‘The root of all suffering is attachment’, Buddhist teaching.
I love people and at the same time I hate them.
They are full of love, driven to create, want to contribute, are innately good – I still believe that – and want to help, unless they have learned that helping others can be dangerous…
They are also pernicious, petty, egocentric, we’re often just a bunch of cowards trying to get save something we treasure from a burning building, not giving a damn if the house burns to a crisp. We’re selfish, seek vain glory and we put our own needs first. Oh, and we want to be better than others. Plus, we only put energy into people we can use or share enough genes with us to make the interaction pay off in a biological sense.
You could say that the bad outweighs the good, but I still think the good outweighs the bad.
So how to deal with people in such a way that you gets most of the good and very little of the bad?
How does this work in practice?
When I interact with a person I’m fully present, am genuinely interested in their story, in that moment of interaction I deeply care about them, want to see what I can do for them, if I can make them feel good or help them reach their goals.
When the interaction is over, I let the person go. Maybe that person will continue with me later or perhaps that person will never seek contact with me again. Perhaps that person – for whatever unexplained reason – will ‘ghost’ me, even if we have years and years of shared memories.
So I let people go. When I am with them I am all ears and my heart is open to them, but when I’m not with them, I am not attached. They are free to stay in my life, but if they don’t want that, they are free to go. I even assume that they will leave, because most people you meet will not stay a part of your life.
Who did you interact with on a daily basis ten years ago? Chance are that today you are very alienated from each other.
People come and go.
I don’t think that’s an excuse to stop caring about people. Care about people most deeply IN THE MOMENT.
Give yourself, knowing that the person you are giving to, will not stay.
It’s like giving everyone you meet a little bit of food so they can continue their journey.
If everybody does this all the time, giving everyone we meet some food for their journey, perhaps joining them for a stretch of that journey, we would all have it easier.
Just don’t get attached, we are all on our own path.
The best we can hope for is to be kind to the people who cross our path, for a moment.
I chose the poster of the movie Deatchment for this post, because I think that movie illustrates this attitude very well.