Monday, October 22, 2007

The Problems of the World

A few random thoughts and comments....

First, I recently came across this quote from Shantideva amongst my
collection:

"All the joy the world contains is through wishing happiness for others.
All the misery the world contains has come through wanting pleasure for
oneself."

The basic difficulty is selfishness (and that is with a small 's'). But
it's slightly more complicated then that. Let's see if we can't disentangle
it a bit.

1. Our initial idea is to find happiness for ourselves. While in and of
itself there is nothing wrong with that, in too many cases it involves
getting something from someone else or in someway depriving others of
something to do it. For instance, the basic 'necessities' of life are a
given, and under normal circumstances there is plenty to go around.
However, when certain people find that they need more than someone else,
then things go bad. This is in essence the human condition because of a
lack of satisfaction. People want what they don't have.

2. Wanting for oneself versus others also creates that sense of separation
- me versus others. When you want for others, and sincerely find joy in
seeing others happy, it minimizes the sense of 'me'. It begins to create an
identification with the other, expanding your sense of Self. Whatever
shifts the focus of attention from 'I, me, mine' to others - whether that
is extended 'me' (i.e. Family, tribe, nation), or to a Supreme Other -
Godhead, the Divine, etc. will help lessen the attachment and
identification to the individualized self.

3. The endeavor to become awakened comes from a personalized sense of self,
but it is also a recognition that the individualized ego sense is not
happy, and will ultimately never be happy seeking it's own gratification.
So although for many Enlightenment starts as the ultimate Ego-trip, it
actually necessitates the end of the ego. At this point, one can truly do
the most for apparent 'others' because it will not be based on selfish
desire. Here it is most undoubtedly the deepest innate sense of compassion
and expression of natural Love.

Well, that's all for now.