Just because… I believe in things such as independence, equality, love, and peace, and you somehow know or assume this, does not make me an automatic, passive, or accepting target for your aggression, violence, hatred, rudeness or inconsideration.
Just because… I believe in and try to live by my principles and ethics daily, in every way, does not mean that I must accept the abuse you may send my way for no other reason than you want to, assume that you can, or have no self-control.
Just because… I am a “whole”, fairly well-adjusted being who recognizes that the inner world is just as important (if not more so) than the emotional and physical world in which we live, does not mean that I do not value the physical, or that I don’t want or deserve “nice things”.
Just because… I do not like violence does not mean that I will not fight or defend myself or others, should you choose to turn to violence as a way of self-expression.
Just because… I am usually understanding, patient, and compassionate does not mean that I will tolerate abuse, harassment, or degradation of any kind.
Just because… I do my best to control my ego and emotions does not mean that I won’t assert myself.
Just because… I assert myself does not mean that you can’t also be assertive or expressive.
Just because… I recognize my own gifts and talents does not mean that I disregard or do not value your gifts and talents.
Just because… I hold sacred a certain set of beliefs and have my own version of the truth does not mean that I do not or can not also recognize and respect yours.
Just because… we disagree on something does not mean that we can not honor and respect each other, or honor and respect our differences.
Just because… I may be willing to listen, to help, to guide, or walk with you a while down this part of the Path does not mean that I must -or should- continuously coach you through every step of every experience that you are here to learn. Some things you need to do on your own. It’s the whole point.
Just because… you may feel alone, overwhelmed, or ill-equipped does not mean that you are any of those things. You are intensely Loved and you have much more ability than you give yourself credit!
Just because… we are different on some levels, does not mean we are anything other than different parts of the same Whole.
… because we are One.
There is a sense of “Universal Timing” in this world… a sense of things falling exactly in to place, in exactly the right time, and with exactly the right circumstances. It is a sense that everything is “just right” and that everything truly is exactly where -and how- it needs to be. It is a flow… it is a meditation… it is reality beyond this shrouded, limited, physical reality. It is life with and within the natural flow of the Universe. It is Zen. It is Mindfulness. It is detachment. It is Trust. It is Tao. It is perfection. It is simply what it is.
This “magical” timing exists in that place of personal, peaceful, patient, knowing stillness and connection to the Universe; it exists in that place within ourselves that is intimately connected to the Divine. Sometimes we can see the mechanisms of this Universal Timing clicking in to place; sometimes we can’t. It’s an ongoing process, happening for all of us, all the time, whether or not we are aware of it, and even if we can’t see the specific details of the path being laid out before us.
Sometimes we can get in our own way of experiencing this Universal Timing… this Divine Flow. In this day and age of instant gratification, when we are often emotionally and psychologically overrun by our perceived wants and needs, of our own uncertainties and fears, it can be difficult to trust in much of anything. And so we get in our own way of seeing it, of feeling this Flow. But it’s there. And if you can relax… if you can find the stillness within yourself… the patience, the breath, the space within the moments of your life… it becomes possible to feel it, and with this knowledge, it becomes possible to truly trust in the idea of Universal Timing… of everything! Strife and fear move away from us, because we know… truly, deeply know… that there’s more going on “behind the scenes” than most of us can usually see, and we know that ultimately, that things really do work out for the best for all.
So breathe. Trust. Know. And let the Joy and the Peace of this knowledge guide you onward…
We are all connected.
This is a common-enough sentiment, echoed throughout the ages within different cultures, religions, thoughts, practices, ideologies, etc. We readily admit that there exist connections between parent and child, family and community, region, nationality, and the World. There are connections of friendship, connections of love, there are philosophical and intellectual bonds, and there are innumerable other connections that exist between the peoples of this planet. We tend to acknowledge most of these connections pretty readily.
We accept the connections that suit us in some way… those connections in to which we are born and raised and conditioned to accept… those connections that validate our beliefs, our experiences, our goals, our wants, our desires. Why do we do this? Why do we acknowledge the bonds of family, or those of community, for example? Some of this is conditioned (we are generally taught to love the people in the family in to which we are born, for example), but there’s a greater truth: we acknowledge our connections to each other because deep down, we acknowledge that we are intrinsically connected to each other.
