(Let me preface this by saying this has nothing to do with the Boston Marathon. I also present the image not to evoke guilt or sadness, but thought. Not only are 20,000 physically dying each day from poverty, but billions of us are walking dead, at least to some extent. Of note, it's been almost 2 years since I wrote a full blog. WOW!)
Life is not a marathon.
I have nothing against marathons, but there is a time and place for marathons.
Everyday and everywhere are not the time and place.
Somehow, along the way of being human, we became convinced that we were production and consumption machines.
We forgot about freedom.
We became bound to nonsensical ideas.
Produce, produce, produce.
Consume, consume, consume.
We have an economy to uphold.
This is largely because money and ownership became rulers of people.
We take these things for granted, but they are just concepts.
To me, people are more important than concepts.
Life doesn't have to be about concepts, at all.
Our minds became bound by these concepts.
Now we think it's rational that a few people own most of the money.
A few people own most of the the land and the resources.
Now many of us work for those people to afford a little piece of land and a little bit of food.
We are so bound by our concepts and systems, that they became more important to us than the health of the planet.
More important than clean air.
More important than clean water.
More important than safe and healthy food.
To many of us, they became more important than our own mental and physical health.
Many of us have learned a survival mentality, rather than one of well-being.
We believe our systems that produce so many mental health issues and so much insane behavior are rational.
How many anxious and depressed people do you know?
How many people do you know who are not at ease?
Should there be so many?
And I'm talking about in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, where we still have loads of poverty.
I sponsor a kid in Kentucky through Save The Children.
I have nothing against hard work.
I've done plenty.
I just think that people should be working hard at what they enjoy.
Working hard at something you do not enjoy for extended periods, to me, is sad and unhealthy.
Should it be?
If the mass of people are not able to enjoy the best hours of their lives for most of their days, I have a problem with that.
I have a problem with the framework of ideas, concepts and systems that produces the outcomes we have gotten, and does not seem to be ceasing to do more of the same.
Why didn't we figure out a way where it is easier for people to make a living doing what they enjoy?
Does it, maybe, have a lot to do with the fact that we somehow became more focused on trying to fit into systems of ideas and concepts that only work well for very few people?
That we learned to take those systems for granted?
Should we take systems that don't work well for so many of our fellow humans for granted?
And they really don't work for anybody, if we make the planet uninhabitable in the process.
We forget that humanity inherited a free planet.
Food grew freely, and no one owned the land and resources.
We created ideas, concepts and systems that did away with that, and allowed for concentration of wealth and resources to the very few.
You reading this probably have enough, but a large part of humanity does not.
And most of you are still working jobs you don't love, and many of you for people you don't love to work for, because you feel you must do this to survive, or to have what you need or want.
It's a tradeoff that, to me, shouldn't have to be.
How much stuff do we need, by the way?
How many people have closets, rooms, garages filled with stuff that is never even looked at?
Why do we really need to produce so much?
Why do we need to consume so much?
How much of our behavior regarding production and consumption is healthy and rational?
How much of it is conditioned?
It didn't have to turn out this way.
We allowed it to turn out this way.
It's not entirely our faults, because we were conditioned to think the way we do.
Our ancestors, and now us.
The question is, where do we go from here?
I'm just sharing my thoughts.
I don't have the answers.
Change begins with questions and dialog.
The biggest issue, to me, is that I believe that the solutions have to come from out-of-the-box thinking. The solutions may have to include completely new and vastly different ideas, concepts and systems. The more we try and find solutions within the framework of ideas, concepts and systems that have already failed most people, the longer it will take to find solutions that work for EVERYBODY.
I was listening to the linked song when these ideas came upon me. The vocalist repeats, "You have all the time in the world..." I had to ask myself, why I feel like I'm in such a rush all the time. Why do so many of us feel that way?
Modeselektor & Thom Yorke - The White Flash (Robags Vatimafonkk Rekksmow)
By the way, I post my ideas frequently on Facebook. With my current time constraints, it is more effective for me to frequently post short ideas there, rather than long blog entries.
Hope you enjoy this one!
