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The inner thoughts of Doc O'Neill

a discussion

Postby Doc ONeill » January 21st, 2015, 5:23 pm

I have sat for what seems like an eternity on top of this mountain pondering my world, me and the meaning of my existence. I was feeling like I am was no closer to an answer when I noticed a man who turned right after crossing that little bridge heading out of the village which was strange since the road turned left on the other side of the crossing.
I watched as he made his way slowly up the mountain side heading directly towards me!
He carried a small black bag in his right hand and what looked like an elaborate saw in the other.
His head seemed to glow green in the late afternoon sun and I realized that he had the same white beard that I had. He disappeared under an outcropping from my view and it seemed he would never reappear but eventually I heard his heavy breathing and saw a hand reach up and grab a hold of a root of a tree pulling himself up and over the ledge that I sat on.
“Hey there” he said
“Hi” I replied
“Do you mind if I sit for a spell? That hike has me exhausted!”
“It’s not my mountain so do as you please.”
He reached out his hand and said “I’m Doc”
“I’m not sure who I am then.” I replied
“I see” he said
We sat for sometime looking down on the village below not saying a word which I was happy for as I didn’t know what to say to him anyway.
The sun was beginning to set and the sky was so full of color that it took my breath away.
“Wow” I mumbled
He turned and smiled at me “I know what you mean, it always makes me thankful that I got through the day when I see a sunset like this! And I begin to understand the meaning of it all.”
“What meaning?”
“Why we are here.”
“Do you mean God” I said nervous that he would start preaching.
“I don’t really know if there is a God or whether the universe with all its galaxies has a deeper meaning or not but I do know that regardless of what is out there and if it has intelligence we humans are faced with the task of making a happy life for ourselves.”
“So you think its important to be happy?”
“I believe that it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
“Hmm, and how do I do that?” i asked not really sure if I wanted to know the answer and whether or not this doctor knew the correct answer.
“Well, I think you need to break things down to find the answer.” He said slowly as if he were trying to find the right words.
“you can divide every kind of happiness and suffering as well into two main categories and those would be Physical and mental.”
“Unless we are gravely ill or we do not have the basic necessities our physical condition is secondary to our mental state. Our minds exert the greatest influence on our happiness, so our efforts should focus on bringing about mental peace.”
“How do I do that?” I was starting to sense this doctor was something ‘other’ than what he appeared to be.
peace is developing and growing my sense of love and compassion.”
“I don't understand” I nearly screamed this.
“The more we care for the happiness of others the greater our sense of well being well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, how do I say it, a warm hearted feeling towards others automatically puts the mind at ease.”
“I still don’t get it.”
“when I practice compassion it tends to remove whatever fears or anxieties I may have and gives me the strength to overcome whatever obstacles I meet up with.”
I lowered my head into my hands and sighed.
“Listen, As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems and if we lose hope and become discouraged we lessen our ability to face our problems but on the other hand, if we remember that everyone has to under“Well, From my limited experience I have come to believe that the thing that brings the most inner go suffering this is a more realistic perspective that leads to increased determination and grows our capacity to overcome our troubles.”
“each of these new obstacles can then be seen as opportunities to improve our minds and as a result our own serenity and inner strength will increase.”
“But why would me caring for someone else help me?”
The doctor smiled and leaned back on one elbow as if he was realizing that he would be here awhile. After a few minutes he said “Ultimately The reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simple, it is simply in our nature to do so. The need for love lies at the very center of human existence, babies left alone and unloved tend to die even though they are fed and clothed. This comes out of a profound interdependence we all share for when one is sick or very young or very old we have to depend on others for support.”
“yes, Of course, it is a fundamental law of nature. Not only we humans but even the smallest creatures survive by mutual cooperation, Insects have no religion, laws or education yet they know this. Everything from the planet to the oceans to clouds and forests and flowers arise in dependence upon subtle patterns of energy without which they dissolve and decay. It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very heart of our existence. So, we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others.”
“I think I get that.” I said, uncertain of whether I actually understood it.
“You see, we need to consider what it means to be human. We are not machine made objects for if we were just mechanical then machines themselves could ease all of our suffering and fulfill our needs. However, since we are not solely machines it would be a mistake to put all our hopes of happiness on external things alone.”
“Do we really need others to love us?”
“Yes, from the the very beginning we are completely dependant on our mothers, some scientist even claim that the mental state of our mothers while they are pregnant with us has a direct effect on us.” Love is so important for a child to bond naturally with their mother that when a mother is angry or bitter her milk tends to dry up.”
“Then there is the critical period of brain development from the time of birth up to at least the age of three or four, during which time loving physical contact is the single most important factor for the normal growth of the child. If the child is not held, hugged, cuddled, or loved, its development will be impaired and its brain will not mature properly. Nowadays, many children grow up in unhappy homes. If they do not receive proper affection, in later life they will rarely love their parents and, not infrequently, will find it hard to love others. This is very sad.”
“Similarly, if one is sick and being treated in hospital by a doctor who evinces a warm human feeling, one feels at ease and the doctors' desire to give the best possible care is itself curative, irrespective of the degree of his or her technical skill. On the other hand, if one's doctor lacks human feeling and displays an unfriendly expression, impatience or casual disregard, one will feel anxious, even if he or she is the most highly qualified doctor and the disease has been correctly diagnosed and the right medication prescribed. Inevitably, patients' feelings make a difference to the quality and completeness of their recovery. So, as you can see from everything I have said so far, one thing seems clear to me: whether or not we are consciously aware of it, from the day we are born, the need for human affection is in our very blood. Even if the affection comes from an animal or someone we would normally consider an enemy, both children and adults will naturally gravitate towards it. I believe that no one is born free from the need for love. And this demonstrates that, although some modern schools of thought seek to do so, human beings cannot be defined as solely physical. No material object, however beautiful or valuable, can make us feel loved, because our deeper identity and true character lie in the subjective nature of the mind.”
“But the compassion is not relevant in todays world, love has little influence today. doesn't anger and hatred more a part of human nature and is dominated by them?” I was feeling antagonistic towards his ideas and part of me wanted to make him mad.
“i don’t agree” he said softly
“We humans have existed in this form for about a hundred thousand years and if we were dominated by hatred and anger our numbers would have dwindled not increased. Also it is proven that anger and anxiety make us more susceptible to illness and, on the other hand if our minds are tranquil and have positive thoughts then the body will not easily sucumb to disease.”
“But are we not all self centered and concerned with our own happiness?” I was on a roll now.
“But of course it is also true that we all have an innate self-centeredness that inhibits our love for others. So, since we desire the true happiness that is brought about by only a calm mind, and since such peace of mind is brought about by only a compassionate attitude, how can we develop this? Obviously, it is not enough for us simply to think about how nice compassion is! We need to make a concerted effort to develop it; we must use all the events of our daily life to transform our thoughts and behavior.”
The sun had set now and the darkness encompassed us. the cold night air brought us closer to the fire and thus closer together.
“I still don’t get why my compassion for someone else can make me happy.”
First of all, I must be clear about what I mean by compassion. Many forms of compassionate feeling are mixed with desire and attachment. For instance, the love parents feel of their child is often strongly associated with their own emotional needs, so it is not fully compassionate. Again, in marriage, the love between husband and wife - particularly at the beginning, when each partner still may not know the other's deeper character very well - depends more on attachment than genuine love. Our desire can be so strong that the person to whom we are attached appears to be good, when in fact he or she is very negative. In addition, we have a tendency to exaggerate small positive qualities. So, when one partner's attitude changes, the other partner is often disappointed and his or her attitude changes too. This is an indication that love has been motivated more by personal need than by genuine care for the other individual.

