“An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the children that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run, they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.
When he asked them why they had run like that when one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said, ‘UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?’ (‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”
Shoshinis a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind”. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.
Is there an equivalent for having an attitude of openness and eagerness to the world in general? Cuz if so I gotta tattoo that shit on my face, I think. Or at least on like a shoulderblade.
“These days I try to tell myself that what I feel is not very important. I’ve read this in several books now: what I feel is important but not the center of everything. Maybe I do see this, but I do not believe it deeply enough to act on it. I would like to believe it more deeply.
What a relief it that would be. I wouldn’t have to think about what I felt all the time, and try to control it, with all its complications and all its consequences. I wouldn’t have to try to feel better all the time. In fact, if I didn’t believe what I felt was so important, I probably wouldn’t even feel so bad, and it wouldn’t be so hard to feel better. I wouldn’t have to say, oh, I feel so awful, this is like the end for me here, in this dark living room late at night, with the dark street corner outside under the street lights, I am so very alone, everyone else in the house asleep, there is no comfort anywhere, just me alone down here, I will never calm myself enough to sleep, never sleep, never be able to go on to the next day, I can’t possibly go on, I can’t live, even through the next minute.
If I believed that what I felt was not the center of everything, then it wouldn’t be, but just one of many things, off to the side, and I would be able to see and pay attention to other things that were equally important, and in this way I would have some relief.
But it is curious how you can see that an idea is absolutely true and correct and yet not believe it deeply enough to act on it. So I still act as though my feelings were the center of everything, and they still cause me to end up alone by the living-room window late at night. What is different, now, is that I have this idea: I have the idea that soon I will no longer believe my feelings are the center of everything. This is a real comfort to me, because if you despair of going on, but at the same time tell yourself that your despair may not be very important, then either you stop despairing or you still despair but at the same time begin to see how your despair, too, might move off to the side, one of many things.”