I have this theory and I share it every chance that I get. My theory is this: we as humans, are not evolved enough to function effectively in the modern world. Technology and the pace of life has outstripped our ability to process and adapt.
Look around and you will see stress, chaos, anger, frustration, violence, fear, road rage, supermarket rage, Facebook rage. We are chronically offended, scared, angry, busy, fat, sick, unloved, confused, over-medicated. This is primarily in our wealthy and powerful 1st world country. The problems in the 3rd world are even more dire.
The world is exploding and we are paralyzed to react, other than with anger, fear, closing borders, blaming the ‘others’. It’s damned painful, isn’t it?
We don’t understand ourselves right now. We feel as if we’re trapped between two worlds or planes of existence. We were told that technology and progress would save the world; would lessen our burdens and infinitely enhance our ‘quality of life’. But, not so much, eh?
We aren’t ready for all of this. We aren’t ready to live in the big, wide world. It’s too much. Too much information, too much chaos, too much to do and to buy and to hoard. For many of us, too much pain.
So, what do do? How the hell do we begin to cope and to see a way forward?
There are many who claim to be religious, but are you in touch with spirit? Do you embrace the sacred and the divine, meaning that you believe and realize that we are all connected. All of us and every single thing on earth and in the cosmos. We share energy and when the energy becomes so negative that we can barely stand to be in our own skin, we have to actively attempt to change it.
Here is what I and millions and millions of others, throughout time, have used to try and tap into this energy: meditation. You can call it prayer, if you’re more comfortable with that, but I believe that prayer and meditation are subtly different. However, the main objective is to quiet the mind, tap into this infinite energy that animates and surrounds and connects us to all that is.
This is a practice. Think of it as part of your personal hygiene regimen. It’s emotional, mental and spiritual hygiene. We need this as humans. The ancient wisdom all speaks of various forms of leaving our bodies, to commune with other spirits and the spirits of the universe.
You can do it alone or you can join with others. We need group energy. We need to get back to ceremony and ritual. We need that as we need food and water and air and fire.
Some of you may have watched Oprah Winfrey’s recent 7 part series called “Belief”. Although it didn’t dig very deeply into religious or spiritual tradition, the one thing that I took away from it was this: we need ceremony and ritual and actual physical gatherings to sustain us. We crave a ‘tribe’ to celebrate and reflect on rights of passage, growth, death, birth, love, belonging. We are too scattered and too divided and fragmented.
In order to begin to make sense out of this global chaos, we need to make sense of us. Make sense of our lives, our purpose, what animates us; we need to find a way to listen to our souls and then to begin to share that with others.
Be honest. You feel this, too. Maybe you can’t quite articulate it because of the unease, fear and anxiety you’re feeling. You may feel foolish, as you’ve rejected religion and spirituality for some reason. It’s not scientific or factual or concrete or ‘modern’. You might have to take a leap of faith that is airy-fairy and some of those close to you may mock your interest in something so lacking in ‘proof’.
That of course, is the beauty of faith and spirit and belief. Once you commit, you begin to see and feel proof. You begin to trust your feelings and intuition and you start to KNOW something that you dared not think about, in these times of technology and progress.
It’s ancient and it’s in your DNA, both physical and spiritual. Give in. Embrace. Know yourself and you will begin to know and love others. You will begin to see what we’re doing to each other, to the earth, to all that is around us.
Last week, as I was fixing my morning coffee I looked out the window and saw my husband burning some brush in our fire pit. I had a pile of paperwork that I was planning to shred and decided to just toss them in the fire.
Once I got outside, I discovered that I had also grabbed a small notepad and as I tossed the papers into the fire I felt a tug of inspiration that urged me to make a list of things that I wanted to dispose of. Ya gotta burn it down, to allow it to rise up.
I finished my initial task and ran back into the house for a pen and a coffee refill. I grabbed one of our big, old heavy Adirondack chairs and hunkered down in front of the fire to spill it all out. These were things that I wanted to root out, look at in the light of day and then burn to ashes.
