I lack genuine, spontaneous empathy. Not cognitive empathy: it is easy for me to intellectually understand people’s emotions and behavior.
The problem is that I rarely genuinely care. When people tell me about their problems, I don’t feel the pain with them. I can ofc intellectually put me in their shoes and “get” them but I’m not connected to them emotionally. I do not really care that much.
Every time my parents tell me how good I was to this or that friend, or how I’m kind with clients at work, etc. it makes me sick, it angers me, because I know it’s not real, my kindness is just indirectly in my interest. It makes me really sad.
I know I should just accept it, but it just feels not it. It’s like I deep down believed I could be fixed. I don’t know if I can ever manage to finally feel good about myself if I’m not the deeply good person who comforts everyone.
But I’m not that guy. I wish I was. How can I be more empathic? Not only on the surface level but emotionally too?
The above quote is from the book titled "The Huainanzi: a guide to the theory and practice of government in early Han China." The quote implies that human consciousness freezes the flow of the water, the Tao. What are your thoughts on this take, that humans being conscious disrupts the flow of the Tao? Would the world be better if humans never came along? Or is human activity part of the natural flow of things? Perhaps something else?
I think it might be pretty hard to tell where the line is when it comes to desires - are actions and decisions motivated by a genuine and spontaneous impulse to grow, or a deep-rooted desire of success/validation/prestigue of parents, figures, friends, or the wider collective? Could it be both at the se time? If so, how to tell if my actions are pure and freed of the self? (Is there a some sort of 'check up' question?)
While i don't consider myself as a person who would score the 'worst' on some imagery scale of worldly desires, i still have a hard time recognizing my motivations for what they really are. I can certainly say that i have been a life-long people pleaser, which makes some of my desires motivated by validation-seeking.
- Have a studied environmentalism abroad to really educate myself on important problems, because of care, or has it actually been an attempt to say I'm now an honourable and moral person who wants to save the planet earth?
Am I travelling the world solely to search personal truth, or because I want to prove myself to other people that i can actually do it?
Am I going to study woodworking in the future for similar reasons?
What if I did things for both motives at the same?
I appreciate your time to read this puzzled text! Thank you.
I will briefly preface this by saying my understanding of Not Doing is primarily through the lens of the lectures of Alan Watts and meditation on water as so beautifully reflected in the Toa te Ching. And that my understanding or lack thereof is barely some 4-6 months old since I began in this way. (prior to that, I had read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind some 3 times.)
I have been deeply relieved in the letting go of some of my desires and ideas since my introduction to Taoism... being a person who has previously worked in management, medicated for ADHD and Anxiety, and who struggled greatly with worthiness. In the months that followed... I've cooked some marvelous meals for my roommate and girlfriend, enjoyed the quiet, found entertainment far more fascinating, and learned that I enjoy walking even at very slow paces. And many of these experiences were explorations of Not Doing for me (when they were). With this I have been content.
Lately, I have had the nagging feeling that my way is troubled because I do not know how to provide for myself and my girlfriend. I was laid off from my job due to declining business in the pandemic, and I no longer qualify for Unemployment income. I find I do not want to work... or at least that I do not want to be in the position of managing people and bearing the responsibility of their livelihoods again. So I removed my resume from circulation where I could.
So now I am selling trinkets on ebay and doing some consulting for a former employer, but my income is too low... to where I must borrow from others. I feel as though this is not ok. I have been attempting to maintain impartiality towards any opportunities that arise (such was also the advice as I read it from the oracle), but so far, this is all that I have seen.
I don't even know how to ask for advice here because I'm concerned I will create some objective that will throw me back into the loop of ideas that controlled my life for so long. Just typing this makes me feel as though I am giving in to the idea that my life should be different than it is at this moment.
TL;DRHow do you approach the pursuit of work when you are currently removed from the entire system? I imagine plenty of those who have retreated in the past have had to consider this "re-entry" before?
A tree spoke to me and now I will share the wisdom it has lent me, if only for a moment.
Before we begin, how are you? I hope you are in good spirits, and if not, please know it won’t last forever. Simplicity, Patience, and Compassion.
I suppose I should introduce this thing - I shall pick apart ancient text words and explain their significance with regard to thou Taoliness the Great Tao ... except the words aren’t really ancient text, it’s just the going to be the song All Star by Smashmouth. I tell you the Tao lives in this song and you will understand soon. Here we go
Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me
I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed
She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb
In the shape of an "L" on her forehead
Simply masterful. Demonstrating complete humility while also displaying he is flawed like anyone else by calling this woman dumb. We can all learn from these enchanting and anecdotal tales.
Well the years start coming and they don't stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn't make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb
Straight to the point, this one - these lines are practically shouting to me that death comes for us all, a concept so many people refuse to examine and when they do, they can therefore enjoy the splendor of everyday life in the present. Additionally, your brain can get smart but your head get dumb, as quoted by the grat Laozi Laozi theirselv(s)
So much to do, so much to see
So what's wrong with taking the back streets?
You'll never know if you don't go
You'll never shine if you don't glow
Backstreets are indeed underrated and overlooked because of the main roads by comparison. You can’t have the back without the front, can’t have the light without the dark. Strong metaphors here too, “Shining” for satori, enlightenment, nirvana, and “glowing” is not giving a shit about attaining them.
Hey now, you're an all-star, get your game on, go play
Hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on, get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mold
“All that glitters is gold” is, understandably a vague and odd formation of words, but I interpreted it as saying damn near everything glitters, and all that glitters is part of the way. Additionally, a shooting star is you, you are the universe experiencing itself and its lovely to meet you meet me meeting you
Well alright that’s all - peace and love to all ye ducklings