Present Tense

The answer is spirit

Minolta DSCI 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.

Too much.

So, what do do? How the hell do we begin to cope and to see a way forward?

Spirit.

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.

I promise.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The only thing we have to fear……

We live in a time of fear.  Fear brought on by global events, national events, economic catastrophes, other viewpoints, other religions, no religion, health care, no health care…you name it, we’re scared of it.

Life has been chugging along on our big blue marble for thousands  of years for us humans.  And before we-of-the-huge-brains came along, things chugged along without us.  Why are we suddenly so freaked out by everything?

I have a few theories.  One is that we’ve seen such huge technological advances over the past century, that we tend to believe that technology can fix all that ails us.  We are so smart that we should have solved all of the problems by now and when it occurs to us that we haven’t and won’t, it’s kinda scary.  And frustrating.  One solution begets another round of problems.  We don’t like that.  We humans don’t have the control over our world that we’d like.

Despite our best efforts to eradicate pain, suffering, war and disease, the universe remains infinitely powerful and troublesome and that makes us nervous.  I also think that it may be the catalyst for so much of the religious fervor that is bubbling here in the U.S. and around the world.  If we can’t solve all of the problems, maybe a deity can.  Science has let us down, so let’s turn it over to God and go whole hog into religious zealotry. Screw science and technology.  Let’s demonize our fellow sinners, as a sacrifice for the gods.

I’ve been re-reading my favorite book on Buddhist teachings by Steve Hagen, a zen priest.  It’s called “Buddhism Plain and Simple”.  It’s my favorite because I tend to think that spiritual beliefs should be plain and simple.  Fear and unease is referred to in Buddhist philosophy as duhkha;  the concept is that we often feel uneasy about the world around us, particularly because much of life is out of our control.  Buddhists don’t believe that the lack of control is good or bad, but just “is”.  To overcome this feeling of unease or suffering or anxiety or duhkha, you accept reality as it is.  Simple.  The tired phrase, “it is what it is” was probably uttered by Buddha thousands of years ago.  A  Zen parable called “Maybe” illustrates this simply and succinctly.

The older I get, the less fearful I am.  When I was young, I was incredibly selfish.  I did what I wanted to, without weighing how I affected other people.  I’m not proud of that, but there was a nugget of fearlessness in my behavior, mostly due to the fact that when you’re young, you really do think you’re invincible and immortal.  Even though I look back and cringe at some of the things that I did that adversely affected others, I am grateful for my bravado.  I never would have had my radio career without it.  I was willing to take risks to achieve success and was humble enough to learn from my (many) mistakes.  Plus, when you’re young and starting out, you have nothing to lose.  I often say on my radio show that your 20s are your ‘mulligan’ or your do-over decade.  If you’re gonna screw up, do it then so that you’ve got plenty of time to regain your balance and momentum.

Now, my fearlessness comes from knowing that my fears are rarely realized in the ways I’ve imagined.  Obstacles get tossed into your path and you go over or around them.  The next day dawns and you move forward. You learn with time and age, that you’re stronger than you think you are.  I have recognized and begun to accept the concept of duhkha.  There is a lot of stuff that just isn’t within my control and wishing and hoping and praying ain’t gonna make it so.  Accept what you SEE and KNOW to be true and the fear begins to dissipate.  We all end up in the same place in the end.

Accept the inevitability of  life/death/time/change.  It’s amazing how clearly you begin to see.

Morbid? No.  Freeing?  Yes.  “It is what it is”, friends.

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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