Daily Dilemma

I struggle to remember that other people exist. Of course, I know that they do, in theory. In theory, they have hopes, dreams, fears, children, lovers, moments of both sublime joy and of abject humiliation and despair. It’s the basic human quandary and establishes just how narcissistic I am…every single, and many times a day. A major guru (shrink) of mine prescribes that I continually offer unconditional positive regard to all beings. But I’m spotty on that. I have exceptions: my ex, Mr. Trump, fellow motorists. Honestly, anyone can make the list at any time, as I fight to pull well-being and self-esteem from others’ actions and imagined motivations, instead of from…contact with God/spirit? My dead but lively mother? The correct regulation of sleep, diet, and exercise? The degree of love shining from my womanfriend’s eyes? Or from my son’s, or daughter’s?

I remember a signal moment from last year. I’d emerged from the local, downtown, used-bookseller’s shop into bright afternoon sunlight and was about to get into my car. As I opened the door, I was struck by a slow, warm, huge feeling of belonging and togetherness with everyone around, both everyone I could see there and could imagine in a circle ranging far out from those downtown blocks. It was pure joy.

How long did the feeling last? Not long. What preceded it? Several weeks' hard work on my guru’s prescription.

My daily moral dilemma: to be mindful what works and to choose it.

— Kevin Simmons


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