Let me say that again… On a very basic, essential, elemental level, we recognize that we are connected to each other. We recognize that we are all different aspects of the same Whole.
But what about those connections that are somehow a little less obvious, or for those connections that we have not been conditioned to immediately see or acknowledge? For those, we have a choice. We can either choose to see the connections, or we can choose to see what appear to be the differences. We can choose to look deeper, beyond the apparent and superficial differences between us to see the connections that exist… or we can choose to use these “differences” as a starting point for ego, division and hatred. We can choose. We do choose… each and every day, within each and every situation.
The truth remains: We are connected. But the choice about whether or not to acknowledge this wholly, partially, or not at all, is entirely up to us.
The choice is ours. Choose well.
All the pain and chaos and blatant violence that the world is experiencing these days is unnerving and disconcerting on a personal level to be sure… but it’s also serving a couple of “Higher Agendas”… things that are easy to overlook, but things that we, as part of the “Fairly Aware”, should keep in mind as we navigate these new energies:
The chaos in the World is serving to highlight the defunct and dysfunctional modes of operation that have been dominating the World and its inhabitants for generations now. Sometimes, we tend to stick to “what’s known” -even though it no longer works!- simply because it’s known and is therefore “comfortable”. The chaos is challenging our default behaviors and is asking us to instead evaluate the status quo of just about everything! We have outgrown the old paradigms and old modes of operation. It’s time to move on. But in order to go forward, we must first understand where we are. And that, is what all this chaos is really about – figuring out where we are, and acknowledging that it no longer serves our best interests.
It’s stirring people out of their stupor. Personal reactions are sometimes extreme, and in a lot of cases, the reactions are causing more chaos and friction than helping resolve a situation, but people are no longer sitting passively in their armchairs, their fingers stuck in their ears and hands over their eyes doing the equivalent of “Nanananana… I can’t see you… I can’t hear you…” and ignoring the World and its issues. The turmoil is encouraging people to Act… to DO Something. Regardless of the “side” they choose to support, people are DOing Things. People are thinking and evaluating on their own, and more and more people are growing out of the old paradigms that have not served this world for a long, long time now. People are growing out of their habitual, conditioned responses and they are beginning to Genuinely Care. They are beginning to Interact with the World again.
The turmoil, as hectic and painful as it is, is actually freeing up various, previously stagnant, energies that the World Needs right now. It is creating space into which we can insert these energies and create a new paradigm for living and BEing. The chaos -and peoples’ reactions to it- is, like all things, energetic by nature… and this is the “primordial ooze” of energies from which a new era will evolve. It is the energy of change.
The People themselves are changing. We are evolving. You can see it in the extremes of reactions. There are people “kicking and screaming” all over the place because the energies are overwhelming and they don’t know what else to do. People are scared, so they react strongly and passionately. As things continue to evolve, the energies (and the World) will settle a bit and these people will find their place in the new paradigm. First, recognize this energetic evolution for what it is (for your own sake), and then please be prepared to help others adjust. It is unusual turf, and some will adapt more quickly than others. Our world is changing, and people are changing with it. This is a good thing.
Ultimately, this turmoil is a good thing. Ultimately, this is the energy of change. These energies will evoke deep, deep, and very necessary changes in the World… changes that we are ready for and need to survive, going forward… and it is up to us to retain our Awareness and help guide the world in the right direction. So… go meditate, go pray, go chant, go do whatever it is you do to keep yourself centered, awake, and aware, and commit yourself to BEing a part of the Guiding Light of Good that the World so desperately needs as it stumbles down this path (and kicks a few rocks at each other in the process).
Ok, people… I don’t usually do this, but please, for all our sakes… WAKE THE F*** UP and stop the violence and the hatred! You’re acting like complete asses… and here’s a shocker – The world does not need more egotistical assholes. The World does not need people who are only interested in satisfying their own needs, wants, desires, and agendas while subjugating and persecuting everyone else! Haven’t we followed this path long enough? Has it worked yet? Has it worked at all…?
What the World does need is more compassion, more love, and more understanding. What the World needs is more people who understand the concepts of personal independence and personal responsibility. The World needs more people who understand and respect that the superficial differences among humans… things such as skin color, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, career choice, perceived ability/disability, or any other beliefs, choices and/or experiences, are superficial and personal.
