Today is April 17, 2022, and I'm going to be talking today, I guess the larger topic is how our thoughts and attitudes determine our experience. But I'm going to be focusing on a guy named William Irvine, who is a modern day 21st century Stoic -- practitioner of stoic philosophy. And a lot of interesting things that he has to say. He's a professor at Wright State University, I think it's a University, in Ohio. And he's, he's written a book or two and some essays and he was interviewed on the podcast, Hidden Brain with our friend Shankar Vedantam, Vedantam. And that sort of got me thinking about him and what he's talking about and thought it would be something good to look into. So that's what we're going to do.
Like I say, the larger the larger topic is, how thoughts and attitudes determine our experience. And I'm gonna dive into it starting with some conversation between William Irvine and Shankar vedantam. At the beginning of this particular podcast, they played a clip from the movie Groundhog Day, a lot of people's favorite movie. I remember reading something by the guy who one of the guys who produced the movie, and they said when it came out, all the Buddhists said, yeah, that's our movie. And I think some other people did, too. Yeah, just in case you're not familiar with it. Bill Murray plays a weatherman who goes down to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover Groundhog Day. And he's a fairly cynical, and bitter young guy. And he has a miserable time as he expects little self fulfilling prophecy. And then when he wakes up the next day, ready to get out of town he finds it's the same day, it's the day he thought he'd left. And he continues living that day over and over and over again. And it's amusing and it's insightful. And yeah, if you have never seen that movie, I would recommend it.
So Shankar vedantam says, So Bill, that's William Irvine. The comedy comes from the fact that as we watch from the outside, we can see how Phil's reaction to his own suffering. That's the Bill Murray character is actually making things worse, but he can't see it, Kenny. And William Irvine says, No, he can't. He's trapped. He hasn't figured it out. A lot of people actually haven't figured it out as well. A lot of us normal people, that much of the suffering we experience is due to our response to the events of our life.
That's a tragedy. You have one life to live, to spend it living the same day over and over when you have other options open, that's tragic. And Shankar vedantam says, I want to stay with this core insight for just a moment. All of us think that when the world hands us a lemon, when things go wrong, it's the world's fault. World is causing us to suffer. But I think a core insight that you just pointed out, was that our response to what the world hands us is as much a part of our suffering as what the world gives us. Can you talk about that for a moment? Then the professor replies, yeah, actually, our response is usually worse. Think about if somebody says something obnoxious to you. Those are just words. They're there and gone. What will cause you the agony is you dwelling on those words, thinking about those words? Replaying those words? I've known people older people in nursing homes, who had lost much of their memory dementia had said in the amazing thing was they could still remember and describe in detail, an annoying incident that happened decades ago. It just drills deep into your brain, and it has the power to poison your Life. That's what you got to look out for. Yeah, it's amazing how someone's offhand insult can just totally turn someone else's life upside down. When I was working as a nurse, maybe some 20 years ago or so, we had we would have on the floor I worked on it was an adolescent floor. We'd have kids in there with anorexia. And they had a whole protocol for those kids. And there was one young boy, he was, I don't know, maybe 12 or something. And he was, he was pretty deeply into it. The other nurses called him crunch boy, because when he was confined to his bed, that was one of the things they would do if you weren't gaining weight, they would just restrict all your activity, and you'd have to lie in bed, and then eat all the food they gave you and be observed. And it was a whole top down directive program that I guess worked. But anyway, he would lie in bed in a half sit up in the crunch position, just trying to exercise any way he could. And what got him going, I found from talking to him, was his older brother just called him fat one day, just you know, you fat. And that was it. He just was galvanized and he ended up with what's really a pretty serious addiction
so I'm gonna skip ahead here a bit
