Apr 18Liked by Robert Aho

This was a timely read for me, as I have been grappling with exactly how dedicated I can be to others, who may be suffering terrible situations (or perhaps my mind is exaggerating), and to what extent that goal diverts me from simply growing in my own embodiment of The Good.

Sometimes, actions are profound, sometimes they are just rearranging the pigpen, at the expense of true Inner growth, which may look (paradoxically) like detachment or disinterest. It is very hard for me to allow myself to detach, when others seem to be drowning.

An extremely profound poem was once shared with me, Mary Oliver's "The Journey". It sums up a lot of this tension. I have trouble believing that my own life has as much value as those I'm trying to "save", and that sometimes social projects are a distraction. I am still unclear and have a lot of guilt.

I'll leave it here, and will thank you deeply for addressing a current knot that's been difficult to untangle. Please have me in your thoughts.

"The Journey"

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice --

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voice behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do --

determined to save

the only life that you could save.

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Apr 18Liked by Robert Aho

So much suffering! I feel like since I'm here, if we can share a moment of kindness, laughter, closeness... isn't that spreading Bodhichitta? So they might offer it to the next person?

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Apr 18·edited Apr 18Author

Yes, of course we should do that if we can. Spreading very positive karma in that way provides benefit to all. This would, however, only work with someone who had more of an open heart and mind. People who are very closed-minded or dominated by anger might take offense if they hear someone laugh. They might think that kindness is a sign that someone is a fool. Being close, honest and open would be out of the question for them.

It really depends on the person and the situation. We should always do our best, but sometimes that means simply detaching. As we develop Bodhicitta, our compassion grows and we begin to sense what we should do in various situations a bit better. Our presence is very situational, dependent upon Bodhicitta, as well as our capacity to open our heart and mind in such a way that we sense what would bring the most benefit to all.

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Apr 18Liked by Robert Aho

It's a great way to frame it, what brings the most benefit to all...

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