Bird Droppings October 8, 2009
Who is at the center of your universe?
“Tung-shan was asked, ‘The normal mind is the way; what is the normal mind?’ He replied, ’Not picking things up along the road.’” From Teachings of Zen, edited by Thomas Cleary, © 1998
One aspect of the Zen teachings is a process of thinking that often is involved in sorting out the statement to begin with. Many times a day I am faced with defining what is normal. It may be working with children and or adults who in some situations who often skirt most “normal” folks parameters of normalcy. Sometimes I sit back and wonder who is really there that can truly define “normal”. When I read this approach earlier I was thinking about High School students and towards teachers. How easy to define simply those persons who you will not pick up along side the road. Obviously if you throw out along side the road you are definitely not normal.
Funny as I think to how so many just treat their surroundings as disposable maybe that is the point of this statement treating the earth well. It is not just dumping but picking up after others is what should be normal, concern for others.
“To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.” Confucius
“Human history is the sad result of each one looking out for himself.” Julie Cortazar
Several friends are teachers, who also coach cheerleading, which more often than not is predominately girls. Recently I placed on my door to my room a sign stating “Have only boys”. I had been joking with the coaches at how girls can be so difficult at times. There seemed to be a civil war over a boy going on within the ranks of the cheerleaders, accusations back and forth, parents involved to a point of a retraining order. Yesterday in Yahoo news an article about Lovesickness is physiological as well to add to the fray.
“If we were not all so excessively interested in ourselves, life would be so uninteresting that none of us would be able to endure it.” Arthur Schopenhauer
“An inflated consciousness is always egocentric and conscious of nothing but its own existence. It is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it dead.” Carl Jung
I often wonder working with kids with disabilities if at times ego is not a factorI have found over the years so often depressed children have a poor self image and for example many ADHD and more overt children have inflated views of themselves. One in particular as I think while writing is totally absorbed in herself . Many high school students tend to be this way even those with out recognized disabilities it seems at times. I would say a vast majority sadly are self focused, self involved, literally selfish. Alas the majority would not pick up along side the road conversely then normal is in retrospect not the majority as so often thought.
“Egotism is the art of seeing in yourself what others cannot see.” George V. Higgins
“The nice thing about egotists is that they don’t talk about other people.” Lucille S. Harper
“Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.” Frank Leahy
We all tend to become self absorbed. The past few weeks I have been fighting with a cold, when you are ill you tend to become more self involved, it is so much easier to ask for a drink or blanket when you can not breathe or have a running nose. But even with a cold I would still pick up from the side of the road and do my best to avoid saying something bad about my neighbor.
“Loving is the only sure road out of darkness, the only serum known that cures self-centeredness.” Roger M’Ckuen
“The one who overcomes egotism rids themselves of the most stubborn obstacle that blocks the way to all true greatness and all true happiness.” Coltvos
Often I will search the internet when I find a quote or saying to use to see who this person was and why they said what they said. Both of these authors have wonderful words in their quote yet neither is to be found outside their statement. As I sit here this morning wondering at this phenomenon of self centeredness of egotism, I wonder could we train students to be more aware of others to be less self centered, to pick up along side the road.
Years ago I remember a family moving across country and we were driving south to Naples Florida to visit relatives. This was long before interstates and all roads to Florida were two lane and periodically crossed rail road tracks. This family evidently had been pulling a trailer and it was hit by the train and scattered everything along the road for what seemed like miles. I am sitting in the car my dad was concerned about anyone being hurt he was the first aid guy back home. I just remember seeing all the debris the road was a litterer’s paradise and out of the wood work came people walking up picking up a piece here and there and as we watched the road was being picked up, sadly for today’s quote most were gathering for their own use; literally stealing away this families belongings as they sorted the pieces.
Perhaps I recall the scene as this was about the time of Lady Bird Johnson’s plea for cleaning up the roads. It used to be you had a coke bottle and were done you threw it out the window no thinking involved. As I think to the first statement of the morning perhaps that is the tie in, normal is picking up no thinking involved, no Lady Bird Johnson to plea and no reminders just it is what we should be doing. So a new morning a new day and which direction will we take. Please keep all in harms way in your heart and on your mind.