and Shankar vedantam is talking. He says, we've seen how our responses to setbacks can sometimes produce problems that compound the original setback. We can't always control what the world does to us. But in his book, The stoic challenge, philosopher William Irvine says there's a way to change how we respond to the world. In fact, when we look at many successful and well adjusted people, we see them practicing the very skills that could lead all of us to greater peace of mind. Then he turns to his to Gil Irvine and says, In your book, you tell the story of the astronaut Neil Armstrong. He's obviously famous for the moon landing. But you describe another incident involving him. Tell me that story and what lesson you drew from it. And they'll Irvine replies, yeah, in order to be able to land on the moon, they needed a lunar lander, and they needed to practice landing with it. So they did that on Earth. On multiple occasions, you would hover above the ground, maybe a few 100 feet. Very, very difficult vehicle to pilot. It's likened to try to trying to balance a dinner plate on the end of a broom handle. On one of the times they were testing it, Neil Armstrong headed up in the valve stuck in one of the thrusters, and the whole thing started tipping over sideways. When it became approximately a 90 degree angle, tipping over, he being a trained pilot, hit the ejector button blew off the lander and his parachute automatically opened, he drifted down safely to Earth. Meanwhile, the lander crashed into a big fireball. He had done no harm to himself physically. Other than I think he did his tongue when he hit the ground. So later on, he was back at the office complex filling out paperwork. As you can imagine, someone would have to do after crashing a lunar lander and fellow astronaut Alan Bean came along and saw him working their LNB and hadn't heard anything about any of this, but saw him working there and stuck his head in the office and said, Hey, Neil, are things going, you'll said, Hey, fine. So Alan being went on to talk to another astronaut and the other astronauts said, Did you hear what happened this morning? Needle crashed the lander. At that point, Elon Bing went back to Neil Armstrong and said, You crashed the lander. Neil said, oh, yeah, yeah, those are tippy things. And down it went and didn't have another thing to say about it. Astronauts so just imagine this life threatening thing. He went through it behaved like a hero, and didn't even think it was worth mentioning. He just bounced right back as if nothing had happened. And then they play a clip with Neil Armstrong and someone else interviewing him. And he says, that's true. I did. There was work to be done. I'm going to and then his suit. The reporter says you're all Almost killed. And Neil Armstrong says, Oh, but I wasn't. Shankar vedantam says, talk about low drama. And Irvine says, Yeah, talk about no drama. And yet, that's one approach you can take to things. It's history now. So let's move on and figure out what happens next. Then they move on to another story, a 13 year old surfer named Bethany Hamilton.
And he says it's instructive in that some people manage to stay relentlessly focused on the future would sort of qualify that as say, the present and the future, rather than fretting about the past. Tell me Bethany story, Bill. And he says, Yeah, Bethany Hamilton was a young surfer, very good surfer out surfing one day with a friend and there was was there waiting for the next big wave with her arm draped over the surfboard. On Sunday, suddenly, something hit her right arm. Before she knew it, she saw the flash of gray, she realized that it was a shark. And she realized that she was missing her right arm. instead of panicking, she made her way back to the shore. She was rushed to an emergency room. But what's of interest here is the way she responded to this tragedy. And then they play a clip of her speaking, saying, I think when you're faced with such incredible trials at such a young age, when she was 13 years old, you're just trying to find that light of hope, like, okay, what can I do? And Bill Irvine says, What did she do? She rose to the challenge. As soon as her doctor said, it's okay to get wet again. She went out and she taught herself again how to surf. Normally you use you use two hands pressing down, she only had one hand to push herself up to a standing position. She figured out how to do that. She also figured out a bunch of other things like how do you button a shirt? The answer is you don't you get shirts, you don't get shirts with buttons, there's a workaround for that. Then they go back to her speaking, I didn't need easy, I just needed possible. And then Shankar vedantam comes in. So we see something really strange and people like Neil Armstrong and Bethany Hamilton, when bad things happen to them. They not only don't react the way most of us do, they don't spend a lot of time wishing that the bad thing had not happened to them at all.
And I want to throw in an example of my own third person who was just astoundingly present focused and able to roll with life. And this is an account from our friend, Anthony de Mello.
