Sunday, April 15, 2012

Friend of a Friend

It seems easiest to resort to criticism, negativity and a glass half-full when considering a topic of exactly antonymic nature. That topic is charity. 

Even as I do now sit down to write about the love we all deserve, my mind is overwhelmed with examples of how mankind seems to fail miserably at exhibiting the virtue of virtues. But while proclivity is to think so negatively, recalling any specific examples of this failure is extremely difficult. It seems much more in my nature, and perhaps in the nature of many of you, to leave some part of our mind clinging to the idea that mankind is a failed display of charity, and then call on that cave of scorn when we  do actually witness some act void of kindness, or - more likely - hear some gossip about the worst side of some poor individual. So we're ready to jump on the examples that can easily fit into our critical view of the world, but where is the comparative data? Do we have a chart showing the number of events in our lives in which we experienced charity, versus the events in which we were treated poorly? Should we have such a chart? Does Facebook collect such data? Is there an app for that? 

        {I apologize if the similarity of this post to the most recent one has made this at all boring for you. But reader beware: an underlying purpose of my writings at BlirstHog is to address such human tendencies that cripple our wellbeing. Another is to cultivate a joy in everyday comings and goings, be it Everest or getting out of bed.} 

Even as I ponder this direction of thought, I find myself really trying to call upon experiences in which I felt myself mistreated. But the vindication to provide grounds to a thought process which was set loose untamed and unguarded will certainly lead me nowhere good. Is human impulse morally justified automatically? I should hope not. Self-improvement is distinct to the human species, at least to such a degree, and I believe that we should guard ourselves against rationalizing the descent into animalistic absurdities such as just "being who we are." It is indeed of no ill report to be born or made or changed in any certain way, but what are all those inspirational quotes for if we haven't learned that it is what we do with ourselves that matters, and not what is done unto us? 

As I consider all of this, I perform a quick experiment: what happens if I shift to looking for examples of charity in my life? 

I expect you've already completed the experiment yourself. What was the outcome? Was it easier? Was it a bitter experience? 

My first thought was of my mother, whose goodness continues to rain blessings down on me from afar. I thought of additional relatives and friends who, at different points in my life, have been of a help to me worth memorializing. And specific examples continue to flow through my head even as I write; whenever I pause from focusing on which letters to type to form certain words, I find that same part of my mind carrying on the momentum of optimistic thought. The vehicle for such thought does not seem to be in gear or accelerating unless I am consciously at the helm, but left in neutral, presumably coming to an eventual halt. 

The suggestion is obvious: take a minute to think positively at least occasionally, to ensure that the cave of scorn remains shut and the clarity of optimism permeates our every action. 

I hope to be kinder and warmer to those around me. It is certainly within me to desire the wellbeing of all mankind. But if my own optimism is crippled, then my crusade to help others will fail, at which point it is easy to feel as though in a downward spiraling vortex of negative thought and negative reality: "I think I'm a bad person, and here's some supporting evidence." So here's to performing a check on myself at least once each day: 

Any negativity? 

Any strange lumps? 

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