind of awareness can become as habitual as the worries and nagging fears, as the addictions and desires, that have previously consumed us – or me. Let me speak for me. I can  see just what is here, and see too how such disparate events as previous experiences and the weather have brought it all to this, and thus both compassionately but also dispassionately disengage until there is no more accumulation of previous experiences and activities based on reacting with rage, jealousy, resentment and greed, but only the kindness of respect, watching. I cannot do much about the torrential rain, or blistering sun, but I can engage in the ecological emergency as an emergence, an opening into the possibility of altering direction to allow every possible opportunity to mitigate suffering to open to me so I can respond. Almost all that happens to us does so as a matter of one damned thing after another in the unique, and largely random, order we experience things. Reflecting on that I can see I, too, emerge in context. Awareness takes me to the edge of this, where there’s a shift, the universe aware of itself here, now, through me. What else can I allow to come through this being me if I respect what is happening now?

2 Comments

  • David Pierce

    July 19, 2021 @ 3:56 pm

    When you say, “We are certainly the creators of our experience in the sense that we experience what we pay attention to,” this sounds like Epictetus in a passage that I tweeted this morning: “Remember that it is not he who reviles you or strikes you, who insults you, but it is your opinion about these things as being insulting.”

    • Lucy Weir

      July 23, 2021 @ 10:03 am

      Hello David and thanks for this interesting insight into Epictetus, about whom my ignorance is absolute! I partially agree with the passage but what I’m trying to get across is not the idea that we create a world that exists just inside our heads. There is also an “out there” with which we interact. I may have to write a post about this. It sounds to me as though Epictetus is saying that the Other is not the issue: our own opinion (or attitude) is the issue. And to that, I’d say, Aye! But the problem is more complex than that, of course. We create our experiences by what we pay attention to, but there are also experiences that we have of the world that are unavoidable as a result of the reactions of an entire cascade of cultural assumptions (about the right of the human species to extract energy from other systems willy nilly) which we each bear the brunt of, even if we weren’t involved in the initial gearing up of attitudes, which come from Judeo-Christian, Graeco-Roman, Cartesian, and current dualistic worldviews that maintain humanity as separable from all else. My progress on articulating this is slow because my own life is an attempt to manifest the implications of a non-dualistic worldview and so far, that manifestation has had mixed results – because I’m still fighting the zeitgeist, which isn’t exactly non-dualistic! I’ll see what I can find out between other projects – you know I’m sure how projects mushroom into other projects – and hopefully be able to get back to this line of thought soon. Watch this space and thanks, as ever, for interacting.

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