Time to Act

2021 has arrived!   Holidays and celebrations are over.  It’s time to resume working!  The important work, however, has changed with the year. This time, our work is not simply to do a job to earn money. It is the work of healing our planet, restoring respectful and nurturing connections among our human species and between humans and the denizens with whom we share our planet and developing a social order supportive of these goals.  It is becoming a renewed kind of people, each of us the kind of people with whom we would like to live. It is the work in which each of us has a part, and which without each part, the chances of manifesting lessen.  This is the most important work we have ever had.  It is time to get started.  Time is running out.

There is so much to accomplish – work which takes physical activity, mental effort, emotional processing, spiritual energy. It is easy to hide one’s head in the sand, and pretend that all is well, and our government will do what is best for us and achieve the goal.   Opting out in such a way is abandoning the task and increasing the chances that we will all face either destruction, or an outcome we do not wish, possibly even one which negates our humanity. Why?  First, the work to be done cannot be accomplished from a top-down stance.  Big anything will not be able to get it done.  Big politics, big government, big technology, big business, big media, and the like will never, ever create a healed Earth or a healed web of life.  The “bigs” create what supports the “bigs”; Big Brother may take care of us, but will also tell us how to be, what to do, how to live, what to think.   That is the first reason.

In addition – perhaps this should be first, as it underlies the former – we are each responsible for who we are, how we grow, what we do and how we live.  For this, we do not answer to Big Brother or any “big”.  We answer to life itself, and to the results we produce for ourselves.  If one is religious, we answer to God.  Because we are responsible, we also have the power, individually and especially collectively, to affect our goals.  In microcosm, if we are adult, we can no longer blame our parents for our ills, because we possess within ourselves the power to right them, if we wish to exercise that power.    On a larger scale, we cannot blame the government, the opposite political party, religious organizations, people we think are maliciously trying to control us, people who we perceive as enemies, careless other people, being too young or too old, or anything else for what we dislike.  Each time we do that, we are giving away a bit of our power to create harmoniously, to make things right.

We need to heal our Earth, reforest, and renew her.  To that end, we also need to, among other things, adjust our economies, our lifestyles and consumption of resources.  We need to balance our consumption with our production and our capacity to renew that from which we take.   We need to create a social order that assigns equal humanity to each human being on the planet.  Note, that does not mean “same”.  Each of us is unique.  It means that we extend equal value, consideration, and use of resources to each human being, whether they are like us or not. We need to think about giving “rights” to others, not about how to get them. We need to wean ourselves from killing, especially knee-jerk killing, and replace that with respect and love.  We need to learn to listen to each other.  We need to learn to govern ourselves effectively, without relying on any of the “bigs” to tell us what to do.  We need to learn to grow food and medicines respectfully, in ways which replenish the Earth which nurtures us.  We need to eliminate war.  We need to learn to grow ourselves so that our actions, visions, and responses are rooted in the loving essence from which we all come.  We need to learn to express that essence and recognize the oneness between not only us humans but also each expression of life.

That is only the beginning, and already the task is huge.  It will take all of us to accomplish, but it is absolutely possible, despite the pull from entropy.  We can use our inner vision to project – what would the world look like if we achieve our goal?  What would it be like, if it survives at all, if we do not?  Here are two easily-read resources to check out: Brave New World combined with Brave New World Revisited, both by Aldous Huxley, and the entire Celestine Prophecy series, by James Redfield.  There are others, but those are good starts. 

Each of us has his or her own unique talent, his or her own thing that he or she loves or does well.  Large or small does not matter.  Current standards of pay do not matter.  Leading, supporting, or working independently does not matter.   Excuses to not act do not actually excuse; they only indicate an unwillingness to participate.  Even the bedridden can participate; the power of prayer and vision holding is great.  The power of extending love is infinite.  

Are you one who cares for the land, who grows food and medicines?  Are you one who can use tools and build?  Do you do best at designing structures?  Can you understand and translate the processes of nature into harmonious human activity?  Are you a cook, a teacher, a nurturer?  Are you a visual artist, a musician, a storyteller? Are you a philosopher, a priest, one who can perceive the surrounding world most of us find invisible?  Are you a healer? Are you an activist?   Find your talent and commit to the task.  In such a way, 2021 can be the year in which we respond to the challenge to grow, heal, and become.

