It began with being made to realize that I was bestowing the kind of love, care, attention and financial benevolence I’ve always craved, on people I love, as an attempt in satisfying my own need for affection. I might be famished by the time I get to the tenth person and still be wondering why I keep getting hungrier. Which then begs the question as to how can I ever hope to have a full stomach if every time I am hungry, I feed a loved one? The answer is likely rooted in my belief that, “love begets love”.
I received this feedback when I shared my thoughts, and that finally got me unstuck —
You are just desperate for company, love and for your loneliness to go away so you give a lot of what you need because that’s your perspective, and you give it because you think that’s what everyone needs too. But you don’t get it back Because the truth is that’s not what everyone needs Or wants
Wow, time to reevaluate my beliefs and the saying, “Do unto others…” So armed with recent beliefs that —
right and wrong are societal constructs whose definitions are constantly changing, and as such
doing what pleases me seems to be the only “right” thing to do, if my other beliefs are true that
the purpose of life is to be happy, considering
life is random and
the only consequences in life are those that we wittingly or unwittingly bring upon ourselves through our exercise of our power of choice,
I have set out to do only that which makes me feel good about myself, so I am not collateral damage in another person’s story.
The call for equality, whether it be based on race, gender, age or such is based on the fallacy that it’s about fairness. On the contrary, it’s anything but fair, and what we really need is equity, because unlike absolute equality, it takes into account individual needs.
A patient belonging to a race that would not do well on a certain medication would be foolish to demand a similar prescription as a patient of a different race that it’s suited to. A woman suffering from menstrual cramps would not do herself any favours by insisting on standing when a chivalrous man offers her a seat on the train.
Fact is, we are all different, and even being the same person, from moment-to-moment we vary in physical and emotional characteristics, various abilities and circumstances. We aren’t even equal to ourselves!
Extraordinary leeway is awarded by society to teachers when it comes to tolerance of their being authoritative while being wrong, without considering the impact to student morale and the diminished quality of education thus meted out and its greater impact on society.
I have come across educators who have been exceptional people, which I believe is what made them good teachers or principals, as students imbibe more from a teacher’s actions than their words. When actions don’t corroborate words, then comes disillusionment.
One of my first memories: I once found a wad of money while picking litter from the school grounds, which I dutifully handed to the supervising teacher, specifically stating that someone might have lost it. The teacher shamelessly pocketed the money right before my eyes! The incident has stayed with me for several decades as I write this. I had the morals to not keep the money, but a teacher who is supposed to be one teaching them had none.
The most consistent issue I have encountered with educators is ego. I have experienced, seen or heard of everything from a student being reprimanded, to being hit or caned, because a student bruised a teacher’s ego. The other teachers, support staff, vice principal and principal all have each other’s backs in their self-contained ecosystem, whereby they lose all respect, as students are very perceptive. Whereas outside the school, power is divested between the police, judge, jury and prison warden. A judge would not be automatically inclined to issue a warrant just because a police officer believes someone committed an offence and as such are held to a much higher standard of conduct.
Often teachers become loud, obnoxious and obstinate in the face of reason, in an attempt to assert their authority. The only thing it affirms is their frail ego, insecurity and poor character. Personal baggage is likely another form of low sense of self worth and corresponding efforts to feel good about oneself, that results in the unfair treatment of students.
A pseudo-feminist teacher reprimanded a male student for so much as defending himself from a larger, tougher and older female bully, stating that a boy can hit a boy, a girl can hit a girl, a girl can hit a boy [and they would look away], but never can a boy hit a girl no matter how extenuating the circumstances. Does that not just go to create misogynists?
Another teacher viewed an innocent drawing of a girl, reproduced from an anime character, as being, “degrading to women” and asked the student to change it; whereas when shown to another, older teacher, as a [true] feminist she had absolutely no issue with it. As a consequence of telling on the teacher, the teacher prohibited the student from ever handing in reproduced art for her class. This once again demonstrates that the student always pays for the teacher’s insecurities. A female teacher who carries her sentiments with respect to patriarchy to school and punishes students to feel superior, is what is really degrading to women.
Picking on a student is extremely abusive. If a student disobeys, a teacher makes his life miserable. A student used a laptop to accomplish a task instead of paper. The teacher retaliated with revoking his privilege to eat or drink anything (except water) or listen to music, or talk in class. Yes, the student should be following instructions, but the teacher should not be punishing him with power play either.
Teachers seem to forget that it is us taxpayers that put food on their table, and they not only fail to do their job of giving our children a quality education that includes imparting good human values, but are also abusive and hurtful towards and disillusion them. Being rude to students seems to be the norm, like they are cattle to be herded, not young people with feelings that get hurt. Like a student said in jest, “You [the teacher] are like the dominatrix that is paid to dominate us at school”.
It’s said that “power corrupts”, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
While job security, generous health benefits, a safe environment, perhaps even a love for teaching all attract teachers initially, what keeps the damaged ones is the ongoing ability to feed one’s ego, and they are the ones in turn damaging students.
Why then are we surprised when world leaders act authoritarian with total disregard of democratic process; considering they are products of the education system and as such are merely modelled after their educators?
If I say, don’t think of a flower, definitely not a rose, what are you going to think of? First a flower, maybe even a rose, then definitely a rose. So what do you think will happen when you are told that you need to be thoughtless and that is meditation? Your mind will run rampant as you try to not think of anything, and you will be frustrated. So how to meditate?
