This winter break has literally been life changing in the best way possible. The next few articles I write will be in dedication to this past month and will be written in chronological order. One theme that will be emphasized is the circularity of time. In the West time is perceived as being linear; but in the East, time is viewed as a circular process.
A phrase comes to mind – that which is not suffered fully will repeat again. Junior year of high school I went to prom with a beautiful and wise girl. At the dance I really wanted to kiss her and told her so. She was so pretty! But she sighed and said no. As I look back, I realize I didn’t have the skill set to read her body language, express myself verbally or physically; nor the balls to even go in for a kiss.
Now long story short, time has passed – 5 years to be exact! I am on lunch date with her. She is even more beautiful and wise than she was in the past! Reading her body language, closing the distance between us, making eye contact – I kiss her. My old self would have never been so ballsy, so confident, and so uncaring of rejection. I was direct and I expressed myself. Ultimately, I was rejected but was told so in a highly positive manner. She even encouraged me to continue on this social path I have set out upon!
Now let’s analyze this in light of the quote mentioned above - that which is not suffered fully will repeat again. What this really means is this: if you don’t learn from your mistakes you will repeat them. When you are suffering, if you don’t fully understand the reasons for your suffering - that is, your past habits and erroneous assumptions which lead you to your suffering – and exert effort to change those habits and viewpoints, you will inevitably experience even more suffering. The key is to learn from your past mistakes. Of course not all suffering is self-inflicted, but a great deal of it is.
In junior year, my mistake was ignorance; basically, I didn’t know a thing about women. About a year ago, I contemplated my social behavior and realized I did not have social skills. But coming hand-in-hand with this realization was the next realization: that I could learn social skills!
So I watched YouTube videos, put myself in social situations (line dancing, always hanging out friends, going to the bars, going on dates) and tried to say YES to whatever came up. Now long story short, time has passed. Social skills can indeed be emulated, practiced, improved upon – with great results! ***
Then the circularity of time leads me back to where I had gotten stuck before. This time though, I was ready. Kissing her was like breaking through a barrier of my past. This is easy! All the work (and fun) is paying off!
***Meditation has been a huge component in application of social skills. Let me explain: meditation has been shown to increase the areas in the brain associated with compassion and empathy. Over the years, my consistent meditation practice has undoubtedly (not trying to sound arrogant here) helped my brain develop ‘mirror neurons’ which allows me to more readily experience another’s emotion. By being able to experience their emotions as my own (compassion) I am more able to form human-friendship bonds with that person. Improving one’s ability to connect with others is CRITICAL for developing social skills. Meditation has helped me greatly in this regard.