Friday, January 21, 2011

Taking offense

I have written in here that I had a very dysfunctional childhood. It taught me to look for the worse from any direction. Childhood does not last a long time but it is very influential. I had several jobs in work sites in which those in charge were as dysfunctional as my parents and just as abusive. Sometimes, we as human beings, go on automatic and expect what we had experienced before not thinking in the present. The same message runs through our mind over and over again. We react in the same way, defensively, over and over again sometimes when the situation is not what we perceive it really is. We don't think clearly. We just react.

The world is not a safe place nor is it a place full of the dangers we think we see. In order to survive, we have to see the world as it really is. If we think there is a monster around every corner, we don't see the occasional flowers or smell their scents. We become the grumpy people much like those who abused us were and become so fearful we lash out at anyone who comes near us.

It does no good to blame our past or the people who did what they did to us. Most of them, at least in my life, are dead. The best I can do is to detach from them and what they did and to some extent forgive them by understanding how they got that way. That is very hard to do. I use journal writing and other forms of meditation to do that. I work hard to live in the present or live mindfully. That is hard too. When I get mad at someone I have to look at it and make sure I am not mad at something that happened years ago. Again, that is not easy to do but possible.

I feel better when I am not angry at people. I have more room in my mind for other things. I feel kinder towards others. I even can do things I could not do before like art work. My skills have picked up because I have more room in my mind for other things. I am not ruminating about how this person did this to me and that person forgot to do this and so forth. My stress level is much lower. I am always being surprised how many illnesses are connected to high stress levels.

On the other hand, I am going to get mad at people for good reason and that is alright. It happens, but I am going to try and not dwell on it for over 48 hours and not years. I remember a kid hitting me on my side where I just had major surgery when I was 10 years old. His name was Michael and he was blond and no one liked him because he was such a bully. On Valentine's Day, I gave him a card in class because I thought I was supposed to. No one in the class gave him one and this was after he had hit me and it did not harm to me. He had given no one any cards and spent the rest of the hour in class telling me that his mother had bought him cards and he forgot to bring them. I am 66 years old and that was 56 years ago and he is an old man like me if he is still alive. It is an interesting story, but I am still mad at him. I keep everything. I need to let go especially since he was doing such a good job of punishing himself. I have never wrote about it, and I can feel the anger going as I look at him in my mind and feel as if it was a few weeks ago. It was a bubble in time that needs to be released to the Cosmos. I can still see him clearly, but I know I will begin to forget.

Sometimes, our mind does things to help us forget. I had a 6th grade teacher who was very verbally abusive to me for some reason. It affected the way I related to teachers for a long time. I wanted to do something to release my anger but did not know what. I wrote a letter to the principal to the school where he used to teach about five years ago and where I went to school. I really worked hard on that letter and sent it. I never got an answer not even a form letter. I had explained that it was such a harmful experience and took care to explain the incidents, the full name of the teacher and the years I went there and everything.

Then one night I had a dream in which I was in the school yard of that school with a friend I went to school with and was in the same class with him. We were 12 years old. I knew she was killed when she was 20 years old. Then I saw her sister who was in the classroom next door. She also was young. Then this awful teacher walked up and I told him off and said all of the things I had written in the letter. He nodded and listened. My anger was dissipated. I found out later that my friend's sister who was there had died a few years before I wrote the letter and wondered if that teacher was gone too. Most important was the fact that I was not angry anymore. There was an eerie light in the dream and everything seemed so real. I can see remember it so clearly.

I still do a lot of things that is a reaction but I catch it now but not as often as I would like. I tried to remember to analyze why I am angry at people when my temper flares up. I am often amazed at those who have huge reasons why they are mad at certain people but maintain a sense of compassion such as His Holiness, The Dali Lama. I am not the Buddha of Compassion but I try to live in the present and not do things without giving some level of thought to my actions. I just wish I could do it more.

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