Yup – That’s it. All these differences that are making everyone so angry… they’re superficial!!
We need to realize that honoring and respecting the differences between us does not jeopardize our own beliefs. We need to realize that respecting others and their experiences does not invalidate, threaten, or limit our own experiences, beliefs, or expressions of “self” in any way!
Stop the judgments. Stop the hatred. STOP BEING ASSHOLES.
WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
WE ARE MORE THAN THIS.
We are SO very much more than the hatred and the ego and the judgments and the violence that seem to be running rampant these days. And, believe it or not… we do Not need to dominate everyone who believes, behaves, acts, or experiences life differently from our own limited perspective. Really – we don’t!!
The World needs more people who RESPECT EACH OTHER, despite the apparent differences between us.
The World needs people to STOP LIVING OUT OF FEAR.
The World needs people to START LIVING OUT OF LOVE.
CELEBRATE our differences… LEARN from them… and Understand that UNDERNEATH, truly WE ARE ALL THE SAME.
In this world
Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.
You too shall pass away.
Knowing this, how can you quarrel?
Today, I am reminded to be in the moment. I am reminded of mindfulness, of presence, of awareness in and of the moment-to-moment reality of our existence. Today, I am reminded of the moment-to-moment reality of our lives.
This moment –this one right here, right now!– is the only one that truly exists. All other moments are either gone (past) or haven’t yet happened (future).
Keep your awareness on the moment and live in reality. Practice mindfulness. Appreciate and experience each moment of your life. The past no longer exists and the future is not yet here – they are but ghosts of your experiences on this planet, and you can alter neither. But this moment is real. See and feel and experience what is here now. Be awake and aware, and be here now, in each moment.
“Many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment… imagine living your whole life like that! Always, this moment is not quite good enough because you need to get to the next one.”
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of NOW
Shootings, rapists, abuse, attacks, and violence of all kinds. It’s everywhere, and many people are understandably scared, frustrated, saddened, outraged, and experiencing a myriad of other emotions and reactions to any of the all-too-common societal traumas that are making the headlines.
These reactions are understandable – we are thinking, feeling beings after all, and we naturally sympathize and empathize with each other. But the reality is that the strength of these reactions are also encouraged and conditioned by the societies and cultures in which we live. In fact, our culture seems to thrive on the extreme emotional chaos and sense of personal impotence that these events evoke.
But do you see that your (natural, encouraged, culturally-groomed) knee-jerk reactions to these events … your emotional responses… your outrage, indignity, etc. … are not “solutions to the problems”? Do you see that your emotionally-based responses and calls for “justice”… your demands for “legislative fixes” … or any of the other words or phrases or ideologies being bantered around so freely these days … do you see that these are not solutions to the problems we are facing?
Don’t you see that all of this… ALL of this… is simply the proliferation of hate? Don’t you see that this is simply the perpetuation of judgement and bias and ego? Don’t you see that these strong emotional reactions are ADDING to the “problems” instead of offering any real solutions? Can’t you see that this is the old paradigm of action-reaction … of cause and (programmed) effect? Don’t you see that this is Not Helping? That it is only encouraging and reinforcing the same old bad habits, the same stale, harmful, and non-Light-serving energies that we have held as “status quo” for how long now? Do you not see that these are the same energies and behaviors that have gotten us here in the first place? Can’t you see that it’s time for a change? A REAL change?
No, I’m not talking about passing extra legislation or adding layers to an already bloated bureaucracy, nor am I talking about the adoption and enforcement of some set of (currently) socially- and culturally-acceptable ideals or morality or ethics or… let’s call it what it is, folks… EGO … over other ideas and ideals, beliefs and knowledge, independence, thoughts, or souls of others because it is “politically correct” and it suits your personal, adopted ideology.
Can’t you see that if we are to make changes… REAL Changes… we need to start with ourselves? Do you see that these changes need to start with our families and our “clans”, our “tribes”, our communities… without the constant knee-jerk reactions to cultural stimuli and without the egotistical, egocentric judgements and sheer arrogance of “my way is the best (or only) way”? Can’t you see that we have to change things on a very basic societal level in order to effect the kinds of changes that we need to have happen in this world right now… changes that We Are Ready to have happen right now?