Remember that top down does not work; top down most often gets in the way.  Big anything does not have the power to do anything for us.   Each of us is responsible for the outcome; each of us has the power to affect it. 
We can choose to give up our power, and declare ourselves helpless, or victims that need rescuing.  That sinks us deeper into the quicksand.  Each of us needs to listen to the other, and each of us needs to work.  Let us be the people who rise to the challenge.  Let us choose life.     Happy New Year!

Peace, Diane

___________________________________________________________

Wrestling with Demons

We each have our own demons.  I am not referring to elfin sized red creatures with tails and horns, or to evil creatures in human disguise, though I neither confirm nor deny their existence.  I am referring to thought patterns, habits, and imbedded subconscious concepts present in all of us, each with his or her own specific forms.   On the surface these are reflected in the events of our lives and in the continual chatter of our minds.  Sustained introspection, such as meditation, can reveal them more clearly.

I have been wrestling with my own demons.   That sounds like a casual statement, but it is really a painful process.  One’s demons are not positive thoughts and concepts; they are difficult to dismiss or diminish, and they bring with them feelings of fear, inadequacy, despair, hopelessness and the like.   They are the opposite of the qualities most of us are trying to grow into – such as peace, kindness, empathy, hope, service, beauty, love, connection.  The negative aspects are not called demons for nothing.

Take one of my demons as an example; perhaps some of you share it.  This particular demon is continually castigating me for not being or doing enough.  It doesn’t really matter how much I do or how much I learn or grow.  For this demon, the bar keeps rising.   If for a moment I acknowledge myself for what I am or have done, this demon quickly points out what I failed to achieve.   It shows me all those who are doing great things to heal the earth or grow a kinder and more just society or help those who suffer or are forgotten.  I have not done those great things.  The demon suggests that I am useless.  It shows me all the things I have not accomplished financially, or that I have not created conditions under which I might do broader things.  If I acknowledge this and try to proceed in a direction that could hopefully remediate those criticisms, the demon then shows me that I have a cluttered and disordered house and should be spending my time remedying that situation.  If I try to do that, too, it then mocks me for not having enough sleep or exercise or meditation or social time.  There is no way to satisfy this demon.  It sustains its life from my failure and despair.

One secret about demons is that they depend on attention and emotional attachment.  Accomplished meditators understand this.  Meditation is frustrated by continual mind chatter, sometimes called monkey mind.  The instruction for clearing this is to not fight it, to simply acknowledge its existence and withdraw attention from it.    It is harder when one’s ego is involved.

One’s ego can be defined as the mental concept of oneself.  It is an individual’s idea of who he or she is and what he or she can do or not do.  It usually assigns a level of worthiness to that individual, most often less than a high level.  Truly, one is not one’s job, or one’s position in a relationship, or the number that declares one’s age, or one’s skill in any activity.  Sometimes it seems that an individual’s real identity is a peeling away of all those things in the ego’s mental concept until one is left with the emptiness which is filled with infinite connectedness.  But that is a subject for another time.  It is when a demon, or mind chatter or idea is accepted into the ego that it becomes hard to weaken or release it by ignoring.  After all, the ego, which perceives itself as an entity, does not wish to be damaged by having part of its definition stripped away.

It is here where most of us, me included, get stuck.  Trying to replace negative thoughts with positive ones (affirmations) is in effect giving attention to them.  Affirmations, over time, do have some success, and they are good techniques, but asking affirmations by themselves to rid one of one’s demons is a tall order, particularly if those thoughts have been accepted into the ego. Stripping the ego of all its self-identifications feels like a process of dying, which is a letting go of everything of this physical life.   Anger is sometimes a reaction to such attempts.  Frustration mounts, too, as one’s demons continue to block manifestation of one’s perceived goal into a present reality.

Perhaps one needs to embrace one’s demons, to find a way that they have helped and thank them.  Perhaps our ideas and deep desires are not the path it is best for us to follow – we may believe they are, but we do not know everything.  Mother Teresa once said that there are no great works – there are only small works done with great love.  Could loving our demons persuade them to cease their battering?  

I do not know the answers.  I am still working on it.  I have faith that the correct answers are there and do think that some people have arrived at a satisfactory resolution of these issues.  It could be that it is simply a process of growing, that we need to relax as we grow into another stage of our being, much as adolescence morphed into adulthood.

I wish us each peace when our individual demons raise their heads, and a successful transition into a stage wherein the demons have no power.

Peace, Diane