On the Relationship Between Forgiveness and Attachment
It is the quandary of my life that I've been so respected by so many musical big-shots in the professional world, yet have never become a big-shot myself. I look at the level of talent that fills the number one spot in any of the areas where I have expertise (mainly violin, conducting, and composition, but also in the important realm of teaching), and I say to myself, “I can do that, I can sound like that! Why is it not recognized that I deserve the same respect that these people enjoy?”
The answer always comes resounding back out of the void in great black cartoon letters, spoken by the voice of grandmother God, “YOUR PERSONALITY SUCKS!!!”
“oh,” I say.
I get so much thought to this problem, and have so many times stubbornly set my heels in the dirt against the pull of change, I thought I must ever remain frustrated and cursed by a character flaw that I was powerless to transcend. Of the many things upheld against my father, his total failure to nurture a talent in his son that he really couldn't comprehend in the slightest, I blame my father for this personality trait because it is the exact same trait that plagued him all the time I knew him, and that eventually brought them down to the lowest possible professional level, that of a janitor. The short temper, the egocentricity, the always thinking I'm always right, the reveling in being the oddball, the superior attitude to the world, these all came from him. I loved and respected my father, and imitated him so well that it brought about our alienation and loss of contact. It is a terrible thing to have what you have had thought were significant gifts, and watch the world pass you by, and all because you can't control your obnoxious behavior in public or at home.
The big argument I kept coming back to over and over when I was refusing to adopt certain social conventions that might have made be more accessible to many, was that my best qualities in teaching and conducting are my spontaneity, my honesty, my caring enough to get personal right away; I thought if I started acting fake I would cheapen and deaden my aesthetic sensitivities--it would be like constantly feeling everybody's hands all over me, chains! chains! I've actually got better with the polite clichés recently, but the central problem remains, the central problem remains, the central problem remains.
I believe it must start with envy--coveting my neighbor's goods--the first ugly entangling vines from the seed of ATTACHMENT. I am in need of security, I'm in need of freedom from the fear of death, that my life will have net something, and I am so ATTACHED to the transitory delights of the physical world that I begin to interpret success in terms of material accomplishments. This leads to holding a grudge against the wall for not giving me what I deserve, starting at the top with the publishers didn't publish me, and the colleges that didn't hire me, straight down to the janitor who works in this crummy shithole where I work, where they are so desperate they have to hire me because nobody from Juilliard would touch this job.
What a realization! I am treating store clerks and secretaries like shit because I never got published!
I have started a campaign my life to forgive the world for not appreciating me and mistreating me. “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Why not let them know what they do, let them know the person they are screwing by spreading vicious gossip, or forming step judgments that don't change for the next 10 years. Let yourself like people! Let yourself “give as before”. There is no ultimate value to any of the things we do on this earth, so why let attachment to a false value screw up your play time here in Eden?
The enormous pressure of pent-up tension and anger is released through the power of forgiveness. By letting go of my personal desire for fame I am thus able to forgive the world for not giving me fame, and am thereby made free to love and cherish the spiritual, the non-transitory realities of life. If I put myself in God's hands and trust Him to realize my potential at His leisure, I am happier, more confident, more powerful, more powerful, and even better equipped to create and handle success for myself than ever before.
It is with this revised attitude I enter the new year. It is my sincere desire to remain a small part of your life. In any case we are sure to catch up with one another in the next life.