Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


The Seventh Grave Precept

Realize self and others as one. Do not elevate the self and blame others.

Like the Sixth Grave Precept I feel that this is a message I heard as a child, but equally similarly was the way in which the example from my family members did not uphold this message. The idea that we're all one has always stuck with me, even though the nature of my childhood & adolescence has left me with a tremendous sense of not belonging or fitting in. What I find interesting is how the point in my life I was most disconnected from the feeling of being one, and most likely to elevate myself above others, was when I weighed the most. For me there is real irony that the literal insulation of my obesity, which I felt helped me feel more comfortable in groups, was the time in my life I was my most impatient and blaming towards other people. Now I see that grave disconnect from the health of my body as contributing to my ability to silence the part of me that knew I should treat people with more grace.

I saw this mostly in how I treated people, especially people like cashiers and others in the service industry. I could be short, terse, dismissive and unpleasant as a “dissatisfied customer”. In this way I would try to hold the person dealing with me accountable for all the irritation I felt at life instead of seeing how utterly insignificant the issue I was demanding be fixed was. I’m not even sure if I really felt like I was being elevated at those times, so much as I didn’t see them as one; the same impatient, frightened, confused, joyful, hopeful, wonderful kind of person I am with nothing but a desire to be happy, to be content.

The weight loss has at times heightened my feelings of not belonging. The loss of that layer insulating me from the enormity of my unacknowledged grief leaves me feeling completely isolated and alone with the messages I heard as a child. I’ve reached a point where I have cultivated the ability to see others as one, but it is challenging practice to include myself and not judge myself as ‘broken’.

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