sometimes language matters. sometimes it doesn’t.
sometimes language matters. sometimes it doesn’t.
Daoism in practice.
a wonderful explanation of discernment.
The power of perspective.
Why Do I Study Physics? (2013)
There is no “perfect” or “imperfect,” only things we feel line up nicely and things that don’t quite fit with our assumptions of the world. The true perfection, then, is accepting things as they are.
"The world is not beautiful, and yet because of that, it is."
My white Israeli boss, when we got into a discussion about Trayvon Martin a while back, asked “What happened to you?” when I was explaining racism, as if some tragic event must be behind a white person caring about racism.
My parents are often baffled by it too. They have asked, “Who told you this?” and “Why does it matter?” and “What made you feel this way?”. It’s especially weird to them because when I talk about sexism and stuff they like to accuse me (subtly) of playing the victim, but they hate when I do the opposite and say “Hey, we’re kind of wealthy and have benefited from whiteness.” Like, they don’t think that’s true and also don’t see the benefit of claiming it and they ask me why a lot. (One conversation in Disney World a couple years back about the white princesses being so overtly first tier while the POC princesses were second tier comes to mind, where my mom said something like “I remember you loving having your blonde dolls! Why do you want less of them?” and “What would be wrong with it if the princesses just were all white, anyway?”) [you would seriously never know, until you bring these things up very directly, that my mom feels this way]
White people, especially in public forums or online where people are mostly strangers, have also asked me, “What, are you dating a black guy? Why do you care?”
And I have been, at least once, asked if I was mixed only after talking about racism (so I guess that’s the SECRETLY ASIAN thing).
In short, yes, I get questioned as to why, as a white person, it would mean so much to me.
I just don’t understand why it WOULDN’T. I mean, people are being mistreated. I’m benefiting from it. Of course it’s important to me that that stops.
We should all care, all the time.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." -MLK
I Wrote This For You (via cold-winter-days)
I suppose this is also Dao.
When people wish they could return to simpler times, what do they truly mean? Often, there is a desire to return to childhood and youth, or even to travel back to a different era of history, one without the fears and complications of our modern world. But what are they really seeking?
If we look at the times they wish to return to, the trend seems to be to relinquish a certain amount of control and power over their lives. No more managing your appointments and meetings and trying to find time for love all on your iPad, your Blackberry, your fifty different planners. And to be sure, having so much control over every waking minute of our lives is a scary thing. As I talked about before, there is definitely a comfort in relinquishing control.
But it is not the control that people really wish to relinquish, but the opposite: they wish to relinquish the feeling of powerlessness. Having such a technological world gives us immense power over our lives, but it also highlights the areas where we lack power. We are very much at the mercy of our bosses, our government, even our neighbors. But this would not change, even if we were to travel back to our youth, back to the romanticized past. The world will always be divided into areas where we have control, and areas where we will not, and this is okay. What is needed, then, is a change of perspective. We must give up trying to control that which is beyond us focus on the choices we can make right in front of us. We cannot change the minds of other people any more than we can change the weather around us. By accepting this, we can find much more happiness in our lives and compassion for the lives of others.
A mother is most compassionate to her children. She loves them with all her heart and yet does she allow them to misbehave, to take advantage of her love, to use her as a doormat?
The mother tempers her kindness with firmness. She may have a soft spot for her children sometimes and may be tough of them at other times.
It is similar with the compassion we practice towards all. People may be rude and careless regardless of your compassion, that is something you simply need to accept. But that doesn’t mean you have to meet that kind of behavior with passive allowance. You can remove yourself from the situation or respond to it with tough love, that’s up to your discretion.
But the crux of compassion is acknowledging what is best for all. If all the cars coordinated perfectly, there would be no traffic. Similarly, if all were compassionate toward one another, life could be more harmonious.
You do not need to wait for everyone to take up the practice of compassion. Being a practitioner of compassion yourself is enough to ease up the traffic around you. Just remember the tao of the Mother: absolute love tempered by having people’s best interests at heart.
Taking advantage, being harmful toward one another, and general carelessness is in no one’s best interest. But there is also a line between knowing when to stand up to it and knowing when to let it go. Time and experience will make that clear to you.
Some more wise words.
"It is important to maintain your equanimity. You cannot let yourself get too ‘up’ or too ‘down’ based on your circumstances."
“Too ‘down’ I understand. But why not too ‘up?’”
“Because the higher your mountains are, the deeper your valleys will seem. You should not react to the world. You should respond, but not react. A response is an action based on logic. A reaction is an emotional state. Your reaction will not change the world. Your reaction only changes you. Your response will change the world.”
This is Dao.