Long time ago a friend of mine told me a phrase which influenced me much more than what she would have thought. One day I went there to see at her shop to have a tea and to chat about zen and our role in the universe. I was telling her all my thoughts on the issue, all the things I could not figure out and all of the paradoxes I was seeing in and around myself. In that afternoon she came up with a phrase struck me like a thunderbolt and that still resonates in my head: “We are not neutral beings”. Five simple words, yet so powerful altogether. For her those words meant that regardless what we do our actions will always affect others and the environment around us. Being it bad or being it good an effect will always be there. At the time I could not immediately understand the real depth of this phrase. To be honest I am still figuring it out. On one hand this implies that the intention we put in our actions is key in defining the outcome of our actions. Everything we do will eventually have effects on others, no matter what, hence the need as aware as possible of the intent of our actions in order for them to be of benefit for all beings. If you think about it this is a huge responsibility. On the other hand this also means that no matter what we do there will aways be some instances in which our actions might end-up hurting others, or, on the contrary, we might be hurt. On this point my friend continued saying that our lives should not be a continuous attempt to avoid pain, disappointment or a broken heart. In a way those things are not avoidable. What we should aim for is a life in which we really allow ourselves to fully feel what occurs in the moment. In other words every sensation should be felt hundred percent to lead to real comprehension and growth. It is needless to say that I totally agree with her. If this is the case, then, this comprehension might lead us to real compassion. If is it true that sometimes we have no chance but to hurt somebody, or being hurt, then it is also true that we can take a compassionate view about it. We can perhaps recognise that in sombody’s aggressive communication there might be despair for a situation they cannot cope with. Other times we be compassionate with ourselves when we see that hurting somebody in the short-run might lead to both’s wellbeing in the long-run, even if doing so can cause us pain. In any case this fact implies that we cannot simply spend our lives under the influence of fear. No matter what we do, we will leave a sort of trace in the world, even if we decide to lock ourselves in the closet. Knowing this we might be much better off embracing this as a fact and decide to live fully. In any case I believe I will continue to explore the implications of what I have been told on that afternoon and hopefully those reflections will lead to a deeper and deeper sense of compassion and unity. Of one thing I am sure, on that day my friend was certainly not a neutral being.