I love people. Even though, I’ve come to recognize, that since birth I was raised to be practically anti-social. When I was eleven, my mother became a Jehovah’s Witness and to her, everyone outside the religion was a potential bad influence and should be avoided. But worse yet was my father.
In my humble opinion, my dad is an undiagnosed schizophrenic, who suffers particularly with acute delusions of oppression. Everything is a conspiracy; everyone is out to get him; people are plotting against him and everyone is untrustworthy. Consequently his lot in life has been brought to misery and ruin by other people, and his only known conversational style is aggressive non-stop complaining.
Even, when I was young he would complain about who had done him wrong, and thereby teach me that people were not to be trusted. He would show me how to hide stuff with secret traps. So I can test people’s honour and know if I had been transgressed upon. He would teach me how to physically escape someone if they tried to grab me (okay, this was good to know…) How to fight back in a physical fight with other kids; how to physically kill someone with your bare hands; and how to shoot a handgun.
But don’t misunderstand, my dad is not a voyeur of violence. He doesn’t appear to enjoy violence or get a weird kick out of it. But the thoughts in his head and his actions have actually constructed the reality in which many of the thing he complains about seem to exist. To him, society is dangerous, dark, plotting, and hopeless.
My dad’s common adages were: never carry ID with you; avoid crowds and police; don’t tell people anything; keep your eyes open, back against the wall and be suspicious of everyone; But the one I think is the most telling and damning is “let others love you more than you love them”–in other words, do not love people.
Years later, and basically out of contact with my family, I wonder why I find it difficult to pick up the phone or send messages, to long lost friends. Secretly, I am aware, that I wish to avoid dramas of other lives intertwining into mine, because I had enough drama in my young life to last me till the day I die; but this is not the full explanation. I am often not motivated enough, even though I might feel an emptiness, or a longing to have the closeness I see others share with their families and friends—and I often feel guilty about it. Even my husband, makes me feel anti-social-guilt, often complaining that I don’t have enough friends. But I know he just wants more women in his life…to his credit, he likes female company.
Recently, I have come to accept my anti-social-ness. Recognizing that even though I enjoy the company of other people, the lack of trust my dad instilled in me has made me uncomfortable picking up with old friends, and has encouraged a reluctance to invite new friends into my life.
However, I have also determined that my lack of friends serves me well at this age. Now I concentrate on my yogic studies, work on my business, raise my daughter, and my gardens and write. Luckily my business brings thousands of people, from around the globe, thru my home and thru my life…so I am never alone or lonely and it reminds me that there are many beautiful souls out there.
I do love people. I love humanity. I work everyday, in my own small way, at my mission to save the world. I don’t always like people, in fact, many of them are so unconscious that its frustrating to have them populating & polluting the planet. But, I try not to judge, I try to accept.
I have now come to see my way of being as a form of Brahmacharya,
which strictly speaking—according to some ancients, is the practice of transmuting sexual energy into spiritual practice (being celibate). However, if one reads up on Brahmacharya, one will find that there are many varied definitions of the practice.
The word brahmacharya stems literally from two components:
1.Brahma, (shortened from brahman), the absolute, eternal, supreme God-head.
(As opposed to Brahmā, the deity in the Hindu triad responsible for creation).
2.charya, which means “to follow”. This is often translated as activity, mode of behaviour, a “virtuous” way of life.
So the word brahmacharya indicates a lifestyle adopted to enable one to attain the ultimate reality.
This embodiment discipline transcends gender and cultivates the great power inherent in the sexual essence, channeling it upwards to enhance meditative capacity rather than dispersing it outwards.
It is practised by married couples and householders too, as a way of formalizing sexual behavior into a conscious, co-creative practice rather than merely an unconscious habit. Brahmacharya is also observed to contain one’s sensual desires for food and taste, as well as materialism.
Brahmacharya can also be interpreted more generally in a variety of ways, such as:
generally striving for excellence in all domains of activity and relationships
pursuing ‘virtue’ however defined. Brahmacharya understood in this sense is similar to the classical Greek concept of arete (excellence)
clearing & resolving underlying personality conflicts; and centering oneself, and ones spiritual journey, on clear, well conceived and sustainable values.
refining one’s ‘energies’ (prana/chi/aura etc.) in relation to other people generally, to become aware of more subtle energies and to take one’s energies or ‘vibration’ higher
I see myself most reflected in the last two definitions. In my life, I feel myself transmuting social energy into spiritual practice. I think it is very easy in this day and age to squander one’s time and energy in superficial digital exchanges; and I think its is easy to feel guilty for not being as “social” as others appear to be. However, instead of being wrapped up in my friends’ private affairs & dramas, instead of constantly updating my facebook and mindlessly “poking” friends, I am grateful to be able to reserve my time and energy to concentrate on a bigger picture, to do what I can to help this world reach enlightenment.. This is my path, and as I follow it blessings flow more freely and I am grateful for the opportunity