Category "Buddhists and Futurists"

Category "Family Matters"

October 28, 2010

my little suffering

It's been awhile since I've posted anything here, and it's not because I don't have anything to say. My silence has been fueled largely by a lot of travel recently, and as much as I like to travel for work, it really does mess with a routine. Eventually, I find myself feeling a little run down, and now I've got a cough, and I'm tired and it's Halloween and I'm wishing I weren't feeling so tired and run down. So, I started this post wanting to complain about a few things, but as I was feeling that urge to complain, I was reminded by a recent reader comment asking about how I define compassion. So, let's start there.

I think compassion is partly about recognizing suffering in someone else. Suffering is such a buddhist word to me, and although I find myself drawn to buddhism, I sometimes question (in vain) whether suffering really conveys the right meaning of other people's pain and struggle. To me, suffering is a really strong feeling, like the agony of being in the last days of dying of cancer, not the pain of being surrounded by too many things. But when I reflect, I recognize that they are both a type of pain, one just being more profound than the other and that the degree of pain and how it inflicts itself depends on the person and their perceptions, so I think suffering IS a useful word in relation to compassion. So, in order to be compassionate, I think you have to recognize the suffering of others. And then, I think you have to respond to that suffering with love and kindness. That show of love and kindness might manifest itself differently depending on the person and what that person needs and appreciates, and maybe knowing how to respond lovingly is part of the challenge and the learning that comes with experience.

I think that people respond with anger, hurt, and thoughtlessness when they are so distracted by their own suffering that they are not able to respond with love. Our own suffering can sneak up on us--sometimes I think we don't even know we have a wound until something comes along and rips the scab right off.

This happened to me recently. I have struggled over the last several days because I have wanted to respond in kind (i.e., not with kindness). I have wanted to go looking for a wound that needs some salt rubbed in it because I have been suffering myself. In the process of talking with a few good friends, though, I have started to embrace my suffering, and am trying to take care of it. I have been working to recognize that thoughtlessness happened because of someone else's suffering, and it is better to take care of myself and be ready to respond with compassion than it is to point out the short comings in others. This is not easy, and I am working on it. I will let you know how it goes.

Posted by chri1010 at 10:41 PM | Comments (5679) | Buddhists and Futurists | Family Matters

Category "Buddhists and Futurists"

August 25, 2006

The intercontextual and paradigmatic self

For a long time, I've been feeling frustrated with the baggage that comes with words like "multiculturalism" and "interculturalism." In the US context, these words seem to be in struggle with each other, as "multicultural" usually refers to the power dimensions of race, class, and gender in this country. On the other hand, "intercultural" is sometimes accused of resisting the inclusion of these power dimensions by instead focusing on the ethnic differences between nations. I don't think this tension is that useful as I approach the future.

I think the key concept of the future is the self. With globalization and internationalization, people can have experiences in many different realms. Ethnicity and power difference will still matter, but an individual's ability to creatively manage multiple contexts will make these matters much less significant, I think.

I like the notion of the paradigmatic self. The idea here that we can move in and out of different paradigms, more than just cultural contexts. If a paradigm is a set of assumptions and values that guide our view of the world/reality, well then, it makes sense that we can have different selves that view the world differently, depending on the set of assumptions we're using at that moment. I think, though, that these selves aren't as fleeting as my word "moment" suggests. Although we can have indefinite paradigmatic selves, the paradigm is related to the context in which we're operating (thus, intercontextual self).

Of course, we may even be said to have epistemological selves: selves that have different ways of knowing depending on the paradigm/context. I'm not sure, though, that epistemology has as much explanatory value as either paradigm or intercontext.

Posted by chri1010 at 12:42 AM | Comments (2053) | Buddhists and Futurists

Category "Buddhists and Futurists"

10 years from now. . . .

Buddhists and Futurists will be working together to create contexts for the development and implementation of virtual selves. These viritual selves will encompass our "imagined, visionary self/selves" as we work toward actualizing our "liveability quotient." On our path, we'll enlist the assistance of buddhists and futurists to guide us to imagine, develop and experience contexts in which selves can be successfully implemented, maintained, and changed.

Important concepts in this process:

--experiencing both fragmentation and unity of the self

This process will involve developing multicultural, intercultural, and paradigmatic selves. We'll be practicing letting go of rigid role definitions.

Posted by chri1010 at 12:40 AM | Comments (1601) | Buddhists and Futurists