The Relevance of Truth

If the truth is timeless (and it is) then I suggest it’s hanging around somewhere in plain sight, like it always has, just waiting for us to trip over it.

Before our current information age, many believed that there were ancient texts that held our truths and that these ancient texts were the domain and dominion of the ‘keepers of the wisdom’. You know, those scholars and believers who had access to these writings by virtue of rank, wealth, title or theft. These texts and these individuals were considered as ‘authorities’ on various subjects. Knowledge was indeed power, even in the Middle Ages. They kept their cards close to their vests and guarded both access and interpretation diligently.

The printing press began the dissemination of information and the internet is currently its culmination. More people than ever have direct access to rare and treasured books, practices and ideas. Yet more people than ever seem to be struggling to make sense out of their lives or to discover their path to fulfillment and happiness.

We really do seem to have access to all of the ideas we’d ever need. They have been put into and passed down to us through fables, songs, poetry, novels, folklore, sacred texts,  proverbs from the Far East and (need I add?) bumper stickers. Some of these ideas have been codified into religions and other institutions craving certainty and structure. Regardless of where we search for it, however, we must acknowledge the abundance of wisdom that’s available to most of us.

So, I must conclude that it’s not the lack of ideas or insights from those who have come before that has many of us so lost, despondent, lethargic, confused, unfulfilled and unhappy.

It is that these insights, these wisdoms, must somehow become relevant to us in our own day to day lives before we can tap into and experience their meaning and draw from the strength of that truth. Wisdom is not found in the abstract but in the concrete choices and actions that manifests a truth.

Wisdom is not to be found in a book but in the moment of courage to act upon what we know to be true. We grow whenever we do that. We grow in wisdom and strength.

Somehow, we’ve forgotten that by and large. We behave foolishly instead.

Without action, all wisdom is theoretical. It might look good on paper and sound good to the ear. But until we act upon it, it isn’t real.

It isn’t relevant.

 

 

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Moveable & Removable Walls

Whether you’ve had some remodeling work done in your own home or have watched one of the many home remodeling shows on the television, it’s likely you’ve had the opportunity to witness an architect or an interior designer walk into a home and “see” how the walls could be moved and the space rearranged.

The first few times I saw someone doing this, I found it fascinating. I had always looked at walls as walls…as simply something to deal with, as something permanent and just the way the house was built. I understand now that the space is permanent and the walls are all moveable, even weight bearing walls.

In a world that encourages us to compartmentalize the various aspects and functions of ourselves, we all put up a lot of walls as we were first building our understandings of ourselves. The placement of these walls were either taken from someone else’s blueprints (plans) or represented our beginner’s ideas of how we thought things should look.

Here are some examples of the usual places we put up dividing walls: between thoughts and feelings; between wants and needs; between spirituality and rationality; between the abstract and the concrete; between the possible and the impossible; between pain and pleasure; between good and bad and, of course, between right and wrong. There are plenty of other partitions or dividers we constructed along our way, but I only wanted to give you the idea of what I’m referring to.

We believe that these walls are necessary and permanent. We believe that we have put them up exactly where they belong. This may have been true at the time we put them up. They may have served a good purpose during our development…when we were younger and less experienced with ourselves. Yet, for many of us, these walls have now boxed us in, blocked our vision and restricted our maturation.

These walls are arbitrary. These walls are moveable. These walls are removable.

Sure, we’ll need a bit of help. We’ll need ideas and suggestions from those who have some experience. That’s no different than when we’re dealing with physical walls. We get help. We follow some suggestions.

In the general awareness arena, the ideas of connection and flow have been rediscovered.

There is a blossoming realization that all growth involves change and that change isn’t a rejection of the past but an expansion upon what has come before with fuller perspectives, fresh lines of sight and an openness that is both natural and healthy.

Yet, some will consider change and growth as somehow being disloyal to what they had been handed down or taking the risk that the whole house might come crashing down.

If all you’re working with is your own ideas and a sledge hammer, that might be possible.

But when you’re open to asking for and using the help that’s available, moving or removing those interior walls that interfere and block ourselves from connecting with ourselves (and others) is neither dangerous nor daunting.

It’s actually freeing and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Life was never meant to be ‘Safe’

I’ve had many conversations over the years (some quite recently, hence this blog) with parents whose major concern in life was with keeping their children (or child) safe. It’s an issue that is confronting every parent daily and that can transform simple decisions into debilitating quandaries.

As a parent of three, I am no idle spectator in this emotional arena.

These conversations, along with my own personal soul searching, have lead me to conclude and to admit that complete safety is impossible and that even relative safety is more of an act of trust than of an assurance of well being.

This is no easy thing to admit. And this is what leads so many of us to become stuck in fear and anxiety.

Life is simply a risky enterprise. That’s the truth of the matter.

Even if we had unlimited financial resources, the attempt on our part to eliminate all possible opportunities for injury or illness to our children would, in and of itself, be injurious and harmful to their natural and healthy development. Being overly protective does as much damage as does being reckless or negligent.

