My first post may be misinterpreted as praise for all things Californian, and rejection of all Minnesotan. This is not so. In fact, I found there were some very odd interpretations of Buddhism in California, where individuals used the idea of detachment to relinquish responsible behavior. The following piece is an example of what I mean.
Blogs - There is one that quite amuses and frustrates me as a professional in religion, and as someone who pursues a spiritual path. Why, why, why would someone write on the importance of Tikkun Olam (repairing or redeeming the world), having compassion for the earth, and avoidng a power-over relationship with the environment, yet was not able to carry out these steps with people in his life?
Kind of reminds me of Judith Plaskow's speech about toilets - there are never enough for women. She explained the sociological, cultural, and theological associations made with women's bodies vs. men's bodies, reminding those of us listening that the study of religion is not for theory. It's for real people who live real lives. (The theory, however, involves viewing women's bodies as leaking too much fluid, where the perfect male is an excutive with a private bathroom, who is never viewed leaking any fluid).
The blogger I mention treated me, well, like a piece of trash to be thrown out. That was after telling me several times "I love you" with a great deal of feeling, after we became involved in a vey special and good relationship. Then something happened, of which he refused to tell me about.
I am still greatly affected by the treatment, and I will just say that despite my best efforts, the guy kept making the situation as painful as possible for me, refusing to talk through what happened. Apparently
it was more important that he treat me like trash. My feelings or welfare didn't matter to him.
I have a suspicion about what was wrong, and it could have been easily worked out, but he demanded he wanted an end to the relationship. Maybe that behavior is fine in High School, but very unrelational and lacking in compassion for a grown adult male.Over the years, he has still refused to talk-even via speaker phone session with a neutral therapist- or acknowledge that his behavior could possibly have affected me that badly - sort of like BP saying they didn't mean for the oil spill to hurt anyone.
For me, such behavior isn't about compassion but a "power over." If we are to have compassion for the earth, and be in relationship with the environment, we must also include people in that equation - all people, and especially those we claim to love. That has to go beyond kind thoughts to others theoretically, or applied only to those in a circle of friends, or a specific spiritual community.
My story, sadly, has no happy ending for me. I still experience flashbacks of trauma from the experience. I am still unhappily single, and he is married.Well, at least he's thinking good thoughts, and at least I have a nice garden - of sunflowers, beans, roses, and beautiful friends and students who treat me like a human being.