This week I am again confronted with a common theme in my life: Self-absorption. This is my Karma-cleansing in progress.
For the past decade, as I embrace Buddhist tenets, I am meeting people who can show me myself as I have been. They are as different from each other as can be, but what they have in common is varying degrees of Self-Absorption. As I embrace the theory that everyone I meet in life is here to teach something, I am open to what I need to learn from them.
I grew up with people who were self-centered. Nothing outside of their worldview could be valid; and must be scorned. As I, myself, was often beyond their worldview, I was therefore scorned. As a result, I also became self-centered in defiance. Otherwise I would be destroyed as an individual, a damaged soul. Such was the vehemence of the incessant attacks against my personality and perspective. End result: and angry, self-absorbed young man tossed unto the world. I hated, was angry, couldn’t stand anyone’s views but my own.
I was miserable.
But a book changed all that. I worked in the receiving room at a Barnes & Noble when I open an incoming box and saw an elderly smiling face of the Dalai Lama shining out. He was captivating, but not as much as the title of the book: “The Art of Happiness.”
“That’s just what I need,” I thought. I was right.
I read the book, delved into its practices. I learned more about meditation and Buddhist teaching. For a while I hung out with a Shambala Temple nearby. My healing had started.
Then began the parade of Hurting souls who were mirrors of me at different phases of my earlier life. The first was red-faced Anger. The next was Intolerant and Racist. The third was a Thief, followed closely by the Egotist. Next, the Maniac and the Worrier. More recently I have met the Slacker, and this week I have to deal with the Embittered Soul. All are reflections of the person I once was. All are here, I believe, to help cleanse me of my past, to prepare me for a future rebirth where I can grow further and become more compassionate, closer to Nirvana.
The theme of Self-absorption is the reason I live this life, to rid myself of it’s influence, to raise a daughter free from it’s grip, to stare it down and transcend it. The Echoes of my Soul whom I meet, tortured people that they are, are my friends. They are here to help me. And if I can share my experiences with them, perhaps I can help them as well in their journeys toward Nirvana.
I truly hope so.