Tonight I am reliving a connection to the weeping buddha.
The weeping buddha is a buddha curled inward and to the ground, their entire body, one mass display of agony, misery, and sadness. The image symbolizes the ultimate compassion; one who is willing to suffer in hope that doing so might turn even the slightest bit of suffering from someone else. This symbol is an expression of the being who takes on the pains and hurts of the world without regard for themselves, specifically toward the goal of alleviating all suffering by absorbing as much of it as may be managed.
“better that i cry than you; better i should cry so that, perhaps, you will never have to”
I work very hard to keep my empathy shoved out of sight and safe. It seemingly works far better than even I intend, as most people are convinced I either do not have any or that I am some remarkable stone human. It is laughable, really, both because it is such a struggle to keep it secure and because it is (apparently) so easy for most people to conclude it doesn’t exist when, in reality, I am the most ridiculously empathetic person I know.
So much so that I cannot be in a crowd that is too happy, because I’ll cry.
So much so that I cannot be witness to any number of acts in public, because I’ll cry.
So much so that I cannot watch most television, be it news or fabricated drama, because I’ll cry.
So much so that seeing someone unhappy or when hurting makes me cry.
I cry when I see an ambulance go by; wondering about the people whose life it touches and hoping it brings rescue and life rather than sorrow.
I cry when I see the sunrise or the sunset, for entirely different reasons (i.e., possibility and impermanence).
I cry when I see someone being cruel and also when I see someone being kind.
I cry for all the things that should not be as well as for all the wonderful things that are…
I suppose I could go on, but perhaps you get my point. I am far and away from some monolith of imperviousness; just the opposite. I wall it up because otherwise, I am forever the brunt of jokes or the one who gets the weird looks, and frankly, I am tired of feeling only to have those around me try to tell me (be it directly or passively, with words or actions or embarrassment or disapproval) that who I am, how I am, and what I do is somehow “wrong”. It’s not…. and since I’m also tired of feeling as if I am forever having to defend my right to be who I am, it has just become easier to hide it, to disengage, to stop trying, and to turn my head and pretend I do not hear or see the ways in which even this is “not enough” and that there’s just no making people happy — if you’re open and honest, they try to make being who you are nothing more than a handle by which they can manipulate you and, if you hide yourself away, they try to convict you of being bloodless, emotionless, or (worst of all?) uncaring.
As if that is truly possible in a human.
I wrote a piece some time ago about crying. It’s somewhere on the blog (I may still have it veiled as “private”, a good bit of my work is so simply because I grew tired of people thinking that a single moment, captured in words, is the totality of me when there are so many words here and when they are only reading words…. not the person who wrote them).
Part of my practice (buddhism) is exposing myself in pointed (albeit intermittent and fleeting) ways to intense expressions of suffering as a means of reminding myself of the what it is to be compassionate and how, at any moment, one who is interested in doing so can remind themselves that humans will always have more in common than not:
– all humans want to be happy.
– all humans want to feel their presence in life is worthwhile.
– all humans want to feel a sense of belonging.
– all humans want to feel they offer something beautiful to the world.
– all humans want to be accepted for who they are, how they are.
– all humans want to be understood.
It is much harder to deliberately hurt someone when these things are at the front of the mind; it is not so easy to presume and assume bad intentions and motivations when one is realizing that “that human wants the same things I do… what must be happening in their life and mind (or in mine!!) that this situation comes to be?”
I do not always manage to remember these things. Which is why I practice. It is also why I keep myself to myself in most cases. After all, there is very little of a negative reaction that is going to be beneficial to someone else. Or me, for that matter, but particularly for someone else. I try very hard to remind myself that whatever it is I am thinking or feeling, nothing grants me some inherent right to inflict any of it on someone else, particularly if or when the driving force behind it is MY negativity or MY hurt or MY anger.
That’s how I try to think of it, “What right do *I* have to say that *MY* [reaction] is somehow more worthy or correct or proper or meaningful or [insert justification here] than anyone else’s?”
Or even, “What is it of me that feels as if *MY* reaction needs to be heard or should “share” importance with this person’s?”
Mind you, this is not to say that I feel my reactions or thoughts are LESS important, but it is coming to the point of realizing that equal importance does not mandate expression. (What demands that it is heard?) I can as easily nod within myself and say quietly to myself, “Yes, I understand.” without having to bull up into something and toss out *MY* thought as if, somehow, *THEIRS* (yours, etc) is incomplete unless *I* validate it. (wry grin)
What has me thinking of this is an article that some of my friends are posting tonight; it is the obviously anguished call of someone who is suffering. Many people are stepping forth to say they are too (this is not surprising). Most of these people posting and re-posting this item are people I call “friends” but with whom I have only the most tenuous and fleeting connection. What good would it do to say anything at all? What CAN be said in the face of so many admissions of despair, anguish, and hurt? Is there anything to be said that can possibly hope to negate it? To lessen it?
There are times when such sharing is helpful. I have known a few occasions of it myself. Perhaps, along the way, I have alleviated some small sliver of it in someone, but who is to say? I do not know.
But I sit here tonight, after spending time meditating on this and considering it and reminding myself of all the above and the thing that came to mind was the weeping buddha. Mostly because I have been weeping non-stop for some time now, but also because it is utterly laughable that *I* could do much of anything like a weeping buddha; certainly there are no guarantees that my tears are helping anyone.
But, for what it’s worth… as stupid as it probably sounds… I would cry forever if it meant you might never have to cry at all.
Yes, even you.
I wish I could do more.