I wrote a poem this morning, Different Eyes, a poetic spasm that arose after reading one of those picture postings on Facebook, the ones with an image of a famous person and an inspiring (or aggravating) quote added by Photoshop or some such editing software. This time it was an image of the Dalai Lama XIV, and the following quote is apparently a real one. It was in response to a question about what surprised him the most about humanity.
“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”I wonder if he felt that way when he was simply Tenzin Gyatso (born 1935) and had to work at whatever was the Tibetan version of flipping burgers at Mickey-D's? Tibetan Monks were (are?) the top of the social structure and want for nothing much. When he formed a government in exile (in India) and sponsored guerrilla fighting against the Chinese, was he only living in the moment? Easy enough for old folks (myself included) to advise living in the moment — especially when our number of moments is dwindling. It is not so easy for a young man or young woman with a family to feed, to care for, and to shelter. The idea behind his words is a great goal, and I support it. However, a man so dedicated to serving humanity, should not be surprised by sacrifice to make a living.
― Dalai Lama XIV
I assume he was referring to the pursuit of money as an end in itself, not as the needed resource to provide basic needs and common comforts. Still, if he meant GREED, he should have said so.
Easy to be Hard
To be honest about it, I'm hardly in a position to be critical of anyone's personal truths. For the past three years, I have freely shared the scattered and not always coherent thoughts that strayed into my mind as I learned about myself through the lens of personal pain and the certain joy of surviving one challenge after another. I'm hardly the first person to experience CML up close and personal, and not the only person to find out how important friends and family can be when under duress from the threat of leukemia's fatal kiss.
I have learned to live in the present, in part because the present got my attention with a rather large 2x4, and I've been busy picking out the splinters ever since. However, my change of focus has produced a change of vision. By shedding my worries about the future and regrets about the past, I freed myself to deal with the present, allowing time to look around and, perhaps, duck the next 2x4.
It has been 1,100 days since my transplant. I am a fortunate son, a fortunate father, and a fortunate grandfather. My family is grown and I have a partner to carry the load. I have children and grandchildren to carry the story forward. I have some time left, and I can spend at least part of it (that part not currently involved in wondering when the blasted snow will stop falling from the sky!) observing and commenting on what I see and what I hear.
Maybe some day, my image will show up on a social media page, festooned with a quotation I didn't say about life, religion, politics, or the human condition. Now that would be something to worry about....
Good day and God bless,