Friday, 21 May 2010

Where is the love?

What a morning... And I know that most people experience this level of frustration on an on-going basis and, heck, I'm normally able to control myself more too.  But this morning, I have had the most exhausting, fear-based telephone calls ever (and ironically, all with mobile phone providers who are - theoretically - based on the premise that they provide enhanced communication!). 

Why are big companies making their fortunes through manipulation and by creating unwarranted fears in their clients?  I've bumped my head (and heart) into this...

But this is indicative of a much wider social phenomenon.  The words of Dickens resound more true than ever, centuries later, these are still, "the best of times and the worst of times".  Or, more recently, in the words of the Black Eyed Peas, "Where is the love?"  (check out their superb lyrics).

What frustrates me more than these systems, is that I nearly descend to their level.  Being pregnant has had one very unexpected side-effect: I have no "social armour": small hurts pierce to the core, leaving me feeling utterly exposed.  Normally, I'm patient and can find the positive, or at least a position of compassion.  Not at that moment.  I was so irrate at the end of one call, that I jumped up and down in anger - a new one for me, I must admit!

But, what is the point of being alive if I cannot bring some love, compassion or light to the situation? Even if it is after the call ends...  On the positive side, I didn't loose my temper with the people I spoke with.

They are just like me... with desires and dreams, loves and hurts.  If I knew them personally, I am sure I would never dream of feeling so irrate.  Compassion can be so much easier with those we love.

But it is not always the people in these situations that wound our hearts. It is the roles that we are forced into by large corporations: their frameworks. their rules and their limitations...  It's important to distinguish between the role that person has to play (or feels obliged to play) and the essence of that person, in order to hold onto (or in this case, remember) any compassion.

When I get to the point where I feel empty inside, I try to remember two great stories.  Viktor Frankl, who was tortured in a concentration camp with electrodes under his fingernails, said afterwards that he maintained compassion by remembering that the guard had no freedom to choose, while Frankl, had the power to choose whether to hate that guard or feel compassion for him...

The second story is of a monk who spent, if memory serves me, over two decades in a Chinese prison.  When recounting his story to the Dalai Lama, he said that the hardest part for him was in the moments when he felt he was losing his compassion for the prison guards.

In comparison, I have a long way yet to go!

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