Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hot Yoga Yesterday With Alex and Claire

Every philosophy that I have found to jive well with mine requires a few things. Presence, compassion, openness, and honesty. That’s not to say those are the only things. They are the ones I just thought of and can’t disagree with. As always it is a process, never something I fully achieve—that would be pretentious.

Presence. Be it the Enneagram, yoga, rowing, conflict resolution, Buddhism, etc. I have learned something; it is impossible to escape reality fully. Being present and in the moment gives me the power to interact with people truly. Regardless of the situation, no one ever gets mad at me for being there. Showing up is a lot of the job, but being mentally in the activity—be it only talking—never is met with disgust. I choose to be where I am when I am as much as I can. It is the utmost form of politeness.

Compassion similarly is important for me. I emphasize compassion over empathy and sympathy because those are reflective on the listener. To genuinely care for someone regardless of my ability to relate to the situation is more than a little difficult. Compassion is caring with innocence to the situation. It is what happens when a small child comforts a parent in pain. The child does not know the complexity of the situation nor will it probably ever, but it does care for the parent. Everyone carries a lot of pain with them. I choose to be compassionate because I will never know all the pain; or anyone’s perspective fully.

Openness. This is the hardest one for me. I try not to have secrets. I do have a private life. There are things I don’t tell people. But I do trust people with everything I say. I will tell if only asked, and I am happy to forfeit information about myself. I will not, however, forfeit anyone else’s secrets ever. They can choose how open they want to be. As for me my life is an open book. I do keep a blog.

Honesty is integral to all of this. If I can’t be honest in the most basic sense of the word—telling the truth—then I can’t do any of the other elements. It is all a façade without honesty. I try hard to tell the truth. Truth of course is relative, and I try hard to correct any misinformation I give. Honesty in a larger sense is honesty with myself. I evaluate myself periodically to see if I am living a fulfilling life as I define it. I have to be honest about the things I do wrong, the hurt I cause, and how much impact I have on other people in my life.

It ain’t easy. I hope one day it will be. I also hope that I don’t publish this and think I’m a pretentious prick.