Saturday, February 5, 2011

"If you have compassion, you don't need religion."

that's my favorite quote from the dali lama. ah, easily said, but how the hell do you develop it if you don't have it from birth? for example, my caring quotient about zero. i really get irritated when street-people ask me for money. i feel like they're preying on my conscience. and if they're young with dogs, i can barely resist saying, 'get a job.' on the other hand, if they're playing music, even badly, they're at least making an attempt and i'll drop a quarter in the guitar case.

actually, i envy and admire those who naturally have a feeling for others. my friend and supervisor who died last summer, randy beck, had it. that's why as he lay in a coma friends threw a fund-raising feast and $23,000 dollars accumulated in the cup. six hundred people showed up at his graveside, and this in a very small town.

mostly i've been very lucky that way. the forest service attracts a lot of fine people. oh, i have had a couple of micro-managing, self-centered bosses. survival under them proved very difficult, and talk about having no compassion... luckily, with help from others, i managed to stay on the job i love. and i do remember randy's father told him, 'there are two kinds of people, those who give and those who take."

i'm not sure bitter experiences help. maybe they make us resentful. oh, i did have a flash of compassion after my prostate operation. i felt for everyone i passed who seemed aging, fragile, and unhealthy. that may have lasted for a day or two. now it seems like a mirage. i guess if you've never have a really loving, generous person in your life, genes alone won't give it to you.

ironically, both my parents - one a minister and one a social-worker - made a lot of sacrifices to 'do good.' alas, my mother controlled us thru sarcasm and my father did mostly his work. we did have lots of travelling adventures, and they kept us clothed while they borrowed money to do so. despite moving thirty times before getting out of high-school, i and two of my siblings had a secure if troubled childhood. my poor adopted sister, cricket, unfortunately had to witness their cheating on each other, her beloved adopted father dying during the divorce at fifty-three. no wonder she screamed when she heard the news.

dear dali lama, i agree with you. alas, most of us need church to shame us into giving.