True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. So, a truly compassionate attitude towards others does not change even if they behave badly.

Of course, developing this kind of compassion is not at all easy! As a start, let us consider the following facts:
Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one's own. Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all. As long as they are human beings experiencing pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively.”
“Ok, I think I get it but where do I start?”
“By removing anger and hatred from your life.”
“So I just need to think more compassionately?”
“No, merely thinking that compassion and reason and patience are good will not be enough to develop them. We must wait for difficulties to arise and then attempt to practice them. So anger and hatred are always harmful, and unless we train our minds and work to reduce their negative force, they will continue to disturb us and disrupt our attempts to develop a calm mind.”
“So who creates such opportunities? Not our friends, of course, but our enemies. They are the ones who give us the most trouble, So if we truly wish to learn, we should consider enemies to be our best teacher!
Of course, it is natural and right that we all want friends. I often joke that if you really want to be selfish, you should be very altruistic! You should take good care of others, be concerned for their welfare, help them, serve them, make more friends, make more smiles, The result? When you yourself need help, you find plenty of helpers! If, on the other hand, you neglect the happiness of others, in the long term you will be the loser. And is friendship produced through quarrels and anger, jealousy and intense competitiveness? I do not think so. Only affection brings us genuine close friends.

In today's materialistic society, if you have money and power, you seem to have many friends. But they are not friends of yours; they are the friends of your money and power. When you lose your wealth and influence, you will find it very difficult to track these people down.

The trouble is that when things in the world go well for us, we become confident that we can manage by ourselves and feel we do not need friends, but as our status and health decline, we quickly realize how wrong we were. That is the moment when we learn who is really helpful and who is completely useless. So to prepare for that moment, to make genuine friends who will help us when the need arises, we ourselves must cultivate altruism!
Though sometimes people laugh when I say it, I myself always want more friends. I love smiles. Because of this I have the problem of knowing how to make more friends and how to get more smiles, in particular, genuine smiles. For there are many kinds of smile, such as sarcastic, artificial or diplomatic smiles. Many smiles produce no feeling of satisfaction, and sometimes they can even create suspicion or fear, can't they? But a genuine smile really gives us a feeling of freshness and is, I believe, unique to human beings. If these are the smiles we want, then we ourselves must create the reasons for them to appear.”

I smiled and turned to him, it was then that I realized that he was not really there!
I was talking to myself and I apparently had already known the answer to all my questions!
Doc ONeill
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