At the top of the page, I simply wrote “let go”. Here is my list:
Not fitting in
Crusty, old beliefs
Cultural knots and entanglements
Behaving as you “should”
This was stream of consciousness. Things that I felt were holding me back in some way. I didn’t over-think or take more than 10 minutes to compile the list. I then stood before the fire, read it aloud, asked for guidance from spirit and tossed it in to the fire.
Done. BAM! Burned.
I looked up and saw a big, beautiful hawk soaring overhead. I watched him for a few minutes and as he circled closer and closer, I thanked him for acknowledging my ceremony.
Ceremony and ritual are important parts of the human experience and in modern times, we often forget. There is no time or inclination any longer. Fewer and fewer of us attend church or any kind of spiritual gathering and we suffer for it.
There is something inside us, that has been there from the very beginning that craves connection with the Divine and we ignore it at our peril. I believe that is why we have such a callous attitude toward others and toward the Earth. We’ve lost touch with this spark, but we can make the time, even if it’s just us, all alone, to reignite it.
As I walked back to the house after my ‘cleansing’, I felt lighter, freer, empowered, calm, loved. I’d taken just a little time and made a connection with not only my soul, but with what animates it. Spirit and energy and God and creator are all around us, at all times. Tap in. When you feel an urge, as I did, follow it. Be with yourself, create some minor rituals and try to develop a daily practice, even if it’s 5 minutes, to connect with the thing that is greater than you.
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What the HELL is going on in the world? What is wrong with people? We could turn those phrases into a drinking game this week and we’d all be drunker than skunks if you took a shot every time those words were spoken.
It’s crazy right now, but the interesting thing is that even though we do have some common pains and worries, we don’t really have common solutions. Another mass shooting: one side calls for stricter gun laws, another for looser ones. Another instance of alleged police misconduct resulting in a civilian death: one side says police have a hard job and we should always respect that, while the other side says that the police are the enemy.
And the frustrating thing for me is that these issues seem to always divide along party lines. If you’re in one party, you must believe this, which will of course, be the exact opposite of those ‘idiots’ in the other party. Sound familiar? And then there are those who actually use their brains and their other emotions besides fear and anger, who reside in the Venn Diagram where our values and common sense and empathy intersect.
Unfortunately, the places where we get our news, particularly on TV, rarely enter that fairly large area of agreement. Not good for business. Much better to keep people afraid and angry and suspicious of ‘the other side’ because it’s great for ratings.
So, here we are. Stuck. Angry. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Afraid. Dug in. Barricaded in our belief system, with no intention of learning about how others came to their world view.
Now, that is scary. A bunch of humans, glaring at each other through their tiny peepholes in the giant door that protects them from people who disagree with them. What a way to live, eh?
You know how on the internet or Facebook or whatever, videos of cute baby animals and baby humans tend to spread like wildfire? That is because we all universally (okay I know there are some of you with very dark and scared souls who refuse to enjoy puppies and kittens…which is a shame) feel a swelling of good emotions while watching them. They are cute and innocent and funny and we just wanna squeeze ‘em. That is because we are connected. By universal love. Massive, global warm and fuzzies.
There are also those stories and shares of brutality and pain and suffering that receive millions of views and hits. In these cases, we are all connected by that universal pain. We all feel it. We all suffer. We all are connected. Do you understand what this means?
It means that we have to begin to acknowledge our commonality, rather than our differences. We are connected. When one suffers, we all suffer. When one triumphs or feels joy and love, we all do. It spreads and covers us and lifts us up and knocks us down. We are all one on a soul level.
This is the basic teaching of every single major religion and spiritual path. Love your fellow beings, for they are you. But, it’s hard, isn’t it? Everyone is so flawed and complicated and imperfect and blah, blah, blah.
We are at a tipping point. I believe that this is a time to awaken to the clarity that is available to us. I would not presume to know how you will do that, as we are all on our own path to awakening…or not. But, if you feel like things are not working, begin to question your beliefs and the collective beliefs we’ve taken as hard truth.
