First Do No Harm

There are consequences to everything we do & say.  It is very easy to act and react in a narcissistic way, it is often much more difficult to act and react in a selfless way, or at least in a way that puts the ego aside, even just temporarily.  And I don’t mean we should put ourselves last; our needs and wants and feelings are just as valid as the next person’s, but I do mean that we should, I think, first do no harm, then do whatever is next…maybe what is next IS narcissistic, but if we first determined that is the best way to act, so be it, and maybe what is next IS a bit self-serving, but if we have given some thought to the issue at hand, and decided it is the way to act, well, there it is.  I feel like I have seen this winter, and to be sure it’s been a bleak/gray/cold/awful season, a lot of unkindness.  MEAN PEOPLE SUCK.  It’s true.  Mean people are purposefully unkind.  I want people to be nicer to each other.  I want people to think about what they are saying and what they are doing and try, if at all possible, to be kind.  Is it ridiculously immature and naive to want the world, or at least my world, to be a nicer, kinder, happier place to live???

I often read stories in magazines about husbands and wives who cheat and lie, I see stories on television about boyfriends and parents who abuse and fight…we all are subject to this modern world of over stimulation from the media, and we keep buying the magazines and we keep paying our cable bills, so we want to STOP knowing bad shit, but we keep looking for it…is it to compare?  “Oh, look, things could be so much worse,” we might think as we turn the pages or the channels…I saw a video on the internet the other day, a young woman, obviously a junkie, nodding off while sitting on the aisle seat of a city bus, and her little girl across the aisle in a hot pink coat saying, “mom, they can’t get by,” and her little hand on the mother’s forehead, pushing her up…the video made me feel nauseated frankly; one that somebody video taped this rather than called the police so someone could rescue this little girl, and two, that somebody who is a mother would care so much more about herself than her child.  Seeing the video made me feel disgusted in many ways and now days later it is an image that I can’t un-see, like a scene in a horror movie when sadly you did not cover your eyes fast enough, it’s just there in my brain popping up at random times and making me feel unsettled.  Any of those behaviors that scream, “I care more about myself than I care about you” make me wonder why…why get married if you think monogamy is not for you?  why have a child if you think it’s going to be too expensive or too much work to raise it?  why work a job that you hate that makes you come home and beat your wife or kick your dog?  why become a wife or father if what you really want is to live on the floor of a dirty row house and take drugs?  Are we TRYING to do the “right” thing and failing, or are some of us too focused on trying to play a part that we think we are “supposed” to play when the role is totally wrong for us?  …and then when we find ourselves stuck in that role, we are mean, we act out, we behave in a way that hurts those who love us, because we were not true to our true selves to begin with?  It’s rather complicated isn’t it?

Cheating, lying, fighting, abusing, drug addiction, all of it is a choice, and all of those choices generally hurt somebody who loves or cares for the person who has made the choice.  We learn from Buddha that “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”  If you screw up on Monday you have Tuesday to do better, if Friday night you lied, you can apologize on Saturday.  Nobody is going to be PERFECT, nobody is going to DO THE RIGHT THING EVERY TIME, it would be impossible, unless you were Buddha…we all make mistakes and we all sometimes are unkind, sometimes even mean or cruel…some acts purposefully hurt others and some acts cause hurts to others even if it was not our intent…I want people to get along, I want people to be loving to each other, I want people to be kind & friendly…yeah, I know, hippy-dippy incense burning, flowers in your hair, hand-holding silliness is what some of you think…but I think I LIKE thinking about how what I do, or what I say, will make somebody feel, and acting or speaking in a way that shows that I may not always be loving, and I may not always be nice, but I will first do no harm…

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