And Demello says, What's this thing we call life? Take a look at the world and then I'll invite you to take a look at your own life. Take a look at the world poverty everywhere. I read in the New York Times recently that the bishops of the United States claimed that there are 33 million people in the United States who are living below the poverty line. Distinction drawn by the government itself. If you think that is poverty, you want to go to other countries and see the squalor, the dirt, the misery, you call that life? Well, I've got news for you. I can show you life even there. About 12 years ago, I was introduced to a rickshaw puller in Calcutta. It's awful. I mean, a human being riding in a rickshaw you don't have a horse pulling you you've got a human being pulling you. The lifespan of these poor men is from 10 to 12 years once they start pulling the rickshaw. They don't last very long. They get tuberculosis. They die quickly. Now Ramchandra that was his name. Ramchandra had TB. At that time, there was a small group of people engaging in an illegal activity involving exporting skeletons. The government eventually caught on to them. But you know what they used to do? They bought your skeleton when you were still alive. If you were very poor, you went to them. And you sold your skeleton for the equivalent of about $10 So these people would ask the rickshaw pullers How long have you been working in the street and someone like Ram Chandra would say 10 years and these buyers would think he doesn't have much longer to live. All right, here's your money. Then the moment one of these men died, they would pounce on the body they would take it away. And then when the body had decomposed through some process they have they would take hold of the skeleton Ramchandra had sold his skeleton, that's how poor he was. He had a wife, he had kids he had the squalor, the poverty, the misery, the uncertainty. You never think to find happiness there, right? It nothing seemed to faze him. He was alright. Nothing seemed to upset him. I said to him, Aren't you upset? He said about what? You know, the future, the future of the kids. He said, Well, I'm doing the best I can. But the rest is in the hands of God. I said, Hey, but what about your sickness that causes suffering, doesn't he? He said a bit. We got to take life as it comes. I never once saw him in a bad mood. But as I was talking to this guy, I suddenly realized I was in the presence of a mystic. I suddenly realized I was in the presence of life. He was right there. He was alive. I was dead. Remember those lovely words of Jesus? Look at the birds of the air. Look at the flowers in the field. They don't so they don't spin. They don't have a moment of anxiety for the future. Not like you. He was right here. I know that rickshaw puller must be dead by now. I met him very briefly in Calcutta, and then went on to where I live now farther south in India. What happened to that guy? I don't know. But I know I'd met a mystic, extraordinary person. He discovered life. He rediscovered it. Believe that moment that interview or that encounter, at a tremendous effect on Anthony de Mello. I think a lot of what he was able to do later, just came from the experience of meeting that guy.
So that's by way of introduction, just the possibility we're all aware of, that people can meet life with equanimity, can focus on what they can actually do and not and what's happened to them can avoid playing the victim, void, bitterness, despondency, all those things that we struggle to do. And I guess what William Irvine is preaching is that we can learn to do a bit of that ourselves. We can all get better at living. He wrote an essay, stepping out of the interview right now. Back in 2010. Entitled 21st century stoic from Zen to Zeno. I became a stoic because you know, of course, is one of the stoics says I never intended to become a stoic who, after all, were the stoics. They were those grim wooden figures of ancient Greece and Rome, whose goal it was to stand mutely and take whatever the world could throw at them, right. About a decade though, I began a research project on human desire. The goal of the project was to write a book on the subject. So hyperlink to no doubt to some place, you can buy the book. But I also had a hidden agenda in conducting my research, I was contemplating becoming a Zen Buddhist, and wanting to learn more about it before taking the leap. But the more I learned about Zen, the less it attracted me You know, I debated whether to read this, but But it brings up some really interesting points. So I'm gonna said practicing Zen would require me to suppress my analytical abilities, something I found it quite difficult to do. Well, it's true, you don't necessarily use those analytical abilities when you're sitting on the mat. But I hope nobody here misunderstands and practice to think that we don't use the mind for what it's good for. Anyway, says another off putting aspect of Zen was that the moment of enlightenment it dangled before its practitioners was by no means guaranteed, practices and for decades and you might achieve enlightenment, or you might not, it would be tragic, I thought, to spend the remaining decades of my life pursuing a moment of enlightenment that never came. Zen doubtless works for some people, but for me, the Fit wasn't good. Well again, this is a fundamental misunderstanding, there is nothing more difficult, more more disruptive to practice than than a goal oriented guy to get enlightenment type of attitude. It is it is nevertheless the fact that enlightenment is a human possibility everyone has this nature and some people you know through hard work or and good fortune, and you know on just the way things fall out, may have a glimpse may see into their true self. And that's a great benefit. But to focus your judgment of your practice of Zen on whether or not you've had this experience is a mistake. So much that comes out of sincere wholehearted practice. Many people who maybe never have had that experience, whose practice is sounder whose life is solid or whose equanimity is greater than others who have had an awakening experience.
