Stability In Chaos: Our place in the universe and the power of togetherness
Today’s blog will be about a few topics -and is honestly quite lengthy. I would like to take you on a walk if you have the time, to go over some of the ideas that come with our existence, forgiveness, and compassion. And in a time of great separation in the US, as well as around the world because of covid, I feel we should strengthen our ties with one another. I also hope to do it in a way that matches such a powerful title.
Sit with me, and gaze at the beautiful sights. And let go of what pains you. Bask in those good feelings, and come on this walk (of ideas) through the park with me.
I want you to remain grateful, despite some of the topics. As we all carry weight on our shoulders. So this next section will go over roots and choice.
Ideologies and beliefs stem from our main development as a child. As well as our personalities coming 50% from our genes! Whether we like to believe it or not, it’s true. Most of who we are stems from our roots. Some of us reject our roots to be as different as possible, while others are ignorant of the influences they have faced. So what made up my beliefs?
It started when I was younger, being raised as a Christian and was asked to keep my faith, as my life fell apart. I wondered if it was real or fake the entire time. Then I would later punish myself for thinking those very same thoughts. The little time I had to be a kid, was filled with adventures and wonderful sparks of imagination -but they had also been tainted with the rest of the world. As you get older you start to see how rotten the world is, and then later you think about all the good that’s out there as well. So my imagination in time, mixed with my religious beliefs, along with all the tainted visions I had seen.
And it’s not just me. Many people, children especially, are now being shown to be less empathetic or compassionate towards others, due to overexposure to the extremities social media always shows us. It taints our minds of how the world really is, and when you are consistently hearing bad news, you start to want to numb it out. Maybe we are being too kind to children in that they are now expecting prizes for simply participating in events, or expecting something back for their good deeds (even if it’s something like washing the dishes). I won’t get into how to raise a child, as I really don’t know much about the subject. I just want you to remember that the posts that get the most likes, is typically the most shocking, rather than the mundane lives most people live.
Now I don’t want to bore you with my roots, but we all have them. It is sorta the box we consistently think in, whether or not it’s very logical. I think it’s very important for a person to question all it is that they know. To gain the ability to see that their thoughts and beliefs can be completely wrong. Or better yet, find out that you are right! Think about how your roots are affecting you and the way you see the world. Unfortunately, that means we will also have to think about our scares… The things that have hurt us deeply, as it is now apart of you, and the way you see the world. It's understandable that we would want to shield ourselves from such pains again, and why we also feel a pit within ourselves.
A random act of kindness can also feel empty. Sometimes people try to fill this void by boasting about how kind and charitable they are. But their boasting and fame, their need for attention and acknowledgment that they did the right thing are needed by people who -like me- lack feelings of affirmations and accomplishments. So why do some people feel good by just doing the right thing? While others can feel nothing at all. My random act of kindness was picking up litter. Being there for a friend in need of some advice. And just making lunch for my younger brother. I do kind things because it is kind. But what rewards do we truly feel for doing them? And not just the obligations of life.
I’ve come to find that this all has to do with self-worth. Not just what others have done to me, but my choice to hold onto those things. And so we build a wall to protect ourselves. But in turn, compliments wash off you like a leaf being thrown at a waterfall. This wall we created around ourselves has blocked us from the very same positive feelings we desire. Because we are too scared to be hurt. How will you ever accept a compliment looking like that? How are you allowed to feel happy with all these holes in your field? I think to myself.
Reading, working out, meditating, and just learning in college was what helped me. The change of environment and knowing that I learned something new -that there were new challenges ahead of me- excited me. I have always been kind to others, but I found myself being even kinder. More understanding and open to ideas. Being in a pit is definitely bad. But we dig ourselves into it. And so I say “If you dug yourself into a hole, the least you could do is climb out of it. Just don’t ignore the rope dangling in front of your face.” You will have supporting characters in your life. And if you don’t, what better time to make new friends than after trying to change?
