I sometimes struggle with how much information to give someone vs. letting them figure it out on their own. This is both at work and at home with my kids. I guess it goes back to the whole “If you give a man a fish…” dealie. Continuing to give out free fish is putting me in a situation of being the fisherman. Not a bad occupation by any means, but it does get a little smelly and I have my eyes set on dry land.
It is most definitely a practice in patience. I get torn between wanting to get the task done and wanting to allow the person to learn (and ultimately leave me alone 🙂 ). I also don’t want the other person to think that I am dragging them along. If they get frustrated then it is of no use. They will dismiss everything that they are doing as busy work. The goal is that at the end they either know how to do it or have enough information to figure out how to do it on their own. It is a balancing act.
It is frustrating to me while doing this. I want to shake the person and say “Why don’t you know how to do this? Why am I the only one paying attention?”. I don’t. Luckily today everything has been through instant message, so it has allowed me to think more about my reaction. At some point the giving of information and letting people struggle becomes natural and I take over when needed. Or at least when I feel it is needed. This is all just an extension of my practice. Today I learn about patience and acceptance.
Of course, now the parallels come into play. If I am teaching others like this, how am I being taught? How much information am I being given vs. banging my head on the wall to find out on my own? And if I have that sort of abandoned feeling, is that just me being left to figure it out myself. The end result being that it is something that is more rewarding and more meaningful to me and my experience. Maybe I don’t get the exact correct answer or maybe I go about it a different way than is initially prescribed. The end result is the same. Eventually, the lesson is forgotten and we are left with our instincts on how to return.
It is easy to see my kids as projections of myself. i don’t mean that they are not independent people, but I definitely see myself in them. The way that they act. The things that I hate about myself are the things that I see first in them. They yell at each other. They are bossy. These are all things that upon self-reflection are my own issues. I cannot correct anything in them. Whether internal thought or external action, they pick up on my vibe, and they cling to my example.
Their shyness is my own. Their anger is mine. But I cannot take just the bad right. I cannot just see my negative qualities and how much I hate myself. I have to see the good. I have to see the love and caring. I have to see the intelligence and creativity. They are as just me as the anger.
I tried to take today and be as much of an observer of thought and action as I possibly could. I tried to step back and let things happen without putting my old way of thinking into play. I tried to take today to change.
I had got my wife a Kindle Fire a couple of weeks ago for an early Mother’s Day/Her Birthday/Our Anniversary present. I realized this morning lying in bed that I couldn’t let that stand as her gift for Mother’s Day. Last year I planted a small flower garden and I wanted to continue that tradition as much as possible. The day before I had put a short fence around the area to keep the dogs out and I put the compost down. So the decision this morning to do that for her wasn’t a spur of the moment one. But yesterday we had a pretty good fight, and that made me selfishly not want to plant the garden. The revelation this morning when I got up is that I needed to do this for her and me. What will be remembered in a couple weeks? The argument or the flower bed? And my wife did appreciate it. I can’t ignore that. I think that she was really touched that I did that for her.
Giving your anger the instrument of words and actions is like giving a child a pile of straw and a box of matches. Once lit, anger feeds off the air of exposure and can rage out of control. The only alternative is to control anger, and the way to do this is to thinking, What is the value of anger? What is the value of tolerance and compassion.
The 14th Dalai Lama – Tenzin Gyatso
On the ride to my mom’s for Mother’s Day, my youngest was in rare form. He was sleeping and my wife reached back to adjust his car seat because his head kept flopping. Well, he woke up all pissed off. Which is a little understandable, but he just has severe anger issues. (Which again sounds familiar to me. We are having him evaluated for “sensory” issues tomorrow. I am not sure what all that means, but he definitely experiences the word differently than most. He is very particular about his pants wanting to wear only ones that are super tight calling the others “too wiggly”. Long aside.) So he is yelling in the backseat wanting her to put it back up. When she does put it back up he starts yelling for her to put it back down. I am trying to keep calm and ignore it, but my wife is at her breaking point too. I pull the car over and get him out of his seat. I am trying my best to stay calm and not push any more anger into the situation. As best as I can I have him understand that it is wrong for him to yell and scream and that is not the way to get what he wants.
Who is teaching who here?
The connection between compassion and egolessness goes both ways. When we let go of the self, we are more inspired to work with others; and when we are generous to others, we realize that the self is lost.
We begin to lose our ego fixation. So when we are generous to that, we begin to lose this; and when we have lost this, we become more capable of dealing with that. At that point, the shedding of ego is a mutual situation.
Why do I fight so much with the ones I love? It seems sometimes that I put all of the anger that I have from the outside world onto them. I guess it seems impolite or out of place to go off on a co-worker, and I know that my family will forgive. It is absolutely no excuse that I project my anger onto them. They are the ones that I love the most and they are the ones that feel the brunt of my rage. If this Inner Engineering course does nothing besides help me manage and understand my anger then I will consider it a success. That is the thing that I need most right now. Enlightenment and the universe can come later. I need peace with my family and peace with myself.
It has taken me a while and a lot of anger to get me to realize that not everyone knows what I know. That sounds logical on the surface that not everyone has had the same experiences that I have had, but in practice it has actually been more difficult for me. I have expectations of how people should react when I tell them something based on what I think that they should know. Whether it is at work or at home, I have found that especially if someone asks me how to do something, I should not take it for granted that they remember what I have told them before or that they have the same intuition on how to do something based on their past experiences that I might. They do not know what I think they should know. They know what they know. This is not a bad thing. The kicker is, the same is true for me. I do not know the same things that other people know, and I would want to be treated with kindness and understanding if someone was teaching me how to do something.
You are influenced by the past, but in reality there is no past. The past is something that you made up that just simply jives with whatever you can accept as your reality. It contains your fears that you will relive until you overcome them. But it also contains your hopes and your joys. The suffering that you may have encountered has taught you a lesson. All of this combines to make you who you are today. Every choice made you the person reading these words. You are alive. That is pretty fucking amazing. How can any of that be wrong?
What you are, what you think you are and what others think you are, are all different. What is the real you? What you think you are is shaped by what you think others think of you. You have developed a way to think of yourself that you would like others to adopt. Unfortunately, other people experience you and they have their own ideas about what you are. Sometimes they will think better of you and sometimes they will think worse. Mostly what they think of you is all tied up in what they think of themselves. Somewhere in there each of you has a real you that is lost in all those ideas.
In order to get a sense of the real you, you need to notice what it is that you want people to think about you. If you notice a difference between what you think about you, what you want people to think about you, and what you think people think of you, the real you lies in that difference. You are not right, they are not right, there is an unknown something in there that is the real you.
Most of our energy is spent creating and projecting and protecting an idea of ourselves that is constantly changing. Beneath it all is something, something wonderful.