Maybe the whole world needs more of that if we are really going to get down to the brass tacks of it all, but I can't change the whole world, only myself. And in order to do that I need to be proactive about change and consider how I can cultivate and harness more patience and compassion into my life.
Don't get me wrong about this, I am not some stone-cold heartless bitch or anything, I do possess a good measure of patience and compassion already, but sometimes I also do struggle with putting myself into other people's realities and seeing past my own struggles and that kind of thinking is so bloody shallow and intolerant and I would really prefer to be a lot less of both of those things.
However, patience and compassion are not something that you just miraculously wake up overflowing with one morning and declare to world that you've got it and you're done. It takes years of ongoing work to develop your levels of patience and compassion. In fact, it seems like the only way to get more patient and compassionate is to do more of the hard yards and experience the complete opposite and have some full blown mid-life 'chaos and melancholy' moment.
However, I'm not going to sugar coat or over inflate my own ability here, so I am just going to come straight out with it and say that I really, really do not want any chaos or melancholy in my life right now.... nope, no thanks....I'm looking for an overall gentler and nicer way to build my levels of patience and compassion without having to do the suffering to get there.
Call me a pussy, but I have done the agony miles before in my life and they are not fun, and even though I cannot deny that suffering does enhance the soul, I do not want or need destruction, mayhem or any feelings of being set adrift in my world right now. So how does one grow compassion and patience in gentle and less agonising ways, and can it even be done without an order of suffering on the side?
Well the good news is yes; yes you can develop and hone both your patience and your compassion without any torture or turmoil and it's easier than you would think. In his book Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Gunaratana says:
You will come face to face with the sudden and shocking realisation that you are completely crazy. Your mind is a shrieking, gibbering madhouse on wheels barrelling pell-mell down the hill, utterly out of control and hopeless. No problem.
I really love this quote for a couple of reasons, firstly because it is so reassuring to know that even zen Buddhists understand the analogy of a 'madhouse on wheels' and secondly because he finishes with 'no problem.' Meaning that I have complete control over my ability to remain calm even in the darkest hours and meanest tempests. In spite of the worst storms I can stand my ground, be a pillar of patience and demonstrate compassion if I choose to.
And what that really means is that the torture and turmoil, the 'side of suffering' that I mentioned earlier are all just states of mind and are only made real by my inability to manage my chaos thoughts. So rather than trying to be more patient or compassionate, what I really need to master is my ability to manage my unwelcome thoughts and emotions which will in turn lead to my impatience being transformed into patience; and being patient is a way of treating ourselves and others with compassion.
BOOM! Total result! And now I just need to put all of that into practise....which sounded really straight forward when I was writing about it a second ago....
Release Date: 2005
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 127 mins
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, this French language film from Quebec, Canada, tells the story of Zac, a young gay man struggling through the homophobic 1960's and 1970's. C.R.A.Z.Y was so well received that it clocks a massive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is on the top ten list of Best Canadian Films of All time.
Much to his father horror, Zachary was born 'different' to his four other brothers. In order to keep his conservative family happy, Zac hides his sexuality and tries to adopt a lifestyle that he believes they will approve of, but it is not easy to live out a lie, and Zac must eventually allow himself to become who he truly is, regardless of the consequences.
This is a touching, colourful and beautifully constructed coming of age tale. The period of the 60's and 70's is truly brought to life here, and so are the prejudices and fears that surrounded gay lifestyles during that time. I really enjoyed this film, I thought that the behaviours of the characters were really believable and I don't know why we have seen more from Marc-Andre Grondin, who was utterly amazing as Zachary. And what a killer of a soundtrack, overall really very good indeed.
FINAL SAY: I want to be like everyone else.
3.5 Chilli Peppers