Love is the basis of life. It is the love of the parents for the newborn child that move them to care for the child. It is the love of family and friends for each other that makes them seek each other's company and to act kindly towards each other. It is the love for ourselves that makes us take care of ourselves and to seek out pleasure, enjoyment and growth for ourselves. When our concepts of love get hindered by our environment, life start to go haywire. So what hinders our concepts of love. Fear is the short answer. Fear makes us act less than lovingly. Fear of what people will think of us. Fear of scarcity. Fear of bodily harm. Fear of failure. When fear enters a situation, love gets set aside. Only the most courageous of us can act from love in the face of fear.
For example, when we fear there is not enough, we act fearfully. We horde money. We horde possessions. We overwork ourselves, because we fear that if we rest, our competition will leap past us and destroy our source of income. We step on toes, because we fear if we act lovingly, we may not have enough money to buy what we need. We see that some people who act from fear accrue power and money, and we are afraid that if we act lovingly, we will appear soft and be pushed aside in our careers or at the bargaining table. So, we learn to act from that fear, because we perceive it as rewarding. What we neglect to take account of is the resultant mental health issues created by acting from fear on a persistent basis.
When we constantly act from fear, whether or not we receive power or money, we constantly must look over our shoulders. We are under constant stress. We are constantly on the defensive, needing to control any variable we can in order to maintain our position. We may pay legislators to alter laws in our favor. We may hire guards with weapons to protect us from those who may want to harm us and/or take what we have away from us. We may even go on the offensive, to protect ourselves from a perceived threat. In more extreme states of fear-induced mental imbalance, we may maliciously sabotage others efforts, because we are afraid that they are stifling our competitive edge. We may go even further and attack others without even perceiving a threat, in order to take their power and possessions from them, and make them our own.
When we act from fear, the loving basis of life is squeezed out into a trickle, at best. We go home and we get a little dose of love from our spouses, and then we go back to work stepping on more toes, and overworking to the point that our spouses and children are left needy for our time and love. As this trickle of love is all that is left in our lives, we become almost constantly miserable, seeking short term comfort from alcohol use, drug use and watching television programs in which people gossip about and ridicule each other, making us feel better about ourselves, because our lives aren't as pathetic. We also become attention-starved and act superficially, in ways to attract the attention and praise of others, even when the behavior we exhibit goes against our true sense of self, our personal values. We will do almost anything to feel a little trickle of love from another.
Being subjected to receiving love only in trickles, we become conditioned to letting our own love out only in trickles. We are afraid to show too much love, because it is not the norm. We are afraid of seeming silly or weak. We see that people revere characters in film or television that are violent and strong, and we emulate them. We feel rejected when we show our love “too much,” and it is not reciprocated. We learn to hide our love behind walls we create between ourselves.
If we want to return life to the world – to humanity – we must learn to love fully. We must put aside our fears, and act as we truly are. We must take big risks with our love. When we do so, our lives will become more magical. When loves flows more freely, life flows more freely. Life becomes easier and more fulfilling.
In order to love this way, we will have to love ourselves immensely. We will have to learn that the rejection of our love by another is either motivated by fear, or simply because we don't resonate with that person, and that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with us. There are many varieties of people, and they don't all resonate with each other. We need not feel rejected. We are no less because this or that person does not enjoy our company, or does not agree with our ideas or beliefs. We are no less whole. And we are no less capable of loving the next one to come along.
Express your love fully. Do not be afraid. That is the truest courage that exists.
Photo borrowed from Fada Moranga on Flickr
On the occasion of Valentine's Day, I want to share my beliefs about love. I think that the entire Universe and everything in it is actually made of love. How could that be, with all of the misery and suffering in the world? Because the true nature of love is concealed from us. Why is it concealed from us? Because we are afraid of love. We are afraid to express love fully. We are afraid that love will leave us. We are afraid that love won't be there when we need it. I believe that because we have so much fear around love, we cannot know its' true nature. We cannot feel it or see it, because we fear it. It is hiding behind a veil of illusion. How can something that is present everywhere be in hiding? Your body is made of a bunch of atoms. If it weren't for science telling us that, would you ever realize that the true nature of your body is billions of microscopic atoms flying around? That's all you really are, but it is concealed from your awareness. Similarly, we cannot see that everything is really love.
