Dec 20, 2012

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Making Sense

Making Sense

‘Tis the Season – as they say – and yet this year the season has something extra in the air: fear. It buzzes around us and through us, and if we invite it in it penetrates our existence like the unwanted house guests that have been around so long we forgot the peace that was ours before their arrival. And fear is tricky: it seems logical and rational and based on good intentions. Yet when fear is the foundation of our decisions, whether as individuals or as groups, the far-reaching consequences cannot be seen in fear’s field of vision. It is only able to see the story that the fear fears, and it will do anything to attempt to control its outer world to keep that story from becoming a reality…. perhaps again. Making sense of events like public shootings and children dying becomes more and more difficult through the lens of fear.


[kuh’n-trohl] verb, con·trolled, con·trol·ling, noun.

1. to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.
2. to hold in check; curb: to control a horse; to control one’s emotions.
3. to test or verify (a scientific experiment) by a parallel experiment or other
     standard of comparison.
4. to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of: to control a forest fire.

The ego loves the idea of control, and really thinks it is doing something of value by attempting to make the world succumb to its version of reality and right vs. wrong. I am sure Hitler thought what he was doing was for the good of the race and was valiant and would be remembered well.

We each – whether consciously or unconsciously –  buy into this idea of domination and control to varying degrees, and we exercise it on ourselves and others all the time. You can see it in our culture as our parenting, our views of the world and how people should act in it (as if there was only one right way to live), and especially in our blind support for institutions like public schools and prisons (which have far too many similarities in my personal opinion); better known as the Education System and the Judicial System. When I look at the fact that my own country has the highest-by-far incarceration rate per capita than any other on the planet, the first thing I think isn’t, “Oh, well all of those people deserve to be there and I am glad I’m safe from them,” or “Well that is because people are innately bad and you have to punish them or threaten them with punishment to keep them from being even worse.” These are great fallacies of our culture. The first thing I think is that it is time to let go of systems that greedily cling to the idea of putting the world and every bit of it under ownership and dominion.

We are told that laws are here to keep people from doing “bad” things. But, if we’re actually locking away a decent percentage of our population, while the rest of us live in varying degrees of fear of “those people,” how is that working under the above definition of control? We aren’t keeping our population “in-line”, we are just keeping ourselves in bondage to a system, that when examined under the proper lens, is NOT WORKING.

When I look at the suicide rates for the whole planet, I just can’t buy that these are isolated events; that these are people that just couldn’t get it together, or if they had just been on the right pill or had a different mom they would have been fine. As recent as this September it was reported (emphasis mine):

One million people die by their own hand each year, accounting for more deaths than wars and murders put together, the World Health Organisation said Friday, calling for urgent action to address the problem.”Data from the WHO indicate that approximately one million people worldwide die by suicide each year.


This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds,” the organisation said in a report launched ahead of the World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday.


And while the number of deaths by suicide is staggering, the number of attempts each year is 20 times higher, the WHO said, pointing out that five percent of people in the world try to kill themselves at least once during their lifetime.


And the problem is getting worse, the organisation said, insisting that “given the magnitude of the public health problem of suicidal behaviours”, urgent action was needed.

How can any of us honestly look at these numbers and continue to think that the choices we are making as a race are mostly okay? How can we continue to believe that if we just dump more money at something it will improve, when we’ve been dumping more money at all of our systems for decades and decades and more and more people are so miserable they take their own lives rather than work, retire, die?

In a world of confusion and illusion, in order to attempt to make sense of things, I have learned to observe nature to learn an unbiased opinion about how the world works and how I might work with life instead of seemingly struggling against it. The first thing I see when I look at our planet, is diversity. No two leaves or ants or stars exactly alike. Forests filled with dozens of types of trees all right next to each other. Oceans filled with so many creatures we haven’t even named them all yet. And after some research, I find that there is a reason for this: the more diverse the genetic pool, the stronger the ecosystem.  Diversity=Strength. Yet everyday we wake up and willingly participate in a system that commits to chipping away at that diversity and replacing it with a mono-culture, aimed with turning the whole world into believers and subscribers and missionaries for the cause.