It is glaringly apparent from our own childhood experiences that we, as human beings, were designed to bump, bruise, bounce and break ourselves quite a bit. And we survived, grew and learned from those experiences…just as our children will. They deserve the chances to fall, to scrape, to cry and to get up and get at it again.

Life in a bubble, life without risks, is like a Nascar race run entirely under the yellow caution flag…staying in line…going in circles…not really a race…not really a life….

Now I know that Nascar, or any sport for that matter, cannot be a perfect analogy, but our craving for ‘safety’ is in contradiction to and defies our own experience; namely, that we feel most alive when the outcome is uncertain, when we have to take a chance, when we push ourselves beyond our comfort and convenience zones.

Sure, we will fail. Sure, we will fall. What we do then is what matters most.

The risks we take may be physical, emotional or intellectual, but we reveal ourselves to ourselves in those types of decision making moments when the outcome is far from certain. In those moments we are unthinkingly and profoundly aware of the raw possibilities that life presents us with.

I could or would no more wish to deprive my children of these experiences under the banner of keeping them safe than I could or would wish to undo my own missteps and batterings that I have experienced along my way.

It’s just life.

 

The Genesis of Corruption

The words corrupt and corruption have been more liberally used in social media and news reports in recent months.  At least it seems that way to me. Events in Brazil, the Panama Papers and the political processes in numerous countries, including America, have stripped away the thin but glitzy façade that those with money or power have any genuine interest in the general welfare of the countries they live in or the citizens they serve.  

It involves corporations, individuals and governments. And it’s everywhere.

There’s no sense in pretending that it’s not.

And there’s no easy fix.  

We didn’t get into this deplorable state of affairs in a single generation and it will require a new level of awareness and accountability over time to root out the rottenness. It has gone deep.

It’s not regime change that I’m talking about. 

The established systems themselves (corporate, financial, institutional, governmental) are now sufficiently perverted that whomever is the nominal face in charge has already been vetted as suitable to continue the maintenance of the status quo. Any real challenger to any given system has been eliminated or neutralized many layers and levels ago. Quietly, easily, effectively.

The people who act with integrity, who care about the truth and who are trying to make a difference are extremely easy to spot. They stand out. They are easy marks because they are trusting. They are easy marks because they genuinely care about other people more than they care about themselves. It’s not that they are unsure in themselves but they take into account the implications and impact their choices will have on the lives of those they love. It is a such a weighty and genuine concern that many a good person lapses into silence in the face of an injustice to another or the misrepresentation of the truth.

The genesis of corruption is in this silence.

There are far more people of integrity and courage in this world than there are those who choose to live in deceit and cowardice. It’s simply that the deceitful and the cowardly have learned to blend in, to not stand out or to brazenly acknowledge what their goals and motivations are. They play it smart.

I believe that it is time for people with integrity to also be smart. I believe that it is time for people to risk exposing into the public domain whatever truth (not a theory, not a hunch) but the truth for which they have some proof, they have discovered and to release that proof in such a way as to not draw any attention to themselves or want any credit for what they did. The truth is out there. (no reference to the X files intended) There are good people who know the truth and do not know what to do with it. Be smart.

What good people want is to be able to shed the light of truth onto the shadowy world of corruption without being punished for it…and without needing to make a profit from it.

In this time of global interconnectedness, when the silent majority understands that remaining silent is to be complicit in our collective demise, we need to find our voices.

We need to be smart.

We need to remember that the truth will set us free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I blame Thomas Jefferson

It will take me a moment to get to TJ, otherwise known as The Pen of the Revolution, while I set the stage.

Setting the stage is what many of us do with our time. We do what we are doing in our present circumstances with the idea or intention that at some point, down the road of life, we’re going to be able to have all the pieces in place that will allow us to be able to relax and enjoy ourselves. We tell ourselves routinely what needs to be taken care of first before we’ll stop worrying or before we can relax. I call them the ifs and whens of our peace of heart. We put conditions on our circumstances that must be fulfilled prior to our feeling ok… whether it’s a certain type of house, a certain amount of money in the bank, a certain type of relationship, or car or job…we tell ourselves that we’ll feel much better if… or be much happier when

The reality of our lives, however, tells us that these goal posts are extremely moveable. No sooner do we cross (or even begin to get close) to meeting whatever condition it was that we had placed upon our joy, then we’re pushing that goal and ourselves out even further. For many, the goal has now been pushed into retirement. We’ll be able to stop worrying and enjoy when we’ve retired. It’s a dream we still cling on to. But it’s a mirage.

That’s the truth.

This time period of relaxed enjoyment doesn’t really happen when we get the good job (because we could lose it),  or the good relationship partner (because shit happens), or have children (if we want them),  or the nice house or any or all of this. We fooled ourselves into believing that our life would be different if and when, but it wasn’t. We all tend to simply raise the bar or move the goal, keeping our happiness out of reach.

