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good ‘as is’

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Comments to yesterday’s post brought me to an insight. The ways I see myself, alone and in relation to others, is informed by early childhood experiences. Over the years I’ve tried to shape-shift by means of schooling, therapy, travels, relationships, spiritual practice, volunteering, etc. And all along this belief — imprinted on the psyche — that much was wrong with me and that effort and luck might make a better person of me.

The German philosopher Schopenhauer (1788-1860) writes: “Everyone believes himself to be perfectly free, even in his individual actions, and thinks that at every moment he can commence another manner of life. … But through experience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, but subjected to necessity, that in spite of all his resolutions and reflections he does not change his conduct, and that from the beginning of his life to the end of it, he must carry out the very character which he himself condemns …” (Schopenhauer, A. [1851]. The wisdom of life. Dover edition 2004, p. 147).

That may be so, Herr Professor, except for the condemn part! Turns out that I have the freedom to accept all that has happened, all I have done or left undone, and all that I cherish and detest. Years ago, one teacher told me to “welcome everything and to push away nothing,” and another that “you’re not an improvement project.” What’s beginning to emerge is a view of myself as a good person — not good as in “as compared to” or “good enough, considering …” but as an innately blameless, ethical, and worthy being.

Not a bad way to start a Thursday, eh?


9 responses »

  1. Hi peter!

    Thanks for inspiring words that remind me about ups and downs of life,

  2. sounds like my “muddle through” theory of life: we all simply do what we do (not even “our best”) and there are no mistakes. If things don’t work the way we expected, we either try again or live with what happens or learn about our misguided expectations. If people get “surprised” by what we do, we live with it or expalin it or do it again.

    seems to me, peter, (and pardon the therapist coming through here) that you could make use of the constant information that you get on this blog that people like the blog, people like the items that you post to it, and they damn well seem to like YOU. “Accept love: have peace.”

    • ah yes, the muddle-through theory. I believe I have a mail order degree in it, from YouBeSaved U.

      “Accept love: have Peace” — another revolutionary concept, Steve. I shall put it to the committee at MonkeyMind Inc.

      with palms together,

  3. peter,
    new science suggests that we can rewire our brains, and if our character is encoded in the wiring (done while we were little), then we should be able to rewrite our characters. not saying its easy, not sure what the method is, all experimental. as the human race is new at understanding brain and character, all efforts toward improving self might best be viewed as an adventure of inner exploration.


    • perhaps science will win the day after all … and the Buddha-man declared Scientist of the Year for predicting it all while sitting under an old Ficus religiosa (Bodhi) tree. thanks, arnie, good to hear from you.

  4. Hi Peter
    Reading your blog has been extremely interesting the last few days more so then usual. As I have come to a frustrating place in my life…as you know I am trying to sell my house and it is not the fact that it hasn’t sold that it is frustrating it is the fact that people seem to lack imagination. You don’t have a dining room table (remove the buffet put in a dining table) so I can’t buy it…you don’t have enough kitchen cupboards (some could be hung from the ceiling over the bar…I will empty mine and pack away stuff early)so I can’t buy it…..why have you not changed all the doors upstairs since everything else is so beautifully redone (I have decided to move on….so you could add your touch to your home) so I can’t buy it…my agent says it is a result of all the home shows on TV these days….I think it is a sad time that we have lost our imagination

  5. Pingback: Button, button, who’s pushing my button? « Suhurat . . . Day's End

  6. Without question you are a ‘good’; person. My belief is we are all ‘good’ people. That is, we are innately good. We may have come into (been born) a culture that brings out the opposite of our goodness. Circumstances might further cause us to behave or feel inways that lead us to believe we are not that ‘good’ after all.

    However, I believe we have within us the ‘good’, ‘the bad’ the ugly, the beautiful; and every set of opposites we could think of. We are, as humans, living outthe duality that is what the planet Earth is all about:i.e. no up without down; no here without there; no good without bad. etc.

    We are internally the same; having within ourselves continuums of opposing energies. Some we don’t like and so push away (shadow ) and those that we most resist will persist and cause us grief until we are ready to embrace them -not let them run our lives -just bring some balance to the part that’s running the show right now.

    Hopethis babble makes some kind of ense to you, Peter. I mean to bring some light.

    • brenda, yr. babble makes sense: light and dark are part of the same. welcoming and embracing are the cutting edge of (my) spiritual practice.


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