"When it comes right down to it, we are nothing until that nothing becomes so dedicated that it is like a vessel through which good things can move, an instrument for receiving knowledge and sharing it with others who might be in need." -Bear Heart, from "The Wind Is My Mother"
I have a problem. Since I was a child, I prided myself on my ability to become educated and retain knowledge.
That's not such a bad thing, right?
In itself, it isn't. There are many times that having that gift was a blessing. I scored high on test, was a mean trivial pursuit player, and could talk about nearly any topic (academically anyway) to just about any demographic.
But here's the real problem: I learned so much about so many different topics that I began to believe that I was better suited to tell people about what to believe and their lives and how to live.
I didn't know their heart. What they had seen or been through. I didn't know the path that had lead them to where they are.
But for some reason, being someone who had the constant need to continue to educate myself, I thought that by reading articles or hearing the wisdom of an elder was enough for me to be able to become some type of guru.
My inflated ego became a fog through which truth was hidden.
In the book "The Wind Is My Mother," there is a powerful section about learning and knowing.
You can read all the books in the world on any given topic, but you only KNOW the words. You have learned someone else's experience.
But to KNOW about the experience is the engage in it yourself.
I'm sure many parents would agree. You can read all the baby books, instructions from authors who specialize in raising children, take parenting classes and so forth.
But to KNOW about raising a child is the act of raising a child.
Today I was humbled. My desire for the people around me to succeed left me thinking I know better than they do.
That is poison.
How can you help someone by judging their choices or behavior? Short answer: you can't.
All the lessons of the world that a person NEEDS to learn will come to them in time. If you hold a special place along that person's path, maybe the knowledge they need will flow from your heart, out of your mouth, through their ears and into an open heart.
I walked a dangerous path before. I was self-destructive. People who loved me pointed it out, but it only left me feeling more alienated.
So I have experienced the same behavior that I exhibited. I have learned through being both the unwilling student and the false teacher that an attempt to change someone's life through your experiences, your knowledge, your "advice," isn't the answer.
Instead, I have decided, as of today, to become nothing.
I will continue to reach out and educate myself. I will continue to try to better my mind and my life. And I will share what knowledge I have learned with anyone who comes to me in need.
But to hand out unsolicited advice from the top shit mountain (if you want it, you can have the crown), I will refrain from moving forward.
The time has come to empty myself of pride and ego. I know many words. But I haven't experienced the paths of those who I come across.
My desire to help people will manifest as opportunities are presented to me.
We all have blessings in our hearts that others need. And when the time is right, we will be able to deliver those blessing to our loved ones.
But we must become nothing. We must become a vessel through which good can flow.
Hanging on to our pride will only fill us with a false sense of purpose.
Here's to day one.
I'm sure I will slip up. I'm sure I will have times that my loved one will remind me to be an empty vessel.
And that will be a blessing that I will need at that time.
Today I will meditate and pray for internal peace and humility. I will pray for those I have held hate for. I will let my mind and heart become the vessel that my loved ones will need.
Today, I am nothing.