I recently signed up for a Yahoo group and the first thing that greeted me were the words “your world, your way” in large print. I was a bit taken aback because the statement was so inherently “me” oriented. My first thought was this is a recipe for suffering. And my second thought was there are many such statements that encourage this me-mine state of mind in our media today.
The truth is we are all connected, each person to every other person to every living being on the planet and beyond. To imagine that one can have a separate world that centers on one’s self and on fulfilling one’s desires leads only to disappointment and ultimately to suffering, even if this world consists of a tiny portion of the internet like a Yahoo group. Seeking fulfillment from others is simply selfish and selfishness leads to suffering, not because it is inherently evil or bad but because what one is really seeking is not out there. It is within one’s self. This may or may not be your experience but I simply ask you to hold it in your thought as a possibility and see where it leads you.
I’m sure though you have had the experience that others do not understand you. This can be a really lousy feeling. You have sought confirmation outside of yourself and not found it. Each one of us has their own perspective; their own point of view which never seems to totally coincide with anyone else’s. It’s just a fact. Instead of trying to get people to agree with you. Try listening instead, not because it’s a “good” thing to do but because it can bring relief from the feeling of aloneness we often suffer from. Below are a few lines from what is known as The Prayer of Saint Francis.
Lord grant that I seek to understand, rather than to be understood…
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
This sums up what I’ve been saying from another perspective. Think about a time when you have really listened to another, really heard what they had to say. Was there not a feeling of closeness that flowed from this? Was there not a moment of bonding? Even if you don’t agree with another a closeness flows from fully understanding. Doesn’t this moment feel better than all the moments you have spent trying to get another to try to understand you? Wouldn’t your life be happier being filled with moments like these? It is in this moment you have forgotten yourself and found connection. Your world is no longer dominated by the tyranny of “me and mine”. Spaciousness has entered in; the circle has been drawn wider to include another. What a relief from your world, your way!