We fear expressing love fully because we fear that we will either be ridiculed or that it will not be reciprocated. We have these fears because of low self image and because of what we have been taught about expressing love. For example, if we are men, we are taught to be fearful of expressing love because it is weak or feminine to express love fully and openly. If we are women, we may have been taught that if we fully express love to a man, he will be smothered and leave us.
One thing that really gets me is the popularity of Ed Hardy, and all of the clothing that says stuff like “Love Kills Slowly.” Stuff like that just creates more fear of love.
We also have a lot of misunderstandings about love. There are a lot of things that people think are love, that are not, and a lot of things that people think are not love, that are. For example, if someone tries to limit the independence of his partner because he is afraid that the partner may stray from him, he may think he is doing it out of love, but he is doing it out of fear. If he truly loved the partner, he would want the partner to be free to do as she wishes, even if it meant leaving him. On the other hand, if someone bluntly tells her partner that she doesn't think he should do something that may harm him, the partner may get angry and think that she is trying to limit his independence, when in fact she is trying to help him out of love.
One of the biggest misconceptions we have about love, and the most important in my opinion, is that we need to seek it from outside of us. From my experience, it is the love inside of us that is the most powerful. When we go beyond our fear and express love fully, the love inside of us intensifies and shows itself. It comes out of hiding. The more we exercise this, the more we realize that love is everywhere. It is our fear and low self image that causes us to be needy of the love of others. We become starved for attention and praise when our self image is low. What we need to realize is that there is an infinite storehouse of love inside of us that does not need to be activated by another. When we realize this, we can still enjoy the love of others without feeling needy for it.
Because we have experienced so much fear and most of us are not completely secure in ourselves, it takes a lot of work to unearth that infinite storehouse of love within. It takes a lot of work to release the need to constantly receive the attention and praise of others. It's well worth it. I'm still working on it. I've had a lot of recent trials that showed me some of my own self image issues and some of the places where fear of love still constrains me in life.
True courage is being able to love fully, without fear of the repercussions. Exercise that and you will find true freedom.
Happy Valentine's Day,
Many people never break their rhythms. Maybe, as they age, they watch different shows, eat a few different foods and buy different things, but they still stay stuck in that perpetual robotic rhythm. It isn't until something catastrophic happens - like 9/11 or the Gulf Oil Spill - that they begin to get stirred enough to even consider changing their routines. They're always thinking that someone else is handling everything. In something as important as a Presidential election, barely more than half of eligible voters make it to the polls. In 2008 it was a little more than 57%. In mid-term election years, when people are voting for their Senators, Representatives and many other important matters, a little more than a third usually show up at the polls. In 2006, it was just over 37%. A lot of people are sure speaking their minds about the progress - or lack thereof - that these politicians are making, but many of them didn't even vote.
If you want to make a difference in the world, you have to break out of your rhythm. You have to stop being robotic. Try changing things up a bit. Maybe go to a park, instead of the mall this weekend. Stop at a bookstore on the way home from work, and buy a book that you've been thinking about reading, but just haven't found time for. Just read one page at a time. My life has been changed - dramatically - just from stuff I read in books. Some books it took me months to finish, because I was so busy.
When we stay in our robotic rhythms, life passes by, and at the end of it, we may realize that we didn't make as much of a difference as we would have liked. We forgot to try the Road Less Traveled, once in awhile. We played it too safe. And the world around us suffers from our lack of participation.
Wouldn't now be a good time to wake up from our sleepwalking?
P.S. As always, this blog entry is directed at yours truly, too. It's been almost a month since I last wrote a blog entry. Those of you on Facebook get to read my somewhat frequent status updates and comments, but I'd like to do more. I'd like to make more of a difference. I had to put down my iPhone and stop playing the game I was in the middle of, before it got too late to write, again. I'm not judging. I'm talking from experience.