Journal #12 – Going Back to Where We Came From

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Weekly Journal Entries

“This, then is my true religion, my simple faith.  In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine or dogma.  Our own hear, our own mind, is the temple.  The doctrine is compassion.  Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need,” (the Dalai Lama, 234).

Of all that I have read this semester, this was brought me the most happiness, a genuine smile across my face.  It is so essential to remember who we are in this world, where we fit into all this – the cosmic energy that we were born out of.  As my title suggests, we just all need to go back and revisit where we came from. Not necessarily in a literal sense where we visit our hometowns, place of birth, etc. (though this could very well help guide us) – but more so the ideals that we had growing up as pure youth.  Untainted by concepts of social norms and forced concepts of good & bad, right & wrong.  Quite honestly, we forget who we are as we become so wrapped up in society, be it with school, religion, work, or whatever becomes ritual to us.  The mind is so precious, but so often do we undervalue it and how much influence its held on how we’ve grown.  Why then was I so happy to read the statement above?  It reminds me that each individual is important, and that love is at the foundation of it all.  So long as we carry that love and respect for ourselves, that love and respect can be reflected upon others – as is our “universal responsibility” (162).

Chi sem (literally “universal consciousness”) is another Tibetan term that the Dalai Lama introduces as he emphasizes the need to have our heart open for others.  While this may sound contradicting to what I discussed above in the need to love and respect self – I feel that love, for whomever is still the root of all that is “good”.  While it is true that we must love others, it is also crucial that we love ourselves for who we are in order for that love of others to be pure.  In this sense, we accept ourselves and our values paving our way to be able to carry out this love for others.  We should, as the concept suggests, work towards the benefit of others – but not necessarily through harming ourselves.  This, however, is so misguided in society today especially in the pursuit of economic or social gain.  As this form of society becomes stronger, individuals delve themselves into an unhealthy sort of competition, where material goods become of greater value than that of a knowledgeable and responsible person.  Sure these qualities could land a well-paying career, but does that not then only feed into the system?  Where exactly does it end?

It’s scary to even consider the thought of dropping our ways of consumerism, capitalism, etc. as we have become so comfortable with living in such a way and have accepted it as the most efficient way of living.  Would it ever be possible for everyone to start with a clean slate and a fresh, pure mind?  How exactly does greed, power, and other notions that fuel the need for social hierarchy stem from anyways?  Perhaps this place is somewhere only we know, but don’t retreat to in fear of falling behind.

Where am I going with this? I’m not sure anymore. It went from happiness to complete questioning.  I think it’s time to center again and pick up one bowling ball at a time.

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