This world is full of pain and suffering, this is inevitable. And death comes to all, this is unavoidable in this temporal PMR. We are born, we develop attatchments to people, critters and things. As we grow old, we get to watch all the people (and things) that we have learn to love, grow old, get sick, decay, corrode, and die. Then we grow old get sick and die.
Loss, loss, loss...
It is in how we deal with the loss. And it is in how we deal with people during the time we have that matters.
The Buddhists have come to the conclusion that there is only one way to deal with all this suffering and loss. With LOVE and Compassion
They have a concept called The "Joyful participation in the sorrows of the world"
Joseph Campbell (my other favorite Mr. Campbell) talks about it, in his book:
Sukhavati (2002, reissued 2007)
We're in a freefall into future. We don't know where we're going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you're going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It's a very interesting shift of perspective and that's all it is... joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.
In "The Power of Myth" Joseph Campbell has this to say...
People ask me, "Do you have optimism about the world, about how terrible it is?" And I say, "Yes, it's great the way is it" ... I had the wonderful privilege of sitting face to face with [a Hindu guru] and the first thing he said to me was "Do you have a question?", cause the teacher always answers questions... I said, "Yes, I have a question." I said, " Since in Hindu thinking all the universe is divine, a manifestation of divinity itself, how can we say no to anything in the world? How can we say no to brutality to stupidity to vulgarity to thoughtlessness?" And he said, "For you and me, you must say yes." Well, I learned from my friends who were students of his that that happened to be the first question he asked his guru, and we had a wonderful conversation for an hour there. Episode 2, Chapter 12..
Campbell: Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. There's a wonderful formula that the Buddhists have for the Bodhisattva, the one whose being (sattva) is illumination (bodhi), who realizes his identity with eternity and at the same time his participation in time. And the attitude is not to withdraw from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder and to come back and participate in it. "All life is sorrowful" is the first Buddhist saying, and it is. It wouldn't be life if there were not temporality involved which is sorrow. Loss, loss, loss.
Moyers: That's a pessimistic note.
Campbell: Well, you have to say yes to it, you have to say it's great this way. It's the way God intended it. Episode 2, Chapter 13-14.
As well as this...
This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes? ... If the person doesn't listen to the demands of his own spiritual and heart life and insists on a certain program, you're going to have a schizophrenic crack-up. The person has put himself off center. He has aligned himself with a programmatic life and it's not the one the body's interested in at all. And the world's full of people who have stopped listening to themselves. Episode 1, Chapter 12.
But it is not our job to change the world....
Moyers: Unlike heroes such as Prometheus or Jesus, we're not going on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves.
Campbell: But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there's no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saveing the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who's on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it's alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself.
And in "The Hero With A Thousand Faces", he likens it to the warriors path when he says...
We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us — the labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world. Chapter 1.
Carl Jung says that...
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
But unfortunately it is not something that we can (easily) pass on to others. When we go through our trials and tribulations we learn through experience, and everyone must pass through their own personal trials. Its not something that we can necessarily teach. It is subjective and personal. it is experiencial and participatory.
Even when it comes to our children...
Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.
~ Carl Jung
Every parent wants their children to grow up to be better people than than the parent was. But we can NEVER teach our children to be better than we are. We can only teach them WHO we are. So if we want our children to be better people, we must first BECOME better people ourselves.
Its the same with people in general. We teach by example, and not by words alone. We show each other who we are, and we get feedback. Our actions do, in fact, speak much louder than our words.
But the Quality of our consciousness is not measured by our actions alone, but by our intentions.
And I have come to the conclusion that the best we can do, even under the worst of circumstances, is to go through life with a reverance for all people and things, and treat everyone and everything with LOVE and Compassion.