From This Place
Like most of those living in this world, I have one mind, only two eyes, and some small ability to communicate. And, like most living in the West, there is television, advertising, “the next big thing”, and the constant demand for each moment to be better than the last.
While I speak often of the possibility to change the world with only a smile, the possibility is slim. If I speak of loving others, it may only be because I desire love. As for kindness, the giving may only serve to satisfy the chaos in my mind which desperately needs grace.
Gratitude is offered as payment. Meditation is just one more way to be in a moment other than the one that exists. Encouragement is supplied to others based on what I am struggling with, more than on what others need. The name of the divine is invoked to inspire change, rather than to allow the divine a place to work in the world.
These are thoughts for the bleak days. The days when I suspect my motives, worry for my intent, and struggle to find what is real in the world.
The truth is this. There is no truth in the world. There are things that are true, but there is no truth. With this, I should mention, that I have never encouraged anyone to find their own truth. One’s own truth is simply a compilation of small lies, told to satisfy the human mind when it wanders into the mind of God.
When we experience the divine, which cannot be explained, we immediately seek to know how it relates to our lives. We want to know how we should process the meaning. How we might recreate what we have found. In this moment, we take a thing that cannot be known, reduce it to what we need at the moment, and incorporate it into our small minds.
From this place, everyone is offering direction to what they know. Preachers, gurus, teachers, corporations, world leaders, internet sensations, friends, and family, all wanting to leave an imprint on the souls of others. Sometimes with good intentions and sometimes with only meeting their needs.
We seek the secrets of the universe in hopes of sharing the secrets of the universe. We offer compassion in order to satisfy our unease about our own abundance. Sad stories are met with consolation. Good stories are met with a wanting to replicate, for ourselves, the goodness found within. We accept war and the ways of the world, but demand others change the speed at which we receive our fast food.
From this place, the world, and even I, have lost our way.
Some believe the secret to progress is the clearing of our minds. Relieving ourselves of the swirling thoughts in our heads at any given moment. Others believe suffering will be consoled if what has been acquired is given away.
Non-believers blame the belief. Believers blame lack of belief. Politicians blame the politics of other politicians, religions blame the ideology of other religions, my television blames my teeth that are less than a brilliant white. The Southern Baptists blame the Free Masons and every generation blames every other generation.
We have become a world of the “if-only”s. If only I had a better job. If only my spouse really got me. When we experience some unpleasantness, if only I had gone to school or if only I chose another career. If only I had started earlier in life. If only my parents understood me as a child.
After stating there is no truth, here is a truth.
The universe is not a universe of the “if-only”. The universe is a universe of the “only if”. There will be more love, only if, we love. There will be more peace, only if, we create acts of peace. And only if we are grateful, not to repay the universe, but to nod to the mystery of the universe, will more things for which to be grateful, come into our lives.
We all have a million thoughts. We are not those thoughts. All of us have done things for which we are both ashamed and proud. We are not those deeds. At any given point, we might choose to believe the evening news, or the pulse of love beating in our veins. We may choose to worry or we may choose to create kindness.
It helps, at times, to observe our lives and actions, rather than to live our lives and actions. There is a peace that comes with knowing we are small in the world. There is also a peace in knowing that we are huge in the worlds of others. Whether we have a million friends or there is no person to call on our hard nights, when we offer love to the world, and to ourselves, the potential for positive change is manifest.
Rather than concerning ourselves with changing the world, we might consider changing ourselves. Paradoxically (such a big word), this is how we will most change the world. This is only best if we cannot satisfy our need to change the world. In the same way that we must love ourselves, before we create change in ourselves, we must love the world, before we change the world.
From this place, there is an awful lot of bitching and moaning. From this place, there are not enough poets. The creation of things has given away to usher in the critique of things. The mystery of it all, has been exchanged for the expectation of controlling the mystery of it all.
With all of these words, comes the underlying appreciation for the way life is unfolding. Songs are being sung. Babes are being born. Elders are passing into other realms. Flowers will bloom, kindnesses will be given, suns will rise and suns will set.
And you. You are the expression of all of these things, breathing in goodness and exhaling what is not needed. Changing the world for the better with each kind thought. Urging the loving of things with each smile and well-wish. Taking the experience that is uniquely yours, and creating peace in the experience of others, that is uniquely theirs.
And this, for me, is truth. This, for me, is the love of God. The compassion of the Buddha. The gospel of the Christ. That in our troubles we might find comfort, and that in our comfort, we might give good things away.