"Being preoccupied with our self-image is like being deaf and blind. It's like standing in the middle of a vast field of wildflowers with a black hood over our heads. It's like coming upon a tree of singing birds while wearing earplugs." -Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart
I was introduced to this book by an Executive at the company I'm fortunate to work for. He took us to lunch the other day to thank us for the hard work that went into a much successful global conference. Very rare these days: lunch celebrations and gratitude. Then I learned that he, too, was a "fan" of Pema Chodron so this is very much in the realm of his character and both then made sense.
I bought this book to take on vacation this coming week but started reading last night and just couldn't put it down. I'm not done yet but found such meaning in this statement that I knew I had to blog about it...
I've found myself repeating the following statement umpteen times this summer: "No one cares how you look; everyone is so pre-occupied with themselves, anyway!" We live in such a narcissistic society. We are in such a rush to get through life. So afraid to confront people, life, fears. So afraid of what they'll see when the masks come off.
It takes true courage to go deep, rip the band-aid off, and see what lies beneath. As Pema writes, "Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth." There will always be two choices: to stay as is, routine, numb, in a cycle of avoidance. Or to go beyond, to journey deep, and actually live, and really experience emotions.
The truth is, the only thing we know for sure is that there are no "for sures." There are no guarantees in life. The only permanence in life is impermanence. When we waste time on image, on putting on shows or faces for others, that's all we are doing. Instead, we could be spending our precious time playing and enjoying the real, the beauty that is everywhere.
If we can do the hard work, now, dig deep into our soul, find the treasures that lie within, we'll have more time to appreciate the meaningful.
It's all about self-worth: having a loving, caring, compassionate relationship with ones self. First and foremost. Only then can you truly understand and appreciate and have successful, healthy relationships with others: partners, children, even co-workers.
Life is not about material: cars, homes, clothes. Those are luxuries, yes, but they don't define you. You're defined by character...what you do when nobody is watching. Character is spiritual, behavioral, based on actions. When you die, will you care about your big house or the loving relationships you've formed over the years?
One day you'll look back on your life...when the visions start flashing by, make sure the images are worth looking at.