And for some people, the possibility of seeing into who they are, is a real motivation for practice. And, and you just, you just have to keep your head on straight. But anyway, some people are definitely Zen is not the path for them. And I imagine it's probably the case with Bill Irvine. However, things worked out for him, he said, then something quite unexpected happened. As part of my research, I investigated what ancient philosophers had to say about desire, and among them were the Stoic philosophers, people like Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and Epictetus, who about whom I knew little, as I read them, I discovered that they were quite unlike I imagined they would be. Indeed, it soon became apparent that everything I knew about the stoics was wrong. They were neither grim nor wooden. If anything, the abject adjective that I thought describe them best, was buoyant, or maybe even cheerful. And without consciously intending to do so. I found myself experimenting with stoic strategies for daily living.
you elaborate on that at the end of the essay says I hope I have persuaded readers that the ancient stoics were not stoical in the modern sense of the word. They were not as the dictionary puts it, seemingly indifferent, or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure or pain. In fact, the phrase joyful stoic is not the oxymoron it might seem to be.
So I'm going to come back to the podcast to Shankar vedantam and Bill Irvine, and run through some of the strategies that he's talking about that stoic philosophy suggests, for those of us who are negotiating the inevitable difficulties suffering of life living in a human body.
And Shankar vedantam says, you spent decades reading about and trying to emulate some of the greatest philosophers who ever lived. I'm wondering if you can tell me the story of Masoni as Rufus. I understand he ran afoul of an emperor and was banished to a desolate island, but survived it in some ways by drawing on the same philosophical tradition that has informed your own life. And Irvine says, yeah, the Stoic philosophers had an unfortunate tendency to get in trouble with the powers that be and to be banished by them. Sidenote, there's a lot of great Zen masters who had the same thing happened, who were banished, sometimes to areas with a great deal of malaria. He says So several of the most famous stoic spent time banished, you get sent off to an island and the island that they sent Masoni us to was one of the particularly bad islands, the Greek island of euros and the Aegean Sea. It's described as a desolate rock. He went there and discovered that it wasn't uninhabited that there were a handful of fishermen who had figured out a way to make a living there. So what he did, he spent his time on the island studying the island, found a new spring on the island that the locals didn't know about. He was visited from time to time on the island by his students, and they thought they were coming to cheer him up. He would cheer them up when they got there and listen to their problems. Because what did he do? He did what he could with what he had where he was. He was the target of injustice, and he had refused to play the role of a victim of injustice. It's a different mindset altogether. A victim might wallow in self pity, a target rises and thinks, what am I going to do next in order to minimize the harm that this targeting has done to me.
Then they start going into some of the techniques some of the strategies
he says the first bit of stoic advice and this comes from the Sonia student, Epictetus, one of the four great Roman Stoic philosophers, the advice is, don't spend your time thinking about things you have no control over. Because you can't control them. It's a waste of time. You should instead spend that time thinking very carefully about things you do have control over, including your values. Then there's this interesting middle category. And that's the category of things you have some, but not complete control over. One analogy I use is preparing for a tennis match. You can't control how hard your opponent practices you can't control the weather conditions on the day of the match. But there are things you can control. Like how hard you train, like the strategy you come up with for doing the match. That's what you should be focusing on.
Let me take a bit of a side trip here. When a stoic is finished, when whatever he was preparing for his over, he won't judge himself on the basis of whether he won or lost. He'll judge himself on whether he did the most with what he had available to him. If he did that, that success, because that's all he could do. Drunk to measure success by some higher standard is sheer lunacy. Of course, this brings to mind the serenity prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can wisdom to know the difference. said before this was my mantra, after I got into AAA, stop drinking. Such a relief to take yourself off the hook for results. Results are not our business. It's true in Zen practice, it's true in every aspect of life. Keep your attention on the things that are for you to do.
And Shankar vedantam says, The second technique that Missoni has practiced on this island, was to remind himself that things could have been much worse. Why did he do this? And what did he do? And Irvine says, this is a phenomenon known as anchoring, whatever situation you're in, is it good or bad? Well, it depends. Depends on what it depends on what you're comparing it to. For instance, we've gone through this COVID pandemic, I've been asked by many people. So what would a stoic do under the circumstances? I suggested, one of the things they would do is this game of anchoring. And they would think about how things could be worse. It's interesting, because my students said, No, this is as bad as things get. College students, what do they know? And I tell them the story of the Blitz in London during World War Two, and then they play clips of the Blitz, because, you know, it's hidden brain and that's what they do. He says, where it was, it wasn't that you were locked in your into your apartment, it was that you had to leave your apartment every night, go to a subway tunnel and sleep with 300 strangers on the ground, get up the next morning and go back to your apartment in the hopes that it hadn't been bombed into rubble the night before.
