Living in interesting times

2012 June 1
by Tanya McGinnity
From Fuck Yeah Boston Terriers
From Fuck Yeah Boston Terriers


There’s been so much distraction going on these days taking me away from practice and study. Just when it seems like one crappy area of life is cleared up, another miserable news story pops up, or I feel like I’m living in a war zone where there are mass protests and non-stop arrests (I’m not being metaphorical or overly dramatic in this statement so check the news lately to see that people are turning into crazy cannibal zombies fueled by bath salt psychosis). I’m really not joking.

All of this is more reason to sit. To be silent. To reflect on what is going on both out there and in me. My habitual patterns when hit with all this woo-hoo in the world is to go to extremes. I either want to jump in with both feet and set up foundations, crisis management centers, soothe the victims and then be of no use to anyone after burning out from idiot compassion. Then the other extreme I display is to turn away and to try to avert my eyes to what is going on around me.

This lack of balance is where it gets tricky for me. There’s the thin line between unicycling on the Hinayana path of self awareness, being gentle to myself and the focus on personal discovery coupled in tandem with the double-dutch shared skipping of the Mahayana where we work with the blinding fast skipping rope that whirrs around our ears.

It’s sometimes said that we’re our own best teachers and that we know what it is that we need to apply or practice if we do take the time to view our unobscured minds. This is where I’m currently placing my effort. To better understand and to add a bit of space around these circumstances. Reflecting on the six paramitas during these shaky times, I’m going with the ebb and flow and seeing what comes up.

  • What suggestions do you have when the world gets you down?
  • Are there any practices or teachings you have bonded with during these times?
3 Responses
  1. June 2, 2012

    I think Tonglen, the practice of giving and taking, is the best medicine for worldgotyoudowninitis. Even when things seem hopeless, even when the human race seems to have finally gone and blown it for good, opening up to all that suffering and inviting it in is the only cure I’ve found. It’s ironic, but by acknowledging that the world is a hopeless mess (let’s be real here, things are never going to be “just right”) I feel that I become more open and available to it and that I can do the “right” thing without thinking about it too much. At least I hope so.

    In any case, thanks for the great post and have a great weekend!

    P.S. And for the love of Pete! What do I gotta do to get on your blogroll already? 😉

  2. June 3, 2012

    First off, I love your writing. Second, I hear you on the extremes. Finding the middle ground is definitely tough for passionate, empathic people.
    For me, I remind myself that everyone is at their own stage of development in life, and that just because we feel that practices of Buddhism are the way to peace and serenity, it does not mean that others feel that way. Where do we fit in?
    -Helping others become more aware of their actions and how they affect others spreads
    -Accepting that we are not here to fix peoples’ problems. That is not sustainable and does not actually serve the person in need. They need empowerment.
    -Stay true to your path. Trusting the process and the natural unfolding of your life can be excruciating at times. Things take time, and you may reach out to help, then draw back, and find 2 months or a year down the road that the opportunity to help is again there, and you are now ready.
    -Of course, slowing, sitting, and breathing are pivotal in having clarity. I still have not made that my daily practice, despite knowing the value. When I see my weaknesses (such as lack of meditation despite knowing the amazing benefits first hand) without judgement, I can be more compassionate with others who are also “just not there yet”
    Thank you for sharing so eloquently.

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