MINDFULNESS OF YOURSELF AND OTHERS IN THESE RADICAL TIMES
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
By Jaime Carlo-Casellas, Ph.D.
Recently, two important days were observed throughout the world, the Holocaust Remembrance Day and the explosion of the Spaceship Challenger. Events that brought up three important conundrums: man’s savage cruelty towards others; our brief, unpredictable sojourn on this planet; and, comprehending our purpose in life.
During these Augean times when a pundit such as Alan Dershowitz, an American lawyer and scholar of constitutional law, states that “Presidents can abuse power if it helps them get re- elected,” we have to stop and ponder about these poignant issues. As to the first one, man’s savagery towards others, our human experience is without meaning or unworthy of analysis until we mindfully question why man habitually murders and inflicts pain and suffering on others. Where does this seedbed of loathing and odium reside?
Be it by racism, homophobia, inequitable incarceration, forcibly seizing children from their parents at the US border, or placing migrant children diagnosed with influenza in dangerously overcrowded centers and subsequently seeing them die, all clearly show that man’s savage cruelty towards others, as in Nazi Germany, is still alive and doing well in the United States under the current presidency. And, my prediction is that this presidency will go on to live in infamy.
In terms of our brief sojourn on this planet, there is absolutely no doubt that we are transient, living expressions of Nature. We are born, we live, and eventually, like it or not, our physical bodies sally forth to shores unknown. So, why are we born? The bigger questions might be, why were we born in Borneo, Puerto Rico, America, Mexico, male, female, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, with black skin, with blue eyes, without arms...?
We only have one time to be happy, and that time is NOW! Not yesterday and not tomorrow. Yesterday is gone. It’s irrefragable, indefatigable, gone. And the future... suspect, pure speculation. Spend time in the past, you dwell on memories. If they’re pleasant... awesome! If sad... depression, anxiety, and despair. Spend time in the future, you’ll start worrying, planning, or daydreaming. Focus on the present moment and chances are you’ll get to savor those aspects of you what’s right with you, right now. And, to quote Jon Kabat-Zinn, “as long as we are breathing, there is more right with us than there is wrong, no matter how ill or how hopeless you may feel.”
Before addressing the final question, “Why we are born,” let’s remember that as human beings, we all descend from the same maternal womb. We are all sentient beings, all yearning to be happy ⁓ free from suffering. My humble answer is, we are born to be happy, make others happy, alleviate the suffering of those who suffer, and embrace loving kindness. Anything else we do in life is for naught. Once we have adopted this credo, we will have found our raison d'être.
Before closing, another important afterthought to remember is gratitude. As Mirka Knaster tells us, “gratitude is essential to living this life fully: gratitude for the caring presence of others, gratitude for the means not only to survive but to thrive and to share our resources with others. Yet, surprisingly, thankfulness is not listed as one of the qualities or factors that lead to awakening. But that doesn’t mean it’s not part of the Dharma path. Deep gratitude is the wholesome motivation that underlies the manifestation of those qualities.”
In loving kindness, Jaime Carlo-Casellas, Ph.D.
You can purchase Dr. Carlo- Casellas' latest book "Mindfulness for the Common Man on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Mindfulness-Common-Man-survive-recovery/dp/1732648549 I highly recommend it if you are interested in learning the basics or improving your practice of mindfulness. -Phil Drucker (I wrote the forward.) #Mindfulness