The other thing I see at work when I look at the natural world, is freedom. Not freedom from consequences, but freedom from control. There is no punishing force telling nature to behave in a strict, narrow-minded manner. A bird can fly North for the winter if it so chooses, and while there will be consequence, there will be no punishment. There will be cause and effect, but not judgment and blame. When the bird dies, its body will still be recycled back into the whole, no matter what choices it made in its life. Looking further, I see that the humans who really get to us on a heart- and spirit-level say the same things that I notice in nature, and in my own heart:

Freedom is the basic condition for you to touch life, to touch the blue sky, the trees, the birds, the tea, and the other person. -Thich Nhat Hanh


You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. -Jesus of Nazareth


Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
-Mahatma Gandhi


The Divine Plan is one of Freedom; bondage is not God-ordained. Freedom is the birthright of every living soul. All instinctively feel this. The Truth points to freedom, under Law. Thus the inherent nature of [hu]man is forever seeking to express itself in terms of freedom. -Ernest Homes


Liberation is our very nature. We are that. The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature. – Ramana Maharshi


The soul can grow only in freedom. Love gives freedom. And when you give freedom, you are free, that’s what detachment is. If you enforce bondage on the other, you will be in imprisonment on your own accord. If you bind the other, the other will bind you; if you define the other, the other will define you; if you are trying to possess the other, the other will possess you. – Osho


There is only one central issue, crisis, or challenge for [hu]man[s], which is, that he must be completely free. As long as the mind is holding on to a structure, a method, a system, there is no freedom. – Jiddu Krishnamurti


Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life. -Bob Marley

Humans’ natural state is one of Freedom, both spiritually and physically. Again, not freedom from consequence, but freedom from control. Freedom to express without judgment, and freedom to love without fear. We see  in our history over and over again that the masses will only stand being dominated for so long before they remind us all of their longing for and commitment to freedom. As we move forward as a society, we will continue to see evidence of this inner yearning to prove that we are free. The more force and control that is issued in the name of morality and a” just” system (decisions made from fear-of instead of love-of), the more diverse will be people’s ways of pushing back. As long as we believe that one portion of the population is more knowledgeable about “right and wrong” than another, we have bought into dominion again, and will see individuals and groups do all sorts of unhealthy things to prove their freedom to the world.

Focusing on fear, as well as that which we fear, is a trap. It keeps us stuck as a race, and it keeps us blind as we attempt to control one another in hopes to fix the world. The world itself isn’t what needs fixing. Civilization is what keeps us here, and especially our myth that it is the only way to be human. As long as we believe this, we are trapped in fear, isolation, and emptiness, and we attempt to curb these feelings by controlling the people and the things in our environment. We want to know that someday, once everything is controlled enough and in the proper order, that we’ll feel okay.

We won’t feel okay until we begin to both focus on, and become, Love itself. Love for humanity and all of its participants, including all of their different views and customs. Love of the natural world and all its gifts of beauty, diversity, and life support. Love of ourselves, including our shadows and our brilliant lights. Love of the “other”, which doesn’t even exist, for we are all One. When I can have compassion for all the pain in all the world, I can begin to transmute that pain into love. When I am living from love, how could I make choices that hurt another being? As we are all one, whatever we can do on an individual level to release fear and judgment and be filled with love and light has an effect on the whole planet. You are Powerful. You are Beautiful. You are Love. I Love You.

Smokey the Bear is known to say, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Well fear is just like a forest fire, and it can only burn you up and move on to the next victim if you let it. This Year, this Season, this Holiday, give the gift of your love, of your diverse beauty and creativity, and of your open heart, free from fear and anger. Be present for your family and friends, reminding them of what you appreciate about them. Give your unique gifts that help you to feel that bright light that is always you. As there is No One Right Way to Live, there is no one right way to deal with the tragedies that have occurred and continue to occur all over our dear planet. Thankfully, we have each other, and the more love that we can share, the more we can transmute our feelings, thoughts, and actions into those in alignment with this Love that we Are. Only then will we be ready to truly co-create a world that works for all beings.

More to read

  • A Look at FreedomFebruary 9, 2014 A Look at Freedom Inside each one of us is a desire for freedom. Yet, for most, there is a lack of understanding of what that yearning even translates into.
  • Compassionate BoundariesJune 18, 2012 Compassionate Boundaries Along the path it seems Like I have lost so many things. But in a certain way, I want everything to stay; As if somehow its wrong For life to move along.
  • Saying YESMay 4, 2012 Saying YES We can all use practice in saying Yes to that which we want to invite into our lives, and spending less time talking about and thinking about and looking at that which we really don't want […]

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