July 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm #39264
Thank You Christina, you are being kind. And of course whether it was my bird or your cat or even a butterfly, we feel the same. I have absolutely no regrets over nurturing the little bird, none at all. And you are quite right, it’s death was an incident. I don’t have too much trouble understanding and qualifying the event which happened. Rather like the poor cat under your car. Perhaps even exactly the same. The problem I am having is reconciling that straightforward knowledge about what happened with the powerful feelings of guilt I’m experiencing – which certainly don’t match up. It’s the surprising imbalance which is throwing me.
:}July 27, 2013 at 5:47 am #39274JohnParticipant
I wish I could show you more empathy Gary for your plight, but I really find it difficult. I’ve been down the road of obsessive guilt before and looking back now, I recognize how unproductive or rather how destructive it was to me and those around me.
If you’re like me and grew up with a Western Judeo-Christian view of right and wrong / good vs evil / sin and penance, then you too have been brainwashed to believe that for every mistake you make you have self-flagellate yourself to gain inner peace and equilibrium.
To be honest, I wouldn’t care if you had actually even murdered that bird on purpose, I still don’t think the kind of pain and suffering that you’re putting yourself through is productive and will help you grow and develop as a person.
Sure, we all make mistakes. But how many tears are you willing to shed for that mistake? What good is it doing anyone? Is there perhaps not another bird that could benefit from your inner goodness that you could help rather than spending time stewing in guilt and pain?
Guilt and regret can be very productive emotions because they can provide important life lessons on how we can be better in the future. However, a guilt that has you paralyzed with fear and anxiety only stifles your growth and actually doesn’t teach you anything. That kind of guilt actually does a disservice to you and to the world around you by robbing it of the potential contribution that you could making right now.
I truly hope you find the peace your looking for, but don’t trust your inner monologue on this one to help you find it. The negative self-talk is a trick that your mind is playing on you.
Here’s a resource that might help: http://theidproject.org/media/podcast/guilt-necessary-part-1-2July 28, 2013 at 5:07 am #39296
Once again, this is good advice, and I feel your sympathy. Thank You John.
Yes Christian background upbrininging does rather create a backdrop which is not always helpful at these times. I can see that. And much of what I learn from Tiny Buddha is about viewing things differently. A greater knowledge. The real pity here is maybe I am so entrenched in my christian background I cannot take full advantage of Buddhism an allow myself release from this pain. I will keep looking, and searching for a different way to view what I have done, what happened, and what I feel about it.
Your suggested web-link gives me more food for thought.
You are not a bad bunch of Guys.
Thanks again John.
GaryJuly 28, 2013 at 11:28 am #39334
One of my teachers said we can look toward our upbringing for answers. If you’re Christian, then perhaps this might help. Since the garden and the apple, humans fall into sin over and over. It is through our repentance and acceptance of Christ’s love we find redemption and joy. It is not through self flagellation that we find peace, rather admitting we’re flawed and giving our sins back to God. To hate ourselves for being imperfect is pride, because it means we wish we were like God, who is perfect.
Turning toward the digging with your bare hands to feel pain, toward the self-loathing… those are false idols, false redemption. Give them up, give it back to God, who is behind all things.
MattJuly 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm #39341
Thanks Matt, but I am not religious in anyway – which is one of the reasons I approached this site.
People seem to focus upon my punishing myself, which is indeed what I do. But what I NEED, is answers. I need to know why death comes to the so young, why the bird could not have had more of life, why it had to be so violent instead of peaceful ?
I have had people tell me we don’t know the answers – that is just the way it is ‘in the grand scheme of things’ and that I just have to accept it, have faith. But I don’t have that faith.
I really need answers.
GaryJuly 28, 2013 at 4:49 pm #39342PeaceParticipant
Hey Gary, I’m sorry for your loss. You loved that bird and she meant something to you. I’m sorry it all happened like that.July 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm #39343
Thank You Peace. :}August 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm #39567
Thank You to All who have tried. I have several comforts of kindness and, several wisdoms from you. Thank You.
What I don’t have is any answers.
No regrets.August 2, 2013 at 6:50 am #39587
You just don’t have answers you like, but no words will bring the bird back. Namaste, I wish you peace.August 2, 2013 at 9:52 am #39600JohnParticipant
I think of this parable whenever I’m faced with the big “why” questions that have me spinning in circles.
“It’s just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me… until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short… until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored… until I know his home village, town, or city… until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow… until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated… until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird… until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.’ He would say, ‘I won’t have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.’ The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.”
— Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya” (MN 63), Majjhima NikayaAugust 2, 2013 at 11:50 am #39610
I am not trying to bring the Bird back, I have given that up. And almost all the responses I have received have been welcome, sometimes interesting, always kind and partly helpful. I like nearly all of them. People have been supportive. John’s response above is very truthful, sensible.
But I still do not see anyone giving a reason why a young innocent life had to be taken when the alternative was so ‘right’.August 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm #39617
Well, in the absence of and your resistance to “spiritual ideas” there is no reason why it “had to” happen. The bird was wild, flew into a fan because it had low cognitive functioning of a small and feral brain that had no way of incorporating a stimuli such as a fan, whereby the speed and mass of the fan blade provided too much force for the bones in the bird to resist, breaking its spine, which disrupted the functioning of its organs and caused internal bleeding whereby the cells in its body didn’t have the oxygen and glucose they needed to function, so they stopped functioning. Why would your feelings of ‘right’ make any difference to a physical process such as this?August 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm #39622
Well done Matt. Every word of your description makes total sense. If it was a straight mechanical/physical sequence of events then that is its own reason. There doesn’t have to be any ‘higher being’ any other ‘higher reason’. This explanation is totally acceptable.
That does not mean to say I wish there were no other ‘higher’ reason, be that spiritual or otherwise. But a mechanical world I can live in without feeling the need to demand answers/explanations form some intangible mysticism.
Thank You again Matt. Already I am beginning to feel something lightening-up.August 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm #39641maitri2allParticipant
Thank you for sharing this event and its effects in your life with us all.
After reading Matt’s and John’s latest posts I heard my mind say
“Feel as you would want the bird to feel”
Gary, if you could be the bird what would you wish to say to Gary?
(I don’t want to pollute that thought but must add.. That bird experienced “Love” 🙂 through you. If we are all nothing but energy then before its physical transformation that bird and you changed the world for the better and surely he or she is still with you everyday. I think it forgave you before it ever happened.)
I once overheard a little girl say to her Mommy “ouch that hurt” while her Mom was helping her get out of the car. The Mother softly and sweetly replied “Mommy would never mean to hurt you”August 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm #39644
Today I am getting better. Matt’s words were the first which seemed to carry ‘real’ reasons for the events. Maitri2all’s words, permission for me to accept.
I have never considered how the Birds feelings might be now. I guess there could be several;
‘Why did you put that fan on when I was practising my flying ? It killed me.
“Thank You, for rescuing me and giving me 3 weeks of the best you could, making me know I was loved.”
“Will I ever see you again ?” I do so want to, so very much.”
“There’s nothing you can do now Gary. But PLEASE don’t ever forget me ?”
As if I ever, could.