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Sunday, September 25, 2011


You might not realize what an argyle sock or a hand-knitted multicolored patterned sweater or more likely a machine-knitted one could teach you! Well, if you have such an item, turn it inside out and study the mess it seems to represent. There is wisdom hiding in that there wool. Honestly. It represents what most of us consider our daily if not our yearly lives consist of. That is, if you add in everything your conscious mind has to pay attention to all your waking hours, given your life up to now. There are times, at least as I approach my 89th birthday, that I despair about. Life does often seem just one damn thing after another. So I was ruminating as I picked up one of my colored socks off the floor and pulled it right side out before adding it to the laundry – a familiar task repeated hundreds of times during my life.

Well, guess what? It was as if the sock spoke to me and I had a profound and comforting attack of Jungian insight! What I had been looking at with was my ego, the part of all of us that deals with daily problems and joys, worries and fears, the whole kerfuffle of quotidian life.

What, if at the end we get to pull the sock right side out and see the pattern revealed that our Self, which dwells in our unconscious, has been knitting day by day!!

It undoubtedly will reveal a pattern that will have a genuine meaning and might even be illuminating the whys and wherefores that have long eluded us. Perhaps the patterns will reveal that it was not so much the actual events but the attitudes and emotional motives and strivings that add up mysteriously to one’s conscious or unconscious desires to do what was spiritually right.

All the millions of Earth’s human inhabitants have an Unconscious and many of us act according to the moral input of our time and place. So we may do the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason—a theme that has occupied many writers such as Dostoyevsky and Theodorakis. We judge and misjudge ourselves and others constantly! So, is there a solution?

For me, in my old age, there is one: LOVE!

Think back over your childhood and adult life. Are there not people, strangers even, that stand out in your life because they were kind? Kindness is a form of agape, or love that asks nothing in return, has no secret agenda, and is naturally sincere. I encounter it in many ways and gestures: the little boy who got off the school bus with some flowers for his waiting mother and, seeing me, hurried to pick some dandelions for me, which were given with shining eyes, or the cashier at the airport restaurant who looked at every tired salesman, and made a cheerful, genuinely personal remark.

In short, one doesn’t have to be religious to be kind. In fact, the Dalai Lama said it simply: “My only religion is kindness.” Having met him in Dharamsala, I can truly say that he embodies his words, adding humility. My husband had gashed his forehead on an awning; when His Holiness noticed this, and Walter explained, he smiled and said, “Then you will always have a reason to remember your visit to Dharamsala!” Lovingly.


Three Big Little Words – CREDO CXLVI

Let me introduce them before we consider their power: Meet:

            and   or   but

Grammatically they are termed conjunctions because they join modifying words, phrases, or whole sentences, but their power is indisputable!

Consider “I like coffee and tea, but I like coffee for breakfast. Tea is best at tea time, but when I dine out, I like red or white wine, depending on the main course.”

These innocent little words can change meanings instantly!

Laurel and Hardy, David and Goliath.

Love and marriage – not the same as Love or marriage! or Love but marriage . . . ?

And can be healing, as in “Mommy loves you and I don’t like you chewing with your mouth open!” sounds better than “but I don’t like you chewing with your mouth open!” which is conditional.

Sounds simple but reread it as a four-year-old might hear it—subtle difference. In making it simple, I now suggest you imagine emotional confrontations between partners, employers, and employees, or political rivals!

“Shut up or else . . . !”