Thursday, 30 June 2011

Observing greed

I feel the need to post about this subject as it's something I frequently observe in life.

People who have money often want more. Some people have so much money that they don't know what to do with it. Instead of investing in something worthwhile, they'll whittle it away on useless luxuries. What eventually happens is these people see only themselves and things that they want. They fail to see others in need.. A memory springs to mind:

As I walk down the street appreciating the air I breathe and the nature around me, I suddenly see a ghastly sight. A woman walking briskly with a paper coffee cup in her hand, trailing behind her is a puny little man overloaded with shopping bags and his girlfriend's designer handbag. She tosses the paper cup in the gutter and tells him to hurry up as she has more shopping to do. Both of them are completely oblivious to everyone else around them, they are in their own little bubble.

I've particularly observed scenes of this nature during fasting periods or times when I've had little money. I haven't felt jealous of these people at all but merely pity. I'd rather walk by a lake and appreciate the wind blowing in my hair, than walk by a glass window looking at bags made from animal skin..

Just the other week I observed someone order an enormous slice of cake only to eat about a quarter of it. I could have bought two if I'd wanted but I wasn't hungry and am certainly not greedy. Buying just for the sake of it, because you have the money and want people to see that you can afford luxuries really is a sad sight. Materialistic society arouses greed so that people spend money and will never be contented with what they have. There is always something better or more delicious than what was the most delicious yesterday.
"I'll have the chocolate cake today as I had the cheesecake yesterday"
Of course, on my travels I’ve also met some very selfless people. I’ve been to some very poor areas where people have invited me into their homes and offered me food (possibly their only meal of the day.) These generous people, with not an ounce of greed in their body, have wanted nothing in return for their generosity except a smile.

Perhaps it takes someone to lose everything to appreciate what they have. In the past, I have lived with next to no money, I have been very ill to the point where I thought I was going to die. So much so that when I earned money and regained my health I appreciated the life I have.

"That which observes greed is not greed: that which is greed cannot observe itself, but that which is not greed can observe itself."
- Buddha wisdom

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Lies and betrayal

There are a number of subjects I'd like to write about in the next couple of posts. Seeing as I live in the land of lies, I figured I'd start with the topic of lies and betrayal.

In just 33 years of my life so far, I've seen so much, been through so much and learnt lots of things about people and the world. I dread to think how many times I've been lied to in those 33 years. Living in a country where it's common practice to lie to save face can be tough for someone who has issues trusting people. Of course, people all around the world lie for a variety of reasons but some lies are more damaging or hurtful than others..

When I think of the topic of lies and betrayal, one life experience always springs to mind. It all started one night when I was at a house party with a friend. I hardly drank any alcohol but became increasingly drowsy and eventually passed out. The next morning my friend and I awoke, as I got up from the bed I noticed that my tights were ripped to shreds. We left the house and tried to piece together the jigsaw that made the picture of the party, however, both our memories were very hazy. The following two days I felt awful, unfortunately as I started to recover flashbacks also came. The memories assured me that more than one person had raped me and that my friend was present.

From conversations I had with the friend, we both remembered drinking from the same green drink that had been given to us by a guy. It seems we were both drugged. I reported it to the police and I was relying on my key witness and friend who was with me the whole night at the party. However, I was shocked to discover that she told the police she had no recollection of being given a drink and couldn't remember the house address. I felt so betrayed and alone and couldn't believe she had lied to the police. She was covering up the fact that she'd been seeing the guy who hosted the party even though she had a boyfriend. So I took it upon myself to call her boyfriend and tell him the truth, someone had to tell him. Of course, he was shocked by her betrayal.

I later had a flashback that wasn't pleasant at all. It involved me lying on the bed and people doing things to me that I hadn't consented to. However, I was so out of it and I physically couldn't move my body. Inside I was yelling for them to stop but the only voice I heard was that of my so-called friend saying, "I really don't think you should be doing that to my friend, she isn't even conscious." I felt paralysed after the realisation that she was not only a liar but also a traitor. Of course, I never spoke to her again, she wasn't a friend.

Trusting people isn't easy for anyone but when you've been through experiences like the one mentioned it's very hard to trust anyone at all. Many people in this world have hidden agendas. Some people pretend to be your friend for personal or financial gain. Others use you for a while then throw you away like a scrap piece of paper.

Of course, some friends are wonderful and I'm lucky to have some trustworthy friends who I'll cherish forever. In times of dire need, it's true friends who have been there for me and I'll never forget that. I'd rather have one good, honest friend than 10 who are a bunch of liars.