With meditation being cited as the universal cure-all and solution to every problem in every religious and spiritual discourse, without ever being told how to go about doing it, dissemination of unhelpful one-liners like it being ‘a state of no-mind’ or ‘being thoughtless’, and worse still spiritual elitists saying it is not something one does but rather something that happens, it can be confusing and frustrating to the point where one just gives up.
Thought substitution is more doable, as in exchanging negative thoughts for a relatively pleasant one. Just like we distract ourselves by watching a movie. I find thinking of something I like and which scenario I can play in my head works very well for me to go off to sleep. In day-to-day work, it is easier to be mindful; single-mindedly consciously thinking of only the performance of the task at hand and not what I am going to do next or another such stray thought, but that is definitely easier said than done.
The second technique is ignoring. The thought comes, you know it is detrimental, so for example, I would say, “Okay, hello thought, thank you, but I need to move on”. That way I am kind to myself, not reprimanding myself for the thought and not dwelling on it either.
Meditation is the third technique. Now I say technique because the practice of instructions to train oneself to be in a meditative state is commonly referred to as meditation. Hence the debate about what meditation is. The purists say, “meditation cannot be done, it happens”, and mock those trying to practice a discipline. That is not helpful; it is demoralizing. Recognizing that meditation is a commonly used term for a practice and not for the meditative state itself helps bridge the gap – just as ‘medicine’, while a discipline, is a word commonly used in place of ‘medication’.
Meditation is not the exclusive domain of people who consider themselves spiritually accomplished either, just as breathing is not. It is not difficult; just different from the other two techniques. It is observing. So, say you close your eyes and these random thoughts begin. Observe the thoughts like a third party witnessing the goings on. Being thoughtless, in a meditative state, should follow as a consequence of merely being that observer.
One cannot really try and meditate. One can reach a meditative state by observing one’s thoughts. Such a meditative state is a temporary respite. In that sense too it is a practice – towards constantly being in a meditative state, being an observer, whereupon the practice is no longer needed.
If you are lost in thoughts, then that is agitation.
If thoughts are lost in you, then that is meditation.
— Swami Tejomayananda
The mantra about ending a marriage based on, “It’s better for children to not grow up with their parents in an unhappy marriage” is typical feminist pork for putting one’s happiness before that of one’s children, to divorce women from the responsibility that comes with being a parent. Despite anti-male activism and exalting pro-divorce, anti-children values, these feminists call for mother-headed households!
Marriage and children are a commitment — it can be joyful, challenging, stressful or even downright miserable; but that is life itself. When there are marital troubles such feminist-minded women seize the opportunity to manipulate the man to believe that it is his fault, then capitalize on his guilt to broker a deal on marital assets to become financially independent and exit the marriage to lead her dream life built upon the graves of the well-being of her children and ex-husband.
Why do we ask WHY? It’s because we want an explanation to justify to ourselves why we need to accept a certain happening. However the pursuit of an answer overshadows and envelopes us, keeps us engrossed to the point where we lose sight of the reason we asked WHY in the first place.
We get entangled in a quagmire of questions in the pursuit of answers.
The question WHY, while thus starting out as a means to an end – the end being, getting an answer in order to be satisfied, and as such being able to move on – ends up becoming an end in itself – as in getting an answer becoming our focus, preventing us from actually moving on – and thus becomes an impediment to our happiness.
Any way we justify them, all explanations are just that; explanations; and are worthless as their pursuit detracts from being happy, regardless of what the answer is to the WHY.
The definition of failure follows one’s ideas of what success is. I believe that success is being happy, yet unhappiness isn’t failure; it’s a temporary, passing condition, so recognize it for what it is.
Money may not be the answer to all problems but it does make life a bit easier. Knowing that you don’t have to choose between feeding your kids or yourself, you aren’t one paycheque from being homeless and your car won’t be repossessed, has to make you feel a little happy. But beyond that, there are completely miserable and bitter wealthy people. Many truly believe (even if it’s subconscious) that the diamond ring will make them happy, that luxury goods will make them happy, the big house will make them happy. It doesn’t.
The problem is that people don’t seem to realize that no amount of money or “things” will ever bring any kind of real “life satisfaction”. It will bring some comfort, luxury and ease of living (maybe), but nothing more. Not even if money is simply considered a form of security, because they are tons of financially secure miserable people.
While arrogance or lack thereof is all about character and not how much you have in your pocket, money and/or the stuff, anything from a 2-carat diamond ring to placate the wife at home to the women at the strip club that you buy with that money, does exacerbate the problem. He who has the gold, makes the rules. Sometimes the money maker is not arrogant, the people (family members, friends) around the money maker, using his/her money are arrogant.
Then people crave something more, something priceless that money can’t buy. Like love. But unfortunately, once they find love, they forget why they sought love in the first place; because money and everything it could buy, bought them no happiness. So they look for money to complement the love, which is reasonable to the point it fulfils one’s basic needs, not numbs one to reality and brings one back into the situation where one was willing to swap money for love.
Do not seek to be loved at any price, because love has no price.
The biggest destroyer of oneself are one’s beliefs, if such beliefs lead to other than one’s happiness. We emotionally cling on to and defend our beliefs as defined by our observations, deductions and experience, even contorting logic to support and reinforce them, so they become irrefutable facts. Our reality then becomes how we see and interpret the world through this window.
“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
— Alan Alda
If you lack or want to change something in your life, ask yourself what that is – what would be the perfect scenario for you, whether the cooperation of others is needed and if so are they willing to cooperate and what are the terms on which you want to lead your life. Most importantly reflect on whether it would lead to your ultimate happiness.
Make choices in your mind; your life will then begin to align itself with your goals. You would have made your mind work for you by carving a path for yourself, rather than you being an instrument of your mind.