Once you put the it into that frame, then you start thinking, you know, this isn't so bad after all. And of course, there's so many examples of situations that are worse one of them, which is playing out for the people of the Ukraine of Ukraine right now. That does help. There's a tendency to just get blinders on when something goes wrong, and focus completely on how bad the situation is. So if you can just Get a little bit of distance. And that's what this technique allows you to do. And just realize, okay, you know, this sort of stuff I've had worse things happen to me. Other people have certainly had worse, worse things happen. Gives you somewhere to start from. Then Shankar says the third technique that was Sonia said other Stoic philosophers have recommended is to learn self control through occasional acts of self denial. What do they mean by this bill? And he says, This is what I call stoic training. I like to think of it in terms of your immune system. We all know about our biological immune system. What does it do? Well, it fights off germs, it fights off viruses. The interesting thing is, unless you develop your biological immune system, it's not going to function properly. I know a pediatrician, and I asked him about whether children should be exposed to dirt. And his answer was, yeah, kid should eat a pound of dirt. Well, not in a single city. But you know what, if the kid is walking around the house and wants to suck on the table, let them suck on the table, get pets, the pets are going to be dirty, that's good. Because you want him to develop his biological immune system. The stoics didn't think in these terms, because they didn't know about immune systems, but it's a nice parallel, you have an emotional immune system, but you need to train it, the way you train it is by experiencing things that are going to make you unhappy. Or we can say by doing things that you don't want to do, by by having a set of values and holding yourself to them living up to them, even when it's not convenient to do so. He says, You go out of your way to experience those things just because doing so will develop your emotional immune system, I would, I would say, it's not necessary to go out of your way those things will come to you don't worry about it. So So think about somebody who lives in a palace, which of course makes me think about the Buddha. Before he left home, think about somebody who never has anything go wrong. All it will take as a smallest little setback. And that person is going to be a basket case. Well, not the Buddha, but think about somebody instead who is always going out and trying to do things that are going to make him physically uncomfortable, that are going to make him emotionally uncomfortable, present that person with a challenge of some kind, and they're going to take it in their stride.
Right one of the real virtues of sesshin is how difficult it is I think people who have gone to a number of sessions develop a strength, especially if you can go into it and not spend your time fighting it. If you can, if you can really commit and stay in the moment, stay in the present. Just take it round by round moment by moment. There's a tremendous strength that comes out of that.
They go on and mentioned some other strategies. See, I'm going to have trouble getting everything in here.
But I want to go on to one that's really interesting to me anyway. And it's working with the Dyna gap. Shankar vedantam. Introduces it. He said, we've talked at length on hidden brain in various episodes, about the phenomenon of the hedonic treadmill, which is you have wonderful things happen to you good things come into your life, and very quickly, we get habituated to them and we fail to see them for what they are. We start to take them for granted. How would a stoic accentuate the positive especially when the positive is round her all the time when she's seeing it all the time. And Bill Irvine says, Yeah, so a stoic understands they didn't use this term for it. But they understand the hedonic treadmill, I like to rephrase it as the gap theory of happiness. A lot of people are unhappy, because they recognize the existence of a gap between what they have and what they want. And they're convinced that happiness will come to them only if they can raise that one level, and get the thing they want. This is definitely something we all see play out in our lives, we postpone our present happiness to get whatever it is we want. Once we get it, as he points out here, in fact, it's true, they're happy for a while for a few minutes for an hour for days. And then they're right back where they were before. Because they discovered that there's another level that's even higher. I maybe quibble with that. And say, you don't need to discover another level, you just get used to whatever you've gotten, you've got a new job, you've got a new partner, you've finally had children, whatever you've been looking for looking for it, now you've got it. And pretty soon you just settle down. And that's the given, that's normal. They've done studies. And they find with any kind of event, whether it's negative or positive, the effect on one's happiness is completely gone within about three months, almost always say the only way for that not to happen is if it's a negative event, and you keep thinking about it again, and again, something like you end up with something like PTSD. Almost always human beings being resilient, will adjust to the new level. He says the insight which the stoics had, and by the way the Buddhists had, and there have been a number of groups in history have had the same insight is that there's a second way to close the gap. What you have to do is learn how to want what you already have. Because then there's no gap to close. You're already there. Okay, but how do you accomplish that? The stoics said, You do these certain exercises, the certain psychological strategies, so that you can convince yourself to want the things that you already have? Well, he's kind of gone off in a different tangent than we take in, in Zen Buddhism, probably does help to reflect on how good you've got it, and how much worse things could be, in order to be more content with things as they are. But the other side of it is, we need to realize what we have. Usually our problem is that we're just overlooking how amazing our lives are. Overlooking the miracle of this moment.
