Another Nagging Question


I am not a people person.  I’m sorry.  I can relate to other people, I have meaningful relationships and I have friends.  But there are a lot of people out there I don’t particularly like.  And I can’t stand group-think.  Some people think it’s terrible, but I would rather hang out with my dog than many people (if you’re reading this, of course I’m not talking about YOU, only other people).

So my question is this:  Can I truly be motivated by love and compassion, can I say “namaste” to anyone and mean it with all my heart, even while fundamentally disliking most people, or maybe just their choices?

My translation of namaste is, “The divine light in me sees and recognizes the divine light in you.”

Thanks for being patient with my questions.  Your answers are helping me, and I’m hoping to start writing about my answers soon.



2 comments on “Another Nagging Question

  1. Krista says:

    I don’t think this is a question that can have an answer. But I can offer some thoughts that may help.

    I think in order to connect deeply with others — to see their divine light — one must be able to love and appreciate the self — one’s own divine light. Equally important, but often overlooked, we must understand our own darkness in order to understand the darkness in others.

    This quote changed my view of compassion:

    “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
    ― Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

    The light of others can be easy to see when they make choices we understand, appreciate, and condone. But I believe that the divine light is held by *everyone*, regardless of the choices they make. I don’t believe a person’s worth is dependent on his or her choices or even his or her personality. It’s intrinsic and inexorable. I believe this is the thing that connects us — that, fundamentally, we are all spun from the same thread of life, and that makes us inherently worthy of love, no matter how badly we fuck things up.

    So, no, being motivated by love and compassion doesn’t mean we have to love or even accept a person’s actions. But it does mean, I think, we must love others even in spite of their choices. It means we must strive to recognize the cloth from which we are both cut, even if it’s often very difficult to see beneath layers of hurt and fear. And when we can understand how our own hurt and fear motivated us to darkness, we can better understand the darkness we see in others…and then we can see their light.

    So, yes, I think that *is* at odds with your statement about “fundamentally disliking” most people (and I think it’s important for you to discover whether it is the people you dislike, or the choices, because those are dramatically different things).

    My journey over the past several months has forced me to learn to be a more loving, compassionate person. And the first step in my doing that was learning about the darkness I hold inside — ultimately, accepting my humanity. It’s still hard and I struggle with it on a regular basis. But as I progress, the depth of my relationships with other people increases almost a ridiculous amount, and I am by default more understanding, more forgiving, and less anti-social. I hate a lot fewer people than I used to. 🙂

    (P.S. In case I accidentally sounded too high-and-mighty in this post, let me assure you that I can still be a totally petty bitch sometimes. I’m working on it…but yeah. Sometimes people make it REALLY hard to see the “sameness cloth.” Hah.)

    • indiwind3 says:

      That’s the second time I’ve seen a quote from that book today. I should read it. I like your answer, Krista, and thanks for taking the time and effort to answer it. I *thought* that’s where I was coming from, too, but then I often think, god but people are so stupid/mean/hateful/etc.! I think I’ll blog about this one again soon. Thanks!

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