SIMPLY BEING

Tag: empathy (page 1 of 1)

Corona Notes: Privilege

These are the days when we speak and hear a lot about privilege. How privileged we are that we may work from home, that we can afford to maintain social distancing, perhaps even forego income temporarily, and so on.

I feel rather awkward around these conversations.

For one, I can never presume to know what another is experiencing… Just like no one can truly know or understand what I am experiencing. This is because our experience is wholly internal/invisible; it isn’t something the world can see, let alone comment on.

Does someone feel an acute lack of privilege? Who am I to be a judge of that? Now, I can use my limited experience and unlimited imagination to craft a story of need, privilege, comfort, scarcity. We do this all our lives, and we get really good at it. Sometimes we term it as “empathy.”

All I can do is be present, and trust fully in the action that emerges. Rest is endless conversation and storytelling, either to myself and/or to the world.

(Posted on Instagram, Feb 12: I am now beginning to understand the difference between activity and action. It’s all Osho’s wisdom, really… slowly integrating, assimilating. Activity is relentless, ceaseless, endless… and it results in exactly zero outcomes. In fact, it is its own outcome. Action is something altogether and entirely different. It is quick, swift, decisive. Even if a particular action looks like it may be the outcome of much thinking/weighing/analyzing/measuring, the truth is that it is an independent entity, more governed by the moment, the space of that moment.

In fact, activity builds on itself ad infinitum but action has its own momentum, and it dies instantly… whereas activity endlessly perpetuates itself, generating stories and narratives.)

Come Say Hi

“Why didn’t you come say Hi?”

Umm, it is a little tough to explain.

It is pretty likely that I was really happy to see you, as in literally “see” you. And I sincerely wish that your life is great, and everything is well at your end.

(I wonder, though… that if that weren’t the case, and if you were weathering challenges, would you tell me?)

And so, if we were to run into each other someplace, I suppose we would exchange pleasantries about the weather, mutual friends, children, school updates, etc. All important and significant details, I know. And I am good at this stuff, I really am. I learned early enough to converse, talk to strangers and acquaintances, make people comfortable. Someone once described me as being “delightful in most social situations.” But these aren’t my favorite kind of conversations. They feel rather onerous to me. I feel the burden of being “socially delightful.” It isn’t that I don’t care about you or your life; I genuinely do. But I don’t know if I am really interested in exchanging mundane details about our mutual lives.

Is any detail mundane, though? Not to the individual in question, no. I find the mundaneness in my life rather beautiful. It is comforting, grounding. But I am not necessarily excited about sharing it with others.

Does that make sense?

Also, I have come to think that I (or we?) am an outsider to everyone else’s life but my own. Friendly outsider, perhaps? So I can lend a ear, a shoulder… but can I do much else?

Maybe that is the point of these general encounters. To listen without judgment. To be a friendly witness, a silent and warm presence.

What I’d love to know is what you think about life. I would love to know about your imaginings, fears and victories. I’d like to know how you fell, and what made you rise.

But these conversations are organic, and best left unplanned.

Besides, not everyone is necessarily up for that conversation. So we continue to subsist on superficial talk. And it keeps things chugging along nicely.