Dear Inner Circle,

A seething ball of anger sat with me yesterday. Often if you listen long enough, some of the steam dissipates and it becomes possible to look at things from more than one angle. Not this time. The longer we spent together, the more the pressure built. If I could have given a month to this bloke, he’d have gladly told me how the world dished to him injustice from the moment of his birth. He spent all of his time telling me how alone he was and how bad people never seem to face justice. The man had no sense that I was with him. The conversation presupposed that I would not understand and if given long enough, I too would become one of the many who would dish out injustice and never have to face consequences for my behaviour. We didn’t meet. I witnessed a monumental mistake from close range. Somewhere the man had decided he was on his own. He couldn’t begin to see that his act denied the intimacy of everything! I tried to tell him that I was patiently waiting to meet him but that he’d have to step out of his solitary cell (‘the self’) and come to meet me. It is not just I who wait, but the whole universe. The magnolia tree at the front of our building is waiting patiently for him. The sky, the ocean, the wind and perhaps many people in this world, are patiently waiting. I wondered if he had ever stared in wonder at the stars or the vastness of an ocean or the beauty of a child, long enough for the universe to compete with, or perhaps temporarily crowd out, his solo commentary. To feel abandoned may be the worst of all crimes because it constructs a ‘self’ that doesn’t exist. How can we do battle with a ghost?

Another meeting on the same day had a better outcome. The cranky man had plenty of money and assets. He had a family although he saw them as aligned with everyone else in the world except himself. The second fellow owned nothing and had no money. He’d wasted an inheritance on indulgence on a grand scale. It’s hard to believe how much money can be wasted in a relatively short time. He ran away from his family in order to indulge himself without any restraint. In a far away place, he thought he was alone and that there was no witness to his mighty and trivial transgressions. What a mistake! What a waste! In his place of escape, he also constructed a ‘self’ that didn’t exist. This self-entitled ghost was only challenged when the money ran out, along with the kind friends that run out when the money is gone. The journey of self-indulgence began with a tragic mistake. He believed he was alone and he constructed a ‘self’ that might as well take whatever comforts were available. The more he took, the emptier he got. He spoke to me about heading back to his country of origin and his family as if it was the last throw of the dice. My guess is that someone at home is probably waiting patiently. If he actually gets home, he’ll return a better man than he was before he ever left. Now that he sees the emptiness of the entitled ‘self’ he constructed, he may find love. If he can step toward those who love him, he may find what was always present. There is more hope for this bloke than for the fellow who had committed no such indulgences but seethed with anger toward anyone who wasn’t up to his standard, which turned out to be everyone.

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