To live the best life possible, I shall even the dirt. Take from a center point to fill all the rest in. Already blisters will form. But look! A perfect square in the ground 15ft deep. Centered perfectly in the middle of our field. As all the dirt has filled in the outer holes. We cut down a few trees, but for every one we cut down, we plant 5 more. And all of a sudden, we have made ourselves a wishing well -with the help of our friend’s rope. Now with water, and a few lost nickels from people making their wishes, we can plant more seeds. The thing we saw once as dirt now turned into a beautiful garden. The barren land, now a forest, and enough wood to build up a 3 story mansion. To fill your holes, you must work on yourself. You can make yourself happy, but you can’t if you fall into one of those empty holes you neglected to fill.
However, I think people have a hard time truly understanding what forgiveness is. “Sometimes you need to first climb down, to climb up.” ~VRL The apology is meant for the relationship, it is a phrase in which the wrongdoer apologizes for the things that they have done. And to prove that they still care about the aforementioned relationship. They try to make up for it, even if it was an accident. But forgiveness is purely for you. To move on with your life, you must let go of the anger and pain you have. The weight is too heavy, your anger towards that person is hurting you more than them. To forgive is to no longer have the weight on your shoulders when you hear, see, or get reminded of something/someone. Because the only one that weight is crushing is you. You are the only one in pain -this of course isn’t always true, but it should be mentioned that this pain you hold compared to the happiness you could be feeling is affected by your actions and choice of perspective.
I hated hearing that. That it was a choice to be happy and see the bright side of things. But it takes some real practice to truly be happy within your own life. If there is anyone who can change the way you live, it’s you.
However, not everything you hold onto still carries weight. Perhaps those are the things that we should let go of, those things that still weigh us down. but I must stress that letting go is not by any means ignoring it. You can’t let go of that candle that will set fire to your home, but you can let go of that old bear that your toxic ex once gave you. The guilt you carry, or hardships you put onto yourself for something that’s now forgotten. Life is a journey, and we want the things we carry on a backpacking trip to be light and useful. So no matter how lost you get on your journey, you are well prepared for the trip. To explore the world, and have such a crazed adventure -like in tv shows- would be a glamor. But most times we are stuck in our own little places, with nowhere to go. And with nowhere to go, why not just sit with all the things we were supposed to let go of?
Most people are afraid that letting go means that it will be forgotten, that the feelings behind those mistakes you felt so bad for, should still be hung on you like a chain and weights. But exploring the world sounds like a lot more fun, and you just can’t do that with a heavy bag of crap. This isn’t the end, but a new beginning. Learn from your mistakes, don’t carry them.
But what is it that I should do? What can I really do to let go of the horrors, and feelings of loss, loneliness, and betrayal? The guilt I felt, and all the joys in between that are now shrouded with worsened thoughts. Like a veil, it covers the widow with despair. But if you should choose to remember the good, the love, and warmth you felt from those past experiences you will someday find it within yourself to forgive you. But it’s a long path.
From years of slaughtering one another, and destroying the land. Our selfishness must be the best and worst thing to come to this world. Being selfish brings you your own pleasures and joys you would never get from caring about others, or being held back by them. We get the money, the food, and whatever else we want just by taking it. But what was once taken by you can be taken by someone else. To be selfish causes pain and hardships for others, and though I personally love capitalism, there is a sadness that comes to others in the form of hardships, and long days at work where they have to miss their child’s birthday to pay next month’s rent. Our selfishness is good, but it is only good for us personally. While blacks sold blacks to the whites, they didn’t think about the humanity of those people. They saw them as under them, as they drank their red wine, and enjoyed their luxuries, slaves were crammed into boats like fish in a barrel for months -many dying threw starvation on the way. Our selfishness can also lead to our own voids, one where we still very much so feel lost in our old age. And it’s one selfish person after another that causes others to crave the same things they were once never able to achieve.
To be selfless can be quite hard too, if you are too selfless you lose yourself, and others will step on you like a step in their staircase to success. Though your selflessness has helped those who have taken advantage of you, you yourself are now covered in muddy shoe prints and bruises; just because you are selfless doesn’t mean others won’t remain selfish. So like everything, we must take selflessness in moderation, we must balance the respect we have for ourselves along with the care we have for others. If we were all too selfless, no one would survive, and if we remain selfish, our world will die. We should be selfish, and we should be compassionate and caring. Even for those who rubbed their feet onto our backs, because we all have hardships we are trying to get threw.
