Spiritual teacher Ram Dass nails it when he says, If you think you're enlightened, go spend a week with your parents. There you have it: the good, bad, and the ugly. I say, stir up that pot; To achieve emotional freedom, you want to disentangle yourself from their worst traits and embody the best. Who you are emotionally often reflects who your parents are. I am not easily unmoored. Despite all this--my years of experience, my confidence in handling situations that might fluster or terrify people with less training--the masturbation had its desired effect. It threw me. It shifted the power dynamic. Although these men were in cages, I was the one who felt as though I could not escape. BOTH OF THESE THINGS are true. The classroom with ten deeply human men. Their fraught trajectories. Their palpable regret. Their vulnerability with one another. Imagine flying in a plane that loses its electrical system. The pilot has no clue about his altitude, speed, direction, or the obstacles that lie ahead. Those who are cut off from their feelings will enter destructive relationships with no intuitive sense that something's wrong. They wind up getting hurt in love or work because they never saw the problem coming. God has built feelings into us from birth.

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I'd see the little bemused, but not so amused, faces of the members of the audience the moment the show began.

They didn't know when to laugh or cry, because many of my people in America (I know this from my childhood) don't know that you can do both at the same time. I knew how, because that's how I lived: by crying and laughing at the same time. It's a skill set I've always had and, fortunately, when I got to the UK I realized it had a name: irony. In retrospect, I should have held up signs during my performance reading: This is funny' andThis isn't funny. One thing was certain: the show wasn't going well either. We can do so much better, but our success requires that we become more inwardly discerning, as this next insight reveals. If we look closely, the following will become self-evident: There is something at work within us that is stealing our peace; Our glad task is to unmask its cunning nature. To help set the record straight, and to ensure that we reach the right conclusion, haven't we assumed most of our lives that this thief of peace was that insensitive person who hurt us, that memory from our past that still causes us pain, or that hope that was shattered by an uncooperative event? Of course, this is the way we see it! As human beings we form relationships and then, when the form or dynamic of these relationships change, as they must, we blame these unwanted changes for our loss of peace. Such behavior is like getting mad at the wind that catches our hat and whisks it away. Our sense of lost peace, along with feeling the loss of one's freedom that was tied to it, has never had anything to do with peace withdrawing or withholding its goodness from us. What we must see is that such a sense of loss is inescapable as long as we accept the limitations of our present nature as being the extent of our possibilities. Its only peace is a derivative one--a borrowed sensation taken by identifying itself with passing forms, be they things or thoughts about them. She ran after them, shouting that she had prepared coffee for them. They thought she was crazy and kept walking. Inspired by her story, I thought I should go back to basics and become kind. searched the web and came across a movement called Random Acts of Kindness. As I read through their web forums, I noted down some of their ideas:

Today you are going to treat yourself and talk to yourself with kindness and love. Take the time to think of someone who could use your well-wishes and offer them. Try saying Thank You at least ten times a day--direct five to yourself and five toward the world. I was sitting in the kitchen reading through their advice when I looked out the window. A construction worker was in the courtyard of my apartment complex, sawing. While growing up, it's frequently monkey see, monkey do. For better or worse, you emulate your parents' virtues and faults. If your mother was anxious or a worrywart, chances are she transmitted some of that to you. If your father was a bastion of hope, that came through too. In addition, you may contain interesting dualities of both parents. For example, my mother was a people person, my father more a loner. I have both in me, and I've learned to embrace each. You can do likewise with the dualities you've inherited. Sometimes, in an attempt to be different from your parents, you may develop completely opposite emotional coping styles. example, if your mother was an inveterate nagger, you may shun all confrontation. the fact that some of these men--perhaps many--have done evil things. As I sit in the classroom with the men and their timelines, none of them feel evil to me. As I stand in the center of Division 10 amid jeers and shouts and men with jerking arms, none of them feel vulnerable to me. What differentiates the men who write their timelines, who regulate their breathing, from those who throw urine and expose themselves and try to unnerve me? The answer lies in part in the fact that existing within Division 10--or any of the countless places like it in our correctional facilities across the country--would destabilize any sane person.