October 13, 2018, Prescott-
Obligations are things one takes on, in order to please other people. They could become passions, which are those things one takes on out of sincere spirit and pure love. Parenthood, spouseship and a sane and intelligent patriotism are examples of the latter.
In this life, however, there are obligations each of us take on, which raise the person to whom we feel obliged to the status of superior, or master. Unless one feels passionate about the activity in which s(he) or he is involved, the obligation becomes a false one. Many holiday celebrations, for example, become empty rote activities- none of them memorable. Going to the place of employment, for all too many people, is an empty obligation. Even having a conversation, if there is no passion, involves putting on the mask of caring, almost a political and vapid exercise. It fools no one, except, perhaps, oneself.
I have been in the process of shedding obligations, for the past seven years. Marriage was an act of living love, and never felt like an empty obligation. There were plenty of moments of misunderstanding, but the passion did not disappear. Fatherhood is an act of living love, even when miscommunication and physical distance seem to create a sense of discord. The passion does not disappear.
Working with children and youth is an act of living love, even when their behaviour seems to be enough to drive one to the edge of insanity. The passion cannot disappear.
Growing as a spiritual being is the greatest of passions- otherwise I would likely dissipate as a person. This means two things: Do not filter communication, no matter how seemingly drawn out it may be. Presence is a burden, when viewed in the least obligatorily. It can only be viewed, from a passionate viewpoint, by not filtering the subject presenting self, in any way. This requires being totally non-judgmental, as to what is worthy of one’s attention and to what is trifling or frivolous. How many wars have been started, and fought, because of a perceived or real slight?
So, as I look at obligations, great and small, and bring those that matter to the level of passion-I must chance the burning of the masks of obligation, that I may show the real face that comes with passion.
NEXT: The Mask of Self-Disdain