Forgiving those who have done you, your people, or humanity wrong can be truly hard to forgive. I still recognize the pain my ancestors had to go through for me to be where I am today. And through forgiveness and acceptance, there is healing.
Healing can look like a woman smiling on a walk down the road. It can also look like cuddling, or just a sign of acceptance for the past, and learned lessons. We can truly forgive each other, but it’s very difficult to. True forgiveness to me is the ability to feel okay around someone, and accept what happened in the past. To understand where they came from. This in no way means what they did was right, but we all make mistakes. To truly define what real forgiveness is, is hard in itself, but to be able to forgive someone is to bring yourself peace. And I think the person we struggle to forgive most is ourselves. It’s why I believe forgiveness is much more for yourself rather than the person who is being forgiven. These thoughts and affirmations came from a very wise woman, who went to West Africa, to see for herself the slave camps, and felt the agony of her ancestors. A woman who found understanding and forgiveness in a much more discriminatory time, while going to a confederate war reenactment.
As for compassion, humans are very empathetic creatures, and yet, they will have more empathy and compassion for a creature than a person of their own species. This is because most people like to put animals into a separate category from the rest of us. Despite us all being animals, everyone wants to feel like they are superior, or like they know more than someone else. And so the cycle continues within humanity itself. People will try to make themselves out to be higher than others. Finding compassion for the poor who “just don’t know any better”. Making their actions carry more value than it might normally. But maybe we carry more compassion for animals, as it is a sign of our more natural selves, as compared to the masks many people wear in their day to day lives. They excuse/forgive the actions of a dog who tore up their favorite shoes because they think the dog “doesn’t understand”, and again “doesn’t know any better”.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I believe that we all try our best to be good. We do this not only because we want to be liked, or get something in return, but out of selflessness. We want to not have others hurt as we have. We are very empathetic creatures, trying to care for those around us. If one person is in pain, the whole tribe is distraught. As shown by monkeys, in this experiment: they were given the option between a “selfish coin” and “unselfish coin”; if the monkey chose a “selfish coin” they would get a slice of apple, but if they chose an “unselfish coin” they would receive an apple slice, as well as their partner (who does not get a choice). During these tests, it was shown that “unselfish coins” were chosen when the monkey’s partner was seen as part of their tribe, or family. While “selfish coins” were chosen when the monkey was simply paired with another monkey. We only really show compassion to those we deem apart of our family, while strangers are more often than not people we share little to no compassion for. But what’s strange is how we can show more compassion towards stray animals than we can to our own homeless here in San Francisco (Randerson).
However, we can’t give apple slices to everyone. Sometimes when we are trying to do something good. We don’t fully understand a person and their feelings, and it can come off as rude or interpreted the wrong way. Like giving apple slices to someone who is allergic to them. Some good deeds can be hurtful and come off as insensitive, even if there is nothing wrong with what you have done. Understanding is an important part of being kind and compassionate towards others. Whether that be for charity, selflessness, or just trying to be kind in general.
A good example of this was more recently when I tried to help a friend out by taking up some responsibility and making sure our project would pass. I did this because I figured the person wouldn’t want to do work. After all, they were dealing with things in their personal life. Thinking of how I would feel, I wouldn’t want to do work if something was going on in mine. So I took it upon myself to try and help, and in this way, I unintentionally took away this person’s role. They took it as insulting and saw it as if I deemed them incapable of doing the work due to their circumstances. When in reality, I was just trying to lighten the workload on this person in their time of distress. It later occurred to me how it could be interpreted and apologized even before the person grew upset. We later had a conversation about how this person deals with distressing times, and that work is something they enjoy as it takes them away from it.
