I make no claim to understand people. In fact, I’m often confused by peoples motivations or responses.
For a long time, I was convinced that my lack of understanding was a result of my own limitations. I believed I was either naive about the situation, or I had put up too many barriers between myself and others to ‘grok’ their meaning.
We all have so much in common, so why is basic communication so difficult? We are all born, we all die, we all suffer, and we all experience occasional joy.
Yet we live in isolated, individual boxes, cut off from all other knowledge except by our physical senses.
Carl Sagan talked about the wonder of books, and the written word. How books allow a voice to talk directly into your mind from different centuries.
Beyond just our senses, our lives are affected by the entropy of those around us. The stirring, sometimes whirling energy of the lives around us as they pass near, as they have their own experiences in their boxes. The constant motion.
This is one reason I seek calm. The quiet peace of watching the breath is so refreshing. The peaceful nature of mindful meditation is a refuge.
I’m reading a translation of The Dhammapada by Gil Fronsdal. It is an interesting translation. I just ran across this timely passage.
Give up anger, give up conceit,
Pass beyond every fetter.
There is no suffering for one who possesses nothing,
Who doesn’t cling to body-and-mind.
The one who keeps anger in check as it arises,
As one would a careening chariot,
I call a charioteer.
Others are merely rein-holders.
Conquer anger with non-anger;
Conquer wickedness with goodness;
Conquer stinginess with giving,
And a liar with truth.
To be a charioteer is a good goal. I can work on that.