That is step #1. Question everything. What you have carried around as a belief for years and years is probably not really based on anything but what you were taught by other flawed humans. Core beliefs can evolve, despite the conventional wisdom that says otherwise. We’ve seen a huge evolution in our lifetime on various issues.
What have we been taught as Americans? Growth, progress, technological supremacy, military superpower, USA is #1, work over family, we know best as a nation, might makes right, money and wealth is the ultimate goal, we have dominion over the earth, etc.
A lot of us are questioning those values because they don’t seem to be valid any longer. We are fat, sick, mired in massive debt, destroying our environment, working longer and harder for less, feeling as if we have to aspire to great wealth, but not having the means or training or education or connections to achieve it.
So, re-think. Re-tool your belief system. Maybe fulfillment comes from a more nurturing place. Maybe you’ll begin to feel those connections to all things on earth, including other humans that you don’t quite understand. Love yourself, find yourself, connect with your soul.
Find a way. We’re all depending on you.
For an audio version of this post, click below
Love Wins. The celebratory statement after the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing marriage equality was handed down this past week. What a beautiful statement in a world that is, as it always has been, burdened by hate. Two simple words that, if taken to heart can transform our existence on this planet.
Which is why I’m here to co-opt that phrase for my spiritually evangelical purposes.
Those two words are what we are missing as we struggle to find our way forward in these very confusing times. The world seems to be exploding in violence and conflict. We are in the middle of another potentially explosive racial divide here in America.
Last week, 9 people died at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina when a young, white man who was motivated by racial hatred, shot them while telling them they “had to go”.
He spent over an hour with them in Bible study, where they welcomed him into their church and their group with open arms. When he was arraigned on these murders, various family members of the victims showed up to tell him that even though their hearts were broken, they forgave him and would pray for his soul. Love wins.
This is what religion teaches. These people live their faith in a way that most cannot or will not. Most of us call immediately for revenge before justice. We want to strike back at those who cause us pain. It’s all about ‘getting even’. Jesus advised turning the other cheek. Buddha said hate doesn’t dispel hate; only love dispels hate. Dr. Martin Luther King told us that only love can drive out hate. Yet, in times of great pain and anguish, we ignore those who we admire for their wisdom.
I honestly believe that some of the events of the past week may be the beginning of a tipping point toward love winning. I’ve felt such despair over so many global events and issues. I don’t even need to list the things that are happening that cause me to want to weep or vomit every time I read or watch the news. You know. You feel it too, but you feel powerless.
This is why this past week is so powerful. In just a few short years, gay marriage has become not only accepted by a majority of Americans, but it is now the law of the land. I know that many are not happy about it and try as I might, I cannot understand their opposition. How can allowing more commitment, more love, more families to form ever be a sin? How can allowing all of our fellow humans to have the same legal protections that straight humans have had, be a bad thing?
You can of course, remain true to your religious beliefs by following them. All of them. Because it seems to me that Jesus’ main message to his flock was Love Wins. In the face of anger, crime, bigotry, hatred, insults, misunderstanding, miscommunication, impatience, somebody cutting you off in traffic or irritating you by paying with a check at the supermarket, Love Wins.
That’s it. Two words that we all need to adopt as our mantra going forward. WE are the ones that have to fix what’s broken. Don’t rely on politicians or pundits or various know-it-alls who populate our media and culture. YOU. ME. We have to start loving our fellow humans, particularly when they irritate or insult or even attack us.
This is the hard stuff that we have to face as spiritual beings having a human experience. You can think and analyze and ask why, as I often do; as I constantly do. Let me do that for you, if you’d like; it’s a dirty job, but I’m happy to carry that burden. The bottom line is that we need to be more forgiving, more compassionate, more kind and more charitable to the other residents of this planet, be they human, animal, plant, etc.
This week gave us a beautiful lesson in the midst of tragedy and triumph for gay rights. Take this lesson and run with it. Spread it around. Re-think some of your beliefs. Share this blog post freely. Let’s start a bigger movement.
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