As well, we shouldn’t mistake being selfless for avoidance! Coming from a pretty empathetical place, I think we would all like to help our friends in need. However, you must save yourself before you can save others. Don’t sacrifice your needs in order to help someone else, “For all the time and energy I spent on helping others navigate their life’s problems, I hid from my own and neglected myself along the way. This was partially intentional, too — as it gave me an escape and divert my attention away from what I needed to tend to on the inside.”(DeMarco)
To carry the strength of integrity is an admirable quality, but even if you follow the golden rule of “don’t do to others as you wouldn’t want to be done to yourself”. It doesn’t always apply in every situation. I think every day is a constant fight to do the “right” thing when you are surrounded by people. We daily refute doing such deeds as to avoid judgment and to abide by the rules of society. And it can be hard with our own wants and needs out of life. I wish not that you become a people pleaser, but rather just a more compassionate one. If we could only understand each other better….So what coin are you choosing the next time you see a person in need?
We must find the motivation for change, the strength to take constructive criticisms, and grow. Stability-wise, poverty, and the inability to control my own life has to be the main motivator in my life. The idea that I can work towards something where I can be free, and do as I please has been my goal. The people I see who show hard work can lead to that would be my parents and grandparents. But being trapped for so long, makes it feel like my work isn’t going towards anything. Like a blind man trying to find his way out of a maze. “Once our minds latch on to negative thoughts, they tend to repeat over and over again like a broken record player. This process is called “rumination” (the same word used for cows chewing the cud) and involves a recurrent, intrusive, and uncontrollable style of thinking that can cause both depression and anxiety. Rumination about negative events in the past leads to depression. While rumination about potentially negative events in the future leads to anxiety. This is why depression and anxiety so often go hand and hand; they both stem from the tendency to ruminate.” (Neff Self Compassion pg. 111). And whenever I find myself falling back into my own ways, most times I tend to punish myself in one way or another. By being hard on myself, I can press forward. However, this only works in some cases. In others, it brings me down and makes the motivation to do things even harder to do.
So how can we find the motivation to change? The strength to criticize oneself and truly learn from our wrongdoings? To forgive, and let go, to be compassionate and caring towards others?.. I don’t really have an answer.
However, maybe there is a way that we can become more understanding of one another that we have been ignoring.
I started to become more curious about a new study that has recently came out, that has been repeatedly exposed to me, and it shows us that our heart has more sensors than even our brain. That before something happens, our heart has already started to react to the situation. Having the coherence from my heart to my brain would mean gathering waves from other hearts, rather than from their emotional cues… if such a thing is possible, it would help me interpret and better understand one’s true emotions, and how to better assess the situation. But not just me, but for all of us. The ability to understand one another is a lacking one. Sure it brings some spice into our lives, giving us a sense of mystery, but wouldn’t it be nice to truly be able to help someone based on a true understanding of them?
Even little things that bother us, that we would originally just keep to ourselves would then be understood and respected. For example, something that bothers me is when someone chews with their mouth open. This is a very small thing and nothing I would really make a fuss over. However, if we were able to truly understand one another, then the person chewing with their mouth open would be able to feel a shift in my heart, and the way I feel, and can better adjust if they so choose. As well, I could realize something that bothers them -such as talking too much- and stop doing it so that we both feel more comfortable, and more respected in our relationship.
What’s so interesting about this is that if we have been able to do this all this time, why haven’t we found out sooner? Why haven’t we been able to feel this sense of feelings within others? And I think the answer has to do with us thinking about ourselves. We ignore what our heart has to tell us about others, and as well ignore what it has to say about ourselves. We ignore this because we don’t want to admit that we are hurt at times. As well as just being a bit selfish. However, We are not selfish creatures. “biology is usually called upon to justify a society based on selfish principles, but we should never forget that it has also produced the glue that holds communities together.”(The Age of Empathy). We can come to work together to grow and be better people.
