I had an interesting discussion with a friend the other day. Actually, it wasn’t a discussion. They just declared that there are no bodhisattvas (or perfected human beings) on earth today. Everyone is just human. There are no fully developed individuals – anywhere – we are all just human, just fallible, and no more.
Now, they’ve said this before. And it kind of goes against what I’ve heard other people saying — some say that we are all perfect in some way or another, and that there are perfected human beings among us, we just don’t always know it. And even those perfected individuals sometimes don’t know it, themselves.
Okay, so those are two sides of the question, I suppose. I’m sure there are more, but for now, I’ll just stick with these two “bookends” of the discussion.
I guess I come down in the middle somewhere. Maybe I’m too much of an agnostic, to pick sides. Either one could be right, in some respect. And maybe in some parallel universe, each one is right. But right here, right now, in this universe, I have to say I kind of agree with each side.
I really do believe that it is possible for people to be their absolute best at given points in time. The thing is, those points tend to be irregular and sometimes erratic. I know I’ve seen it in my own life — moments of brilliance or amazing comprehension or the ability to do things that I wish I could do every single day, but apparently can’t. There are many, many factors that come into play when it comes to why we do what we do, and how we do it — too many to count.
But still, it is possible for us — yes, each and every one of us — to have those moments when we are the person we long to be.
And the fact that we are sometimes the exact opposite of how we want to be, shouldn’t keep us down or hold us back. All of us fall short, sometime or another. Some of us fall short more than others — and most of us fall short more than we’d like. Yet, that shouldn’t keep us from living our lives in a way that lets us really recognize and enjoy the ways we get it right. We may be human, but we are all evolving… and so long as we keep an open mind, get plenty of sleep and eat right, spend time reflecting on our missteps and the ways we’d like to change… and well, just keep trying… we cannot help but get better.
It’s just how we’re built. And that’s a great thing.
One of the big potholes on the road of my life is my continual (and sometimes exclusive) focus on all the things that go wrong, each and every day. I tend to be in “problem fixing mode” most of the time – I like to fix things, and I like to find things that need to be improved. And I am one of the things that could really use some improvement, sometimes… if not most of the time. So, I end up being so consumed with the things I’ve done wrong or mis-managed or mis-handled, or screwed up, I get lost in the maze of just being human, and I can’t distinguish between things that are caused by my TBIs and things that people just come up against as a matter of being human.
In a way, that kind of sums up my whole TBI recovery process. It’s not about recovering specific abilities the exact way I used to do them. It’s about evolving my approach to those things I really want to do well, and gaining a new kind of facility, a new kind of expertise, so I can once again participate in those parts of my life that have always been important to me. It’s about allowing myself to not only be human and fallible, but also allowing myself to be fantastic and brilliant in those moments when I really am. Being on constant alert against things that could be “wrong” — especially when those things are a part of me — is exhausting, and it wires me for a hair-trigger temper that doesn’t help anyone at all.
I am not the same person I was in 2004 before my last TBI. Thank heavens for that. I’m also not the person I was before each of my other 9+ TBIs. And that’s fine. Because the brain is a big place and it’s built specifically to adapt and change and reconnect in new and novel ways. There are a number of things I really miss — like being able to sit down and read a book for fun, or being able to function really well at work under distracting circumstances.
Then again, a lot of the things I’ve lost tolerance for were time-wasters or they were more ways for me to distract myself from what I wanted most to be doing.
My injuries have focused my attention much more on the basics, which is a good place for any of us to focus. Regardless of our history, regardless of what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong, keeping things simple and not getting carried away with all sorts of self-manufactured drama is a very helpful way to live life.
That being said, I’m going to get on with my day. I found some more really good reading (not light stuff that I used to enjoy — heavy, ponderous scientific research that has the potential to really change how I view my life and how I live in general) and I have a bunch of papers to download. I also have some chores to do and some obligations to fulfill. It’s all good.
I just have to remember to let it be good.