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  • ahckuh louiseen vahduh chouzher

    Literally, the eye never wishes the light bad.

    This proverb conveys a profound meaning. One should always wish well those persons who are supplying essential goods and services for one’s own existence. Never take for granted the helping hand of others or never bite the hands that feeds you.

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  • Misinformation that leads to misconception is the real enemy of every individual. Believing an untruth and acting with the conviction that it is true results in misery and deception. The fundamental misconception of life is incorrectly identifying oneself. “Who am I” is the question that begs our attention. It can haunt us throughout life unless we awaken to the truth of our identity.

    Life can be summarized as the search for self-identity. A young boy who attends school may decide to wear a baseball hat. The conventional way to put on the hat is with the stiff brim (visor or bill) facing forward. After some time, the hat may be put on backwards with the brim facing the opposite way. Another way to wear the hat is to put it on sideways with the brim covering one ear. Sometimes the hat is tipped downward and put on a diagonal with the brim facing toward the feet and almost falling off the head. Each position of the hat corresponds to an identity for the young boy. When the brim faces forward, it indicates that the boy is straight or living a conventional life as a good citizen and a baseball fan. If the hat is put on backwards, the boy is unconventional, a sort of protester of modern social norms. The hat put on sideways is a sign of some connection with a gang. When tipped on a diagonal and almost falling off the head, the hat indicates that the boy is a “dork,” a jerk or fool. Gangster rappers will also don the hat tipped forward and on a diagonal almost falling off.

    The progression of the hat’s position on the boy’s head can take a period of several weeks to several years. The variation indicates how the boy is identifying himself. He can also change his clothing style, language, music preference, food, walking postures, facial and hand signals, and sexual habits, etc. Moving the hat is a sign of cultural shift and personal identification of the boy. Eventually the boy can throw away the baseball hat and don other headgear that becomes a symbol of a new identity based on the external social influences that impress him. He also chooses to associate with acquaintances of the same inclination. He may get rid of all hats and shave his head or let his hair grow and make dreadlocks. Each external appearance indicates an internal decision to identify with a particular social group. Most people go through many stages of experimental self-identification during their lifetime.

    Unfortunately, the experimentation for self-identification is almost exclusively done by associating oneself with objects or concepts that are external designations that are temporary and subject to change and destruction. Absorbing oneself in external designations, one encounters much frustration and struggle. There was once a woman who purchased a new Lexus. As she drove out of the dealership a VW van painted with rainbow colors smashed into the new Lexus and caused considerable damage. By chance, the woman was not physically injured. She sprang out of the damaged car and began to scream in rage.

    “Why the hell did you run into my new car! I just pulled out of the Lexus dealership. Give me your insurance papers. Your insurance company will pay for all this damage to my car.”
    “I’m sorry lady, but I don’t have insurance. I can’t afford it,” said the young man with the dreadlocks.
    The lady screamed, “Damn fool! You are good for nothing dope head!”

    Although the lady was not physically injured herself, she seemed to be in an extreme state of pain and frustration. Why was the lady so distressed and pained? What part of her was affected by the accident that damaged her car? If a person has a toothache, they can point to the exact spot where it hurts. The swollen or sore gums or the decayed tooth with an exposed nerve is easy to identify. Where was the lady hurting? She was not physically injured. Yet, seemed distressed and pained due to her attachment and identification with the new car. Her attachment was so strong that whatever happened to the car affected her. The idea, “This new Lexus is mine. I am going to enjoy driving it,” was the immediate object of attachment of her false ego.

    The ego is self-identification of oneself, or “I am.” The false ego is identifying oneself
    with a temporary material object or person. One may think “I am the owner, controller and the enjoyer of this particular material thing or person.” The lady above assumed she was the owner and enjoyer of the new car. Because the object or the relationship is temporary, the conviction that one is the owner, controller and enjoyer is illusory or false. At most, it is a short term relationship that can change at any time.

    How does the false ego evolve? Why would a person identify with a temporary thing or relationship knowing well that it can end at any time?

    A human being has a body with senses, which gather information and impressions of the physical world and feed them to the mind. The mind is the center of all activities of the senses. When one looks upon and hears about sense objects, the mind becomes a reservoir of myriad ideas of sense gratification. Varieties of desires and attachment build up in the mind. The sensuous contemplation of an object leads to the development of attachment to enjoy the object. One thinks about the object by seeing its desirable qualities. One begins to feel how pleasing it would be to own and enjoy the object.
    One wills or becomes determined that unless they own and control the object they will not achieve sensual and mental fulfillment.

    From contemplation of an object which includes thinking, feeling and willing, one develops progressively attachment and lust for it. Thus the mind and senses become repositories of lust.

    The intelligence or the power of the person to discern right from wrong, good from bad, positive from negative, becomes affected by the lusty mentality and begins to make decisions based on lust for the object rather than what is the long term good for the person.

    The lusty intelligence becomes the seat of the false ego. The person, using the faculties of the senses, mind and intelligence which are infected with lust, becomes attached to a temporary thing and develops a sort of addiction to enjoying the object with their material senses and mistakes this temporary enjoyment as true happiness.

    The woman with the Lexus developed the strong attachment to enjoy her new car. But, her pleasure was abruptly interrupted by the man in the rainbow VW. She vented her frustration and pain as if she was injured by the car’s damage. The truth is that her false ego was pained by the abrupt accident.

    The false ego or the material object oriented consciousness has two psychic divisions. One identifies as the creator or controller, and then as the enjoyer of the object. While enjoying the object one develops a very strong and sometimes obsessive attachment to it.
    The passionate or overmastering craving to control and enjoy an object is the symptom of lust.

    Lust is the all devouring enemy of mankind.

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  • Toun yerevtzadz jampan ches keder, yergeenkin cherevtzadz jampan eenchbes bidi keednass?

    One day a Protestant Armenian preacher traveled on foot from Chounkoush village to Adish village through the mountain path. He was advised by Chounkoush villagers the exact details of the mountain path to Adish. He proceeded along the trail to kacthkuhlough (a hill overlooking Adish named the head of the holy cross). The preacher could see the town of Adish from this hill. The preacher also saw a young boy leading a troop of sheep for grazing on the mountain sloops. He asked the boy if he could show him the path to Adish. The boy told him that he was on the right path leading to Adish. The preacher thanked him and opened his Bible saying, “My dear boy, you have shown me the path to Adish. Now I will show you the path to the heavenly kingdom of God.” The boy said dryly, “Kordzeet nahyeh badveli, toun yerrevtzadz jampan ches keder, yergeenkin cherevtzadz jampan eenchbes bidi keednass- Go about your work preacher, if you don’t know the path that we see in the distance ( to Adish), then how can you show me the path to heaven that neither of us can see?” Although a mere youth, the boy epitomized the practical logic of the Armenian villagers whose day to day struggle for existence gave them down-to-earth powers of reasoning to guide them. The preacher’s ruse and intellectualism didn’t impress the boy whose every action was based on straightforward and practical action.

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