He does. He does a lot of things to help himself appreciate the moment, some of it is negative visualization, he imagined something that he really loves being gone, which is also a Buddhist practice, looking into the nature of impermanence. So one of his habits is to reflect on what would happen if his wife were to die. Or if you have a child if your child dies. So then when you think that way, when you reflect on that, all of a sudden, the next time you with your wife or with your child, there's an appreciation that comes, you stop taking it for granted. So it really is a mental exercise that apparently the stoics did. And I think it's I think it's a good one. He says that from time to time, he'll be doing that and his wife knows what he's doing it because you'll call out from the back room. Thank you for existing
Another thing he mentions is just reflecting on the fact that the sky is blue. Sky is such a beautiful blue, so many different colors. Why is it that way? It's just amazing. It reminded me when I read that of a time I was driving back from Madison, having gone to a four day session, and just flying I was in a great frame of mind and the sky was so beautiful clouds moving through it. And being a competitive person, I looked around the other drivers and notice that they all seem to be stewing about something or other. There are a whole bunch of us speeding at about 80 miles an hour through Indiana. And I just thought yeah, look gets right here. Why don't you see it. And then, an hour or two later, as I was driving through Ohio, I realized I was totally out of tune with everything around me and in some sort of mental fog. But it's always there. Our life is always there available for us to wake up to it.
There's one other technique he uses. This is kind of an interesting one. He imagines that there are stoic gods that are devising trials for him. So say he's in an airport and his plane gets canceled. I guess this actually happened to him. He reframes it as Okay, I see what they're doing the store gods are trying to toughen me up, get me ready for the big game. And I'm up for this, I can handle this. And it's it's really interesting psychologically, how just framing it that way can enable you to deal with something that everyone else around you is yelling at the people at the counter or fretting about how they're going to get wherever they're going, if you can just take a look at and say, okay, you know, I've been put into the game, this is what I need to do. And I'll just do my best I can just channel a little bit of Ramchandra. Or Neil Armstrong.
The one thing that I think, isn't there, in this approach, the stoic approach is the ability to really tune in to your own suffering, the ability to bring your curiosity to it, you would you discover this in such sheen, if you're dealing with physical pain, that when you turn your mind to the pain without having that agenda of, I gotta find a way to make it go away or have to find some way to survive until the bell rings, if you actually can sort of let go of that, and just have some curiosity about it. Just what happens, when I look at this completely, when I take it in completely, find amazing things can happen. And that approach is maybe what next level up, sort of the Buddhist approach, not running away from it, but actually running into it.
All of these approaches, stoic Buddhist, whatever works best when you're not trying to use them as a way to get out of suffering.
Takes it takes commitment. As long as you think there's some way out, you know, I can game the system, I can use this one cool technique, doctors hate this one cool technique, then it's far less likely to work, you can see that with people trying to work with anxiety. You know, one of the things that can really help is just to tune into the body, see what's going on, see where the tension is in your chest without trying to make it go away. Maybe the little sort of bad feeling in the pit of your stomach nervousness or whatever, to really experience that instead of looking away. But if you do that, as a way to make your anxiety Abate, it doesn't work. Certainly doesn't work as well. It's hard working with the mind. It's not there is no there is no one cool technique that eliminates all problems. But there is practice. There is taking setbacks as opportunities, understanding that we're we're not working just to get out of trouble in this moment. But to find a way to as Bill Irvine says, to strengthen our emotional immune system. Out of that, anyone who works at this in whatever way who really puts their mind to it, who tries to live up to what they value. Out of that comes people who are abuse. People who can relieve the suffering of others sometimes sort of bring joy into a situation where other people might have trouble finding it. so helpful to be doing this if you're raising kids in a relationship, just working with others.
I regret that there's so much more here than I can possibly get to. Believe it or not, I had one or two other people that I wanted to bring in. But our time is definitely up. We will stop now and recite the four vows