Last week, the group wanted to surf and Adam wanted us to go. I felt like I just couldnít do another group activity, so I said no to surfing. Later, I realized that I still wanted to surf, so I asked Adam if we could go alone.

We went. We didnít spend much time surfing. The waves were terrible, so we ate, lay on the beach, and walked on the boardwalk.

Like every New Yorker, he grew up going to the jersey shore. I grew up going to the beach in southern California, so the East coast shoreline is still a little exotic to me. Itís more that itís simultaneously exotic and provincial. Itís both fascinating and comforting. For him, Iím not even sure heíd want to go if he didnít surf.

His flexibility is a wonderful asset. This only pales in comparison to his perpetual good mood. That sounds strange. The thing is that he is truly happy and grateful just to be alive. And, itís not just sometimes, itís always.

For example, I have some road rage, and sometimes while looking for parking (because he lives in center city) I start getting hot-headed. I get snappish and growl-ly. He knows this. I know it. We just do our best to park the car and get on with our lives.

Yesterday, he was telling me how wonderful I am, and I said, ďJust wait until weíre looking for parking again, and then youíll see how wonderful I am.Ē He said, ďI know! Youíre willing to put yourself through that just to park by my apartment! You are wonderful!Ē

It is the way to be, but how often are people actually like that? I really donít know.

Itís only been the rarest occasions when Iíve seen him annoyed about anything, and even then, itís a low-key annoyed.

Itís funny because that is in stark contrast to so many other people in his life. His step-mom and his sister are good examples. They canít get along with each other because their very intense (and ultra-feminine) personalities, but heís endlessly devoted to them both.

His close male-friends are masculine drama queens, with their constant girl trouble, and petty annoyances. He steadily sails forward through it all, while maintaining a gorgeous toothpaste-ad smile.

On Sunday, we went to meditate and the teacher reminded us of the interconnectedness between human beings. He said, ďViolating someone else is the same as violating yourself.Ē I understood the concept, but Iím not really sure how that works out. Then later, I was listening to NPR, and a man suffering from war-induced PTSD was speaking.

He said it was absolutely horrible to him how people kept asking him if heíd killed anyone in Iraq. He said that it would be the same as going up to a rape victim and asking, ďHey, have you been raped, lately?Ē

Then he went on to say that as a little boy heíd been raped. When he became a killer, he recognized those emotions. He felt the same way as a rape victim as he did as a killer. Itís counterintuitive, but thatís how he experienced it.

Perhaps heís right. When we violate any human being in any way, regardless of how mild, deep in our subconscious, we realize that we are also violating ourselves. Any negative act we commit against a human being tears us apart inside, but most of us donít have the awareness to recognize it. Does it make any sense that the perpetrator hurts as much as the victim? Not logically, but I am beginning to recognize the truth of it.

When people have done bad things, how often do they get better when they are not shown any compassion? The number seems frighteningly small.

I also heard the statistic that majority of people who kill people in accidents, where the accident is their fault, experience less remorse than people who have killed someone in an accident that could not be avoided.

This is attributed to the fact that the people who have made a mistake know how to change their behavior to avoid future accidents. But, those who have killed people in unavoidable accidents realize that they are at the mercy of the universe.

In cases where people perpetually do bad things, it seems like they themselves believe that they are at the mercy of the universe. They have no control over their own reactions. The more they hurt others, the more they have to delude themselves that they had no choice, to cover up the fact that they are hurting themselves.

That's very grim sounding, but, for me, it gives the universe some sense and order. It also presents a solution; love and compassion will improve the world.

Today, Iím off from work and Iím loving life. Iím reading about the precepts and cleaning my house in the A/C. So nice.

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Monday, Jul. 21, 2008 at 12:18 PM