One moment, in particular, that makes me think that this might be true, was silence. One night, I was unable to really work out what I was feeling into words. As well, my friend in the passenger seat was also having quite a rough night. As we sat there, with nothing to say, she turned to me and looked as if she was curious (with a hint of concern). While I was trying to cheer her up, here, in turn, she was making me smile and talk. The words I couldn’t find, it seemed that she had. I had not told her that I was upset, but it felt at that moment that she had understood me. That she could, unknowingly, see past the outer shell and see what was there. As I got her to open up a little more, the damn only cracked. But she was able to get to me and make me -who was very discreetly being troubled- show such emotions and gain joy. Looking back I think looking at her, “I wish you water.”(Blue Mind) so that when the day does come when you so choose to open the flood gates unto me, I can come to a deeper understanding. So that we can enjoy the waves clash in violence. The same which will give us peace. So that we can enjoy the upcoming waves that have been created by the ocean, as we have from the universe, and watch them disappear returning to the ocean in which it came. I hope we all can find the compassion and the love we need to survive. To enjoy this world as much as we can. As all we truly need is mundane -such as food, water, and a place to call home. A place of love, and with a family — whether it be by blood, tears, or a simple act of compassion.
When I was younger, I found myself collecting cards. Pokemon cards mainly, but really any cards I could get my hands on would be added to my collection. It wasn’t that big of a collection as everything fit inside a red shoebox when my feet were much smaller than they are now. I spent hours upon hours on those cards, Which I feel represents my need for organization, as I would constantly reorganize them according to what I deemed correct at the time. They remain neatly organized in my box, as I don’t get any cards anymore, and they are as organized as they are ever going to be.
It made me think about my childhood and how valuable life and all of its discoveries really were to us. Even if we didn’t have friends to go out with, we would make imaginary ones to play outside with. We just appreciated life more, and that’s why when you tell a child no they cry. Not only because they might be spoiled, but because it feels like they will never be able to do that thing again. As time goes on we lose care for what’s most valuable, health, and time. A lot of people fall into comfort believing that they have a lot of time still to do the things they had once dreamed of. But I just can’t think that way when life is so short kept. When we aren’t even guaranteed the next breath of air. Now I don’t want you to become as stressed and anxious as me, but I just would like you to do what makes you happy. What further pushed this thought was when I went on a hike with my grandma. She told me that she wasn’t a very good writer and as a result never published anything. But who cares if you are bad at something! The practice and time you spent are what makes you good at the things you do. And if you aren’t failing, or struggling, then you might not be working hard enough!
But again, we don’t need to stress all our lives, and I wish you less anxiety than I have. So long as you are enjoying your life. That you don’t grow up and think “I wish I did more of that”. Should have, could have, would have, the biggest regrets the elders say they have in life is not the things they have done, but the things they haven’t done.
Taken back to enjoying life at the moment. As we draw our pictures in the sand, the waves quickly come to wash away signatures, those writings will never stay. The world dissipates and crumbles as time goes on. The capacity for adaptability is important, but so is the environment you put yourself in. If you ever wish for your signature to stay. Draw it in a tree rather than sand, and If you ever want your message to be big enough, carve it into the mountains. Sometimes the environment, the group of people we surround ourselves with, is just temporary fun. But if your dream is for your message to stay, then I suggest you move far away from the beach. Even if the water does bring us comfort, and makes us happier and calmer, we shouldn’t stick to our comfort zones forever, or else we stop growing.
It is still hard for me to understand why some people can outright break down in silence. Their mind clouds them so heavily that they can never rest. Never sit still in the peace and beauty of the world. Something that has helped these people has been music… but isn’t the harmony of life also a symphony of sounds? Are there not rests and pauses in music that brings a sense of emotion? “You might notice how relaxing it can be to simply pay attention to sounds, perhaps even more comforting than other methods you may be familiar with, such as relaxation training or self-hypothesis. That’s because you let go of whatever was on your mind, including the task of “relaxing”, which may paradoxically keep you on edge. You were just “being” with the symphony of sounds around you.” (Germer Mindful Path to Self-Compassion pg. 43).
I realize that this blog is all over the place, but that’s the point! Life is beautiful and harmonious. But that’s only because of us as humans creating patterns that aren’t present. Our ability to feel for one another and work together has created our everyday lives in society, and we can help each other out more by trying to agree on which card goes where in our deck. Not everything has to be in order, and not every card in your life is fit for your deck. We can all help each other get a better hand of cards, and we don’t always have to be playing against each other, or ourselves.