Do you see that the issue is not politics, or ethnicity, or religion, or race, or weapons, or sexuality, or any of these other false divisions among our species?
Can’t you see that the real issues here are about how we act and react… about what we choose, what we expect, and what we’ve been conditioned to believe or want…? Don’t you see that we can choose something other than hate and violence and ego and out-of-control emotion… regardless of the stimuli to which we are exposed?
Can’t you see that change has to come from that place of true integrity, of true morality, of doing what is right simply because it is right… NOT because you expect to get anything out of it, and Not because it’s the most recent “socially acceptable” fad… and not because you fear some negative repercussion to your action…?
It’s not about superficial rules. It’s not about judgement. It’s not about ego, or coercion, or limitations… it’s not about any of these things that we all take for granted in this world, in this day and age.
It’s about Being You. It’s about being the True You. It’s about freedom and choice. It’s about being willing and able and brave enough to love, to help, to teach, to coach, to guide, to encourage, to lift up your fellow man! It’s about being REAL. It’s about listening and participating and being open… without Ego. And it’s about choosing your actions and your reactions… It is about choosing where to invest your energies.
Do not “Do”. Be.
There is such “DOing” in the world. Everything, it seems, needs to have some physical aspect to it – something we can point to and say “I did that”, or “that’s mine”. But what in this world do we really own? What, in this world, are we really doing with all this running around and sense of accomplishment. What, exactly, are we accomplishing? We are accomplishing chaos, and business, and a disconnection from nature, spirit, each other, and ourselves.
Why do we do this? Does it make us happy? Do we really feel accomplished or successful at the end of the day?
What about when you are still – in prayer or meditation? When you DO nothing -when you BE everything- what do you accomplish? What do you feel? Are you happy? Do you feel accomplished, when you are still and at peace?
Or are you ever really still?
Find your center. Keep your awareness. Recognize the comings and goings and energies and patterns of everything around you for what they are, and let them pass you by.Be unmoved by these things – they are but shadows, ghosts, illusions. Let them go. Like a rock in a stream, let it all flow past. Be still. Be constant. Be steady and true.
And just Be.
There are no excuses. There is no history, no patterns of behavior to overcome, there are no reasons not to treat yourself well and to nourish your soul. Listen to your inner guidance. What is it that you need right now? What is it that makes your heart and soul soar? Do it.
Even if you are trapped in physicality, there are ways to attend to yourself. Take a little step, if you must, but listen to yourself and treat yourself the way you should be treated – with respect, with honor, with love – on all levels of your being. All the time!
You *are* deserving. This is your natural state – one of joy, one of love, one of unity, of wholeness, of health and compassion and essence and BEing.
Listen to yourself, to your needs, to your essence, to your goals and Path and Work.
Be mindful. Be true.
And do it.
So life throws you a curve-ball. You do your best to react with curiosity, with gratitude, to learn from it, to “flow with it” and see where the next step of the Path lies. So you realize that these unexpected turns of events are opportunities for learning and personal growth – good for you!
But sometimes, one curve-ball isn’t quite enough to elicit the type of change the Universe has in mind for you, so another comes hurtling your way. And oh – here comes another! And maybe even another! … and still, another?!
Ok, so you’ve taken a deep breath and realized that you’ve done this a couple of times by now; you’ll be ok. You’re relatively Aware, and have faith that the Universe has plans for you. You’re doing your best to “go with the flow”… even if the flow is more like a hair-raising, white-knuckled, whitewater rafting type of flow than what personal experience has so far shown you. But the entire point is to shake things up, isn’t it? The Universe is paving the way for major changes in your life, and like with most things, it’s how you choose to react that determines the experience… and the end results.
You might not be able to tell where this series of events is taking you. And that’s ok. You might not be sure if this particular series of “whitewater” events is about to hurtle you over a waterfall or land you in a nice serene lake. And that’s ok too. Keep your center and stay balanced. Take each step, each moment, and each breath, one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll land in the lake. You might find yourself in the lake after a thrilling flight over a waterfall, but you’ll safely end up where you’re supposed to be nonetheless. So “enjoy the journey and not worry about the destination” and make the most of these “curveballs”. The Universe knows what it’s doing.