Ulterior goal affects the experience

March 11, 2015

If I am merciful with the goal of having others show mercy towards me, I will have a quite different experience from the experience I will have if I am merciful for the sake of being merciful.  I think the latter gives rise to more peace within the person, more openness, and less baggage that gets in the way.  Of course, it’s a whole other situation if the situation from the get-go was entered into on the understanding that there would be reciprocity.  And it’s a (different) whole other situation if the situation once entered into is clearly one in which reciprocity is the norm and hence to be expected.  (In addition, if person A has no ability to be merciful, it also doesn’t mean, it seems to me, that they will not be shown mercy.)

Pace Rohr.  Or maybe I’ve misunderstood what he’s saying.

I just think it is too limiting to think of being merciful while one is thinking about whether others will show one mercy.  They may not, but that, I think, is a separate issue, to be dealt with, but not in terms of whether one is oneself merciful;  the decision, to the extent it is a decision, to be merciful has more to do with one’s own capacity, in general and in the specific situation, it seems to me.

My meager understanding of religions is that Hindus are more oriented towards an open-ended attitude than Buddhists or Christians are, who seem to tie together one’s own doings with their possible consequences.


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