Do we truly understand the nature of our reality? It’s value? I believe that the true nature of our reality can either be great or nothing. I hope that we can come to the answer at some point, but these are questions that philosophers have been asking for centuries, and even once we find the truth, will we accept it? And words I didn’t want to accept at a time but are the hard truth of it all is that we don’t always get the answers that we are looking for. I think that our existence can be overall pointless, and just bound to happen due to the nature of the universe. However, we could also be the universe, expressing itself. We could be a dream, or giants or tiny cells living inside of an atom. But overthinking the existential can be very uneasy, and it will not benefit you much to think of it too hard. The best thing that we can take from existentialism is that what we have here, our lives are valuable and irreplaceable. That we should have love in our hearts and laughter coming from our souls. That we are here alone, but that we are here together. And I fear too many people will focus on the fact that life might be meaningless. But death in itself is what brings so much value to the lives we live now. So hug that friend a little tighter, tell that crush how you feel, and be there for one another as a living being. Unless it’s like a shark or something, haha. So truly, our tribe, our extended, extended, extended family, are all around us. We are humans, and we can live life more happily through forgiving those in the past, being compassionate towards one another, and working together.
The universe makes sounds from a lasting explosion, and the sound continues to deafen as we get sucked back into the blind idiot god’s dream. What we are really doing with our curiosity is destroying the world, but at the same time, we are creating new experiences. If Adam and Eve never ate that apple, Moses would never have to have parted the seas. We would never have the opportunities we do now. Because they would still be in paradise, which after an amount of time I believe would be really boring. As we question, we challenge, as we challenge we destroy, and as we destroy we create. After all “Stability is an illusion created by society to distract us from the chaos of the universe.” (TechLead). If we can get to a level of understanding towards one another we help bring meaning into our oh so very tiny society -our short human history- and in turn, it can help us find the purpose of our even tinier individual lives.
No matter what you believe in, I think that sticking together is important, especially in such trying times. I believe that we can all be happy, with our hearts filled, and that together we create stability for one another, as well as ourselves. As I’ve said in past blogs, no matter what you believe in, or what mountains have stopped you in your path, do what makes you happy! Even if that means having to do something you don’t like for a little while, so long as you find peace (and aren’t hurting others, but sometimes we have to be selfish to get what we want).
Of course, all of this is my interpretation of it all, however, one thing I know I know, is that I will never know enough, and neither will you. I know that at my age, I am very ignorant… but I wish to be wise, and intelligent. Respected for me rather than my age or how I look. After all, we are all humans, trying to survive this crazy world. So I write this before my journey into temporary isolation (I’m planning on completing the Pacific West Trail) to discover more about myself. And I hope that my words can also help you. Thanks for joining me on this walk, but it’s getting late, so go to where ever you call home and show appreciation for those you cherish. And show compassion not only for others but for yourself. Because you are worth it. Get home safe now. Bye, Bye.
DeMarco, Marisa. “The Importance of Self Preservation: Why You Must Save Yourself Before Saving Anyone Else” Thought Catalog, The Thought & Expression C0., 6 Feb. 2015, https://thoughtcatalog.com/marisa-demarco/2015/02/the-importance-of-self-preservation-why-you-must-save-yourself-before-saving-anyone-else/
Frans de Waal “The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society”
Germer, Christopher “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions”
Neff, Kristin “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself”
Nichols, Wallace J. “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do”
Randerson, James. “Test of Charity Shows Monkeys Are Capable of Empathy.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Aug. 2008, www.theguardian.com/science/2008/aug/26/animalbehaviour.medicalresearch.
TechLead “I’m having a midlife crisis (after being fired from Facebook, as a millionaire).” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vbHS-n_l4M
Thought catalog “The Art Of Letting Go”
Dr. Matthew Davis and his amazing class.
Movies, mentors, and other just really inspiring people such as Bevie
My Family, and ancestors.
and my little path through life.