“The truly noble life…is to live one’s life just as it really is. All the aspects of [life] that one has been in flight from are actually the very things that make life noble…. When we see a person who accepts adversity…and goes on living in a positive way without resorting to escapism we cannot help feeling inspired. In our own case however, we can very easily succumb to self-pity.”
–David Brazier from The Feeling Buddha, p. 56
i’ve reviewed several friendships in the past few months. specifically, i’ve considered what attracts me to certain people, what i admire and respect about my friends. i admire nobility and honesty in my friendships, which follow the square and rectangle principle. in geometric terms, all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. in friendship terms, all noble friends are honest, but not all honest friends are noble. (i’ve known a few honest addicts, thieves, and philanderers. at different points in my past, i’ve been an honest addict, thief, and philanderer.) i’m attracted to nobility, which begins with honesty and expands to include resilience and service. my noble friends love to give who they are and what they have in service to others. i love to give who i am and what i have in service to others. my noble friends and i share common goals and values. my noble friends put into action gandhi’s suggestion to “be the change you want to see in the world.” i am attracted to people who inspire me with the active living, giving, and serving of their lives.
recently i understood that i’ve been seeking “enlightenment” from the wrong motivation. i sought “enlightenment” as a means to escape suffering. as i now understand the concept, enlightened people still deal with daily shit, they just don’t act shitty about it anymore. (acting shitty ranges from complaining, justifying, and blaming to rationalization, self-destruction, and vengeance.) the escape from suffering that follows enlightenment isn’t an escape from the shit life plops in your bowl. shit still happens, but an enlightened response doesn’t suffer, deny, or seek to escape from the shit. for example, most days my body aches all day long. there is pain, but i don’t have to suffer from the pain. i can sit with the pain and let the pain be what it is, without judging the sensations or resisting the pain or wanting to escape the pain or needing the pain to go away.
the bliss of enlightenment rests in accepting what is and loving what is. i love what is, right here and now. i love who i am, right here and now. i love surrounding myself with friends who compassionately allow the reality of shit to be as it is, without running from or closing down or addictively numbing the feelings that naturally arise. my noble friends know bliss because they accept sadness, grief, pain, and anger as part of life experience. my noble friends know how to forgive because they’ve been hurt and betrayed. my noble friends remind me each day of how i want to live. my noble friends inspire me to be the best i can be.
i send out flares of hope for your nobility.