TOO MANY BOXES

Have you noticed how we humans tend to dissect ourselves and put the different parts in clearly labeled boxes? Let me try to explain further…..We often define ourselves by our jobs, religion, position in life etc.

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This struck me a couple of days ago whilst running a self awareness & self development workshop. Each person was asked to tell me a little bit about ‘him/herself.’  As each one spoke it struck me, most of us define ourself by things, people & situations around us. For example; I’m a teacher, a mother, husband or wife. I’m a Christian or I work in a high ranking job. But nobody spoke about his or herself as a person. So I set the following exercise:

You’re given weeks to live. Already you’re becoming dependent on those around you for feeding, bathing etc.  Your job has gone now & although you’re missed, you’ve been replaced already.  All the clothes you own, suits, dresses, shoes etc will soon all belong to someone else maybe resold through the charity shop. It’s the same with your husband or wife, they’ll one day share their life with another but right now they’re responsible for your comfort and care.  Deep down in your heart, you know your beautiful children & grandchildren will always remember you through photos, but may very well call someone else mum & grandma in the future. Everything you own, your life savings, the world you thought you knew & the dreams you had, are all relative now as you lay confined to your bed.
All the external things that once defined you have pretty much gone. Who are you?

What are your thoughts?

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The classic Trolley Dilemma – What would you do?

Most of us have heard about the ‘trolley dilemma’ relating to Buddhism, but placed in that very situation, what would you actually do?

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I’ve pondered on this for a while now and even had discussions & debates with Buddhist monks. Despite the many different viewpoints, I can’t help feeling there are still things for consideration – but first let’s look at the scenario……

You’re standing on a bridge over 2 railway tracks.  A little while ago, the police arrested 6 people for a serious crime and they are now all handcuffed and waiting for arrest. Five of these people are face down on the first track. The other person is cuffed & face down on the other track. The next train isn’t due for another 15 mins but from the bridge you can see in the distance, a train trolley hurtling down towards the track with 5 people on. Right next to you is a signal box with a large iron lever. If you pull the lever, the trolley will switch tracks and hit one person instead of 5.

It’s in your hands now but before you decide, consider these factors…..

1- By allowing the train to hit one man you can save 5 lives but what gives you the right to decide that one man matters less than the other 5?
2- Karma already decided their fate which is why they’re in that situation so really you don’t need to do anything. But then what about your own karma if you knowingly let people die?
3- You could also walk away and pretend you never saw anything after all – if they weren’t criminals they wouldn’t be there in the first place. But could you honestly live with the consequences of walking away? Again what about your own karma?

What’s your viewpoint on this? Let’s have a discussion

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