Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Afraid Of Our Own Shadows

We live in a world in which many people are pre-occupied and in many cases even obsessed with safety and security. One of the great ironies to me is that most of the pre-occupation and obsession seems to be coming from the most safe and secure places in the world, western industrialized nations. And some would say most westerners are safe and secure as a result of our attention and efforts to be so. 

Even so, we still aren't satisfied. We continually build more walls, create more rigid borders, develop more stringent security screenings, install more alarm systems and firewalls, and retreat more and more into private bastions. What does it mean to be safe and secure, anyway, and what are we afraid of?

Mostly we are afraid of each other, which really means we are afraid of ourselves. Because most of us can't bear to face our own fears, insecurities, anger, deficiencies, and violent tendencies, we project them on other people. 

This morning I got the following quote in a daily email I receive:

No one can develop alone. Now relationship is possible only through the contact of inner worlds. We meet through our inner worlds. To understand another you must enter into his inner world but this is not possible if you have not entered your own inner world. The first step therefore towards entering consciously into and understanding the position of another is attained through entering into and understanding the position of oneself and unless this step is taken, to as full a degree as is possible, there is little or no possibility of entering into and understanding the position of another person.  
~ Maurice Nicoll   (Inward Outward

Perhaps at the core of our personal and collective insecurity is that too many people in the world are afraid of our own shadows.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Infinite Sum Thinking

Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’   ~ 1 Kings 19:11-13

Last week I wrote about "One Little Voice" and how a child's "good morning" reminded me of the One Eternal Presence of "kindness and connection" aka, love.

Today I'm wondering and struggling with how to hear the little voices of love on a more consistent basis while all of the big voices of fear seem to be sucking the energy out of the air. Is it possible to be responsibly engaged and at the same time be healthily detached?

Perhaps I'm caught in the "zero sum" paradigm that so dominates much of our thinking. It says there is a finite amount of everything rather than infinite possibilities within everything. Zero sum tells me there is only so much energy, either positive or negative, to be had and if fear breathes it all in, then love is left gasping. Zero sum thinking focuses on scarcity.

"Infinite sum" thinking, on the other hand, says there is enough of everything. Infinite sum focuses on abundance. Regardless of how loud and big the voices of fear may be, they do not diminish the infinite capacity for kindness, connection, and love.

If the big loud voice of fear seems to be taking all of the air and energy, remember, we have a choice between scarcity and abundance. Be assured, there is still more than enough love to overcome fear. 

Little voices of of the world - take a deep breath of kindness and connection and fill the air with love.   


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

One Little Voice

Yesterday while out for my early morning walk I met a woman on a bicycle. Behind her bike was a teardrop shaped trailer, the kind designed to carry small children.  I said, "Good morning."  She replied as well, "Good morning." Then from the trailer came a small, sweet voice, "Good morning!"

For a brief moment, and even now as I recall it, that innocent, joyful "Good morning!" brings me to a place where the worries and fears of the world fade into and the interconnected, interdependence of One Eternal Presence in which we all have being. One little voice reminds me that we are One Human Family, One Planet, One Creation.

I'm also reminded that had I not spoken, that melodious voice would have remained silent and unheard. I hope that one day in the future when someone casually greets the owner of that one little voice they will recall a primal memory of kindness and connection when someone said to them, "Good morning."

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Going To Seed

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
~ The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

I awaken this morning with "Humpty Dumpty" on my mind, probably because so much seems to be coming apart around us.

The past two weeks I have reflected on language and facts as two areas of our lives where this dynamic of "coming apart" is happening. Today my mind is on community. 

Somehow or other we seem to have lost a sense of the common good in today’s world.  A few years ago I came up with my own phrase to describe this dynamic. I call it “individual rationalism gone to seed.”

When a fruit or vegetable goes to seed it comes apart and is scattered around. In many ways this seems to be what has happened to the idea of individual freedom and individual rights introduced to the Western World back in the seventieth and eightieth centuries by Decarte, Rousseu, Locke, Jefferson, Adams and others.  By the way all of these who we revere as "founding fathers" were in their twenties and thirties when they began to change the world.

Laced throughout the individualism of these people and their philosophies is the concept of common good and common cause. Along with individual freedom also comes individual responsibility. Individual rights do not mean doing anything we please as long as it doesn’t harm someone else, but rather recognizing the inherent worth of individual people, recognizing everyone’s contribution to the common good which forms culture, society, or community.

We discover in our Christian Scriptures, especially in the letters of Paul, that the early communities trying to follow Jesus were having some of the same problems as we seem to have today. They were finding it difficult to live in community. Too many members of the community were confusing their part with the whole. Paul reminds the Followers of Jesus in Corinth that a community of Faith is made up of many different people with different interests, perspectives, talents, and passions – all for the common good.

Self-interests and special-interests have fractured and divided the world in which we live. Instead of practicing the same kinds of divisions people and communities of faith are called to be a shinning example of how the worth and talents of individuals work together for the common good of all.  In Christianity we call this the Body of Christ. Some simply call it the Human Family.

The world as we have known it is coming apart and going to seed. History tells us it always does. And the challenge is always the same. In order to form new community, which seeds do we nurture - greed, hatred, prejudice, and isolation; or generosity, love, kindness, and inclusion?