This is where Thomas Jefferson enters the picture. He wrote (with the input of others) the Declaration of Independence. Here’s the beginning of the second paragraph (for those of you who may be unfamiliar):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (underlining mine and NOT in the original text.)

I think that the choice of the word ‘pursuit’ was unfortunate. He could have used any number of other words…the exploration of Happiness, or the fulfillment of Happiness, or the enhancement of Happiness, or the expansion of Happiness.

But no.

He opted for the word ‘pursuit’ and we have been set up for the ‘chase’ ever since…It’s as if our happiness were a wood nymph teasing us in the distance, taunting and daring us to run after it hither and yonder. The idea that he planted and that we’ve accepted is that our happiness is ‘out there’ somewhere and it’s our inalienable right to get on after it. We’ve been chasing it ever since.

But what if that’s incorrect?

What if our happiness is an inside job?

What if there never was a need to postpone our peace of heart and our enjoyment of life until some pre-conditions were satisfied?

What if our happiness isn’t out there somewhere in the future but has always been right here, available to us right now?

Wouldn’t that be worth exploring?

 

 

Centeredness 1

In a recent blog, Center of the Universe, I ended with a line that has brought a few readers to ask a similar question. The line began; “Being centered in the universe…” and I’ve been asked to explain more specifically what that might mean or what that might look like.

I’ll begin with an example of what I consider to be a ‘truth’:

LIFE, itself, wants to continue. It, LIFE, has encoded all of its manifestations and varieties with the same DNA imperative, namely, make more copies of yourself…make as many as you can…don’t worry about making too many…if you need to cooperate with or utilize other forms of life to make more of you possible, go right ahead. I’ve told them the same thing with regards to you. LIFE doesn’t care which version of itself survives. Cockroach, fern, ameba, virus, or mammal…LIFE in some form or fashion is intent–dedicated–obsessed with its continuation.

I’m not really able to speak for any of the other multitudes of life forms but, as for us humans, it’s quite apparent that we take this personally. We absolutely believe that our form of life, above and before all others, should and must be the form that survives. If any form, then us. If any of us, then me.

Life, itself, if it considers our point of view at all, might think this rather ‘cute but would be fully prepared, perhaps with an epidemic or an alien invasion, to see us off without a tear.

That’s just LIFE. Survival of something is the name of its game. We have falsely flattered ourselves when we labeled ourselves as the most important or pinnacle life form. As the life form constructing the friggin chart, who’d you think we’d put at the top?

“Being centered in the universe’ means that I accept this truth about life’s impartiality without objection. It means that I align my actions and my attitudes with the understanding that I am an equal among life’s many variations and not the one in charge. I live respectfully but not fearfully. My death is certain and life is a gift.

As a result, I do not consider myself a victim. If I get sick or in an accident, I’m not being singled out. It’s not happening TO me, it’s simply happening. I can deal with the pain. It’s the suffering I feel when I tell myself that this should not have happened that really damages me.

So, when I am centered in the universe, I know I have a place. I belong. I have a part. I have lots and lots of choices everyday but I do not entertain any illusions about having control. There is far more involved in the processes of my own body and the swirlings of solar systems than I will ever comprehend or command.

When I take the weight of running the known universe off of my shoulders, I am not being irresponsible. I’m only being honest.

I am being centered.

Hope this was helpful.

 

 

Take a Moment

 

We have a saying here in the States, “The cream always rises to the top”. It’s an old saying. It’s not much in use these days but it still gets trotted out every now and then as a truism. I don’t know if it originated with our dairy farmers or was imported (like most everything else) but I’ve always had trouble with it. I’ve watched as milk or cheese is being processed. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff that rises to the top along with the cream that needs to be thrown away.

The underlying thrust of the saying, that the best can and will eventually be found at the top, is the mantra of many CEOs and of every ambitious subordinate.

No matter the institution, organization or industry, the presumption of the people outside those institutions, organizations or industries is: Whomever is at the top, must know what they’re doing.

I would really like to believe that.

It would make for a more orderly world view.

Here’s what is far more true than not: The people at the top are the people who were willing to do whatever was necessary to get them there. The people at the top know how to climb and how to cling once they get there.

That’s not an indictment. That’s the reality.

This means that the notion that there’s a natural order of ascension for the most qualified is false. For the people of genuine competency, integrity and overall wellness, our systems are stacked against them. These individuals were either stunted or sidetracked along their way or they were never interested in advancement to begin with, only in doing their job well.

They’re not angry or bitter. Those aren’t the characteristics of the well grounded, quality person to begin with. They’re simply the people who actually get things done and hold things together.

I want to draw your attention to these people, (we all know who they are and you may be one of them) because they never draw attention to themselves.

We would do well to take a moment and acknowledge them in some, small genuine way. A few words…an anonymous card or note on their desk or windshield…a moment of sincere noticing…

Yes, they’ll likely react by being embarrassed or confused. But it will make a difference.

To both of you.