Wednesday, September 29, 2010

32 Months (part two)

So many questions about our culture have arisen since I've become a parent, things that I never thought about before. That's what comes from giving a damn about the future and what kind of world will be around when we are gone. I mean, there are always reasons for us to care and there were people in my life that meant enough to warrant my concern but I was completely content with my simple existence and thoughts about tomorrow were often just not in the equation. It's a selfish mentality and one that is absorbed in our society on a frequent basis and it's gotten to be so damn infuriating.

Eventually I married Christina and this deep-seated selfishness expanded to include another. Then I began to study and practice Buddhism, which has as one of its important tenets the idea that our lives don't exist in a vacuum, that our happiness is tethered to the happiness of those around us. We cannot live comfortably and appreciate our existence if everyone else in our environment is miserable. If crime is rampant in our society then we will live in fear and our lives will decay. While if people are helping one another, sharing with their neighbors then the quality of life for everyone expands and blossoms. It's not a complicated message, one that most religions employ as a basic philosophical understanding of its faith, but it is one that is completely at odds with what drives our economy. When I began to put someone else's importance up on the same level as my own importance, which is basically the only way a partnership or relationship can work, that's when my heart began to grow and I realized how I had been unhappy for a very long time.

Well, now I have two beautiful children and there are three other people who I must elevate to equal importance as myself in order to have a cohesive and wonderful environment within my home. So I've begun to look at everyone in my family through that rose-colored tinted perspective and it's wonderful and amazing to view them with such love. My heart grows every time they enter the room. My capacity expands every time Quinn asks me why (trying so hard to temper my aggravation when she asks it fifteen times in a row). My smile widens when Lucas shows me how much he's learned in only a day. The heart of the family is a fabulous bubble to envelop yourself within, warm when it's cold outside and tender when life wants to tear you down.

I guess the true gift of being alive is to immerse yourself in this type of feeling as much as possible. I could have done it when I was single, instead of working the system or taking advantage of others, thinking that I was getting nourishment by sucking down their essence with a straw while giving nothing back. I don't really know why I didn't, not sure where I got onto the wrong track but it doesn't take a whole lot of encouragement once you look around at the world around us. Greed is an enormous monster in this culture and the root of our problems probably lie in how we simply take it for granted. That's just the way that it is and we've been told the lie for our entire lives about the majestic wonder of it all. Yet, once we accept it as a given then it becomes a part of our soul...GREED, a guiding principle in our life, in our society, regardless of the waste that it causes.

I don't want that to be the legacy that I leave for my kids. I don't want those lower instincts to control their lives. I'm afraid to think of my little girl making decisions based on the hunger aspect of her nature. Knowing her, she would probably come out fighting and striving and making quite a name for herself...but would she be happy? I'd much rather show her how to use her wisdom, to tap into the delicate heart of her compassion and bolstered with the dynamic courage that she already possesses, have her change the world with a gigantic smile on her face. And what a smile it is.

We have an obligation to the children of tomorrow, always have whether those children belong to us or not, because the lives that they live are the result of our commitment to this existence. Everything that is going on in the world today is a testament to those who came before us. The mire that we wallow in is due to the fact that too many people didn't care enough about us to matter. Sure, there are things that I appreciate and when I think about my mother and father I want to hug them and cherish them, but there's too much ugliness in this world and now that I am a parent, it's becoming so damn obvious that I can no longer pretend that it doesn't exist. We can't simply close our eyes and wish it away. We have an obligation to make it go away.

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