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Gratitude and ignorance feel like two sides of the same coin.

HomeForumsEmotional MasteryGratitude and ignorance feel like two sides of the same coin.

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  • #379101
    Weiword
    Participant

    I’m in a fortunate place where I don’t have to worry about survival everyday. But I do know that a lot of people aren’t as lucky as me, and societal differences keep that from changing.

    So, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel anymore. If I feel grateful for what I have, I start feeling bad for what others don’t have. And if I accept it as the way human society has developed and there’s nothing I can do about it, then, I do feel a bit grateful for my fortunate position, but it then loops back into feeling bad for the needy ones. This loop of thoughts is further amplified by the fact that nothing I do can help all of such people. And accepting the situation feels like ignorance towards them…and ultimately feeling bad about myself.

    So, any wisdom to share? Please and thanks!

    • This topic was modified 3 days, 22 hours ago by Weiword.
    #379113
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Weiword,

    it appears you feel guilty a little for being fortunate enough to have enough materially, while other people aren’t that fortunate. You are in a dilemma, because you know you can’t help all of the unfortunate/needy people, but if you don’t help at all, you feel bad about yourself.

    How about helping only some of the needy people, e.g. volunteering in organizations that promote a cause dear to your heart? You can’t help everybody, but you can help a few people. There’s a Jewish saying “Whoever saves one life, saves the entire world.” So you can help some of the people in need, even one single person, and you’re still doing a good deed.

    Does this help?

     

    #379115
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Weiword:

    “I’m in a fortunate place where I don’t have to worry about survival everyday”- good thing you don’t have to worry, but your survival every day is not guaranteed. You are not completely safe.

    “I do feel a bit grateful for my fortunate position, but it then loops back into feeling bad… feeling bad about myself”- it is not a fortunate position to repeatedly loop back into feeling bad about yourself.

    “This loop of thoughts is further amplified by the fact that nothing I do can help all of such people… So, any wisdom to share?”- yes: start with helping one of the many “such people”- yourself.

    anita

    #379129
    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Weiword

    “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. The warrior’s approach is to say “yes” to life: “yea” to it all.” ― Joseph Campbell

    Every myth and religious tradition has struggled with the question you asked. (often related to the question of why is their evil, pain, suffering in the world) The answer of the mystics is ‘YES’. However many will argue that the answer is No, get me off this ride and end the cycle.  Others that we broke Life (sin) and so must fix it.  (and we fix it by following the rules… and following the rules will be rewarded )

    You have already noted that you have little influence on the majority of the suffering in the world you are witness too, and a intuition that a answer of No is causing you a great deal of discordance.   That a answer of No is really a ego thing, a attempt to control life and shape it to our will.

    What if Life is not broken?

    The reality of life is that it ‘lives’ off life, life eats life, that is its wonder and horror. (each breath you take is a sacrifice of life, a birth, a death and a reresection)  Is is possible to say Yes to that wonder and horror? I believe there is.

    A No tends to go against the flow, against life, leading to resistance, tension, anger and fear. While a Yes enters into the flow where you actually can influence it. Think of the sky diver that has learned to use slight body moments to influence how he falls and avoid tumbling. Either way the skydiver is falling. They can fight it and tumble or relax, influence what they can an enjoy the ride.

    The challenge is the temptation to allow the Yes to turn to indifference and a disengagement with life. (which would be a No)

    A authentic Yes ‘sees’ life as it is, opening the heart to gratitude and compassion. A authentic Yes will avoid adding to the suffering of the world, alleviating the suffering that is within their power. This presents the challenge of learning how to be fully engaged in life as it is and “detached” from outcomes. (again not indifference) The tension between being contemplative (still) while active and engaged.

    Many of the mystics talk about the ‘stillness being the dance’  the ‘ darkness the light..  It will feel like a paradox. How can one be still and moving? How can the dark be the light?  (the way out is not up but down, into the pain)? How can one enjoy ones gifts while at the same time participating in the suffering of others, of life? (without the need of anger and hate to drive the movement?)

    Mindfulness, contemplation, gratitude, compassion…. action

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