Why are humans in general “superior” to animals?
It is due to the proper use of their gift of mind/memory and imagination. When humans use their mind and imagination correctly, they can create magnificent things and help many.
What makes humans one of the most miserable creatures on the Earth?
It is due to the abuse of their gift of mind/memory and imagination. When humans misuse their mind and imagination, they cause pain and suffering on themselves and others. In general, if humans are suffering emotionally, they are either living in the past or in the future.
In my opinion, when we are not present, we are abusing our God given gifts. We abuse our gifts by:
– Imagining constantly how terrible the future may be which results in living in constant fear and tension.
– Using our mind to constantly focus on past hurts, unmet expectations and losses.
– Using our memory to keep score of people’s shortcomings to justify our behavior.
– Using our mind/focus to ignore all our blessings.
When we misuse our gifts, we lose sight of the lack of permanency of life. Instead of appreciating encountering a beautiful rose (i.e. our loved one) and being grateful for experiencing their beauty and fragrance, we mourn its transformation and loss instead. We become willing accomplice in our own suffering.
When we misuse our gifts, we fight life by becoming obsessed with behavior of people who we care about to behave in a certain perfect way. We feel hurt if our expectations are not met and use our mind and focus to play the hurt over and over. We become willing accomplice in our own suffering and bitterness.
We cannot observe abuse of our gifts in ourselves easily. Even though emotional pain and suffering are good indicators of such abuses. We tend to blame others for our emotional pain and suffering instead of investigating how we are contributing to it now. It is easier to observe such situations in others, because it is less personal and our ego will not fight it.
My dear mother, RIP, was dealing with dementia. She was very scared when she could not remember things. Imagine you wake up tomorrow and all of sudden you have a limited memory. How would you respond?
To compensate for that issue and to remember, my mother wrote some notes in her notebook and reviewed the notes every morning before coming down for breakfast. In that notebook, there was not a list of all good things that happened to her, etc. The notes in the notebook besides some phone numbers, contained a list of people who have hurt her or not met her expectations. Reinforcing that memory agitated her and set her day in a wrong direction.
After hiding the notebook from her, she was not as agitated before breakfast. She had to let go of past memories of hurt and self-identification. My best times with my mother was when her hurt memory of the past was gone (no need to revisit them) and we could be present with each other, talk, laugh and enjoy the moments together.
We do not need to have Dementia to be present with our loved ones. We can make a conscious choice. We can stop reinforcing our memory of hurtful events (by not constantly talking about them and not reliving them over and over) and instead use our mind on reinforcing the blessings that we have.
Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat