THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

 

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It’s hard to ignore. It’s always there. Lately, it seems to have taken on its own individual consciousness, become a self-aware, self-determined entity. Race. The idea that we are somehow inherently, and completely separated by the hue of our skin, our culture or religion. This soon led to the idea that we are genetically predisposed to a life with or without privilege, rights or dignity allotted to others of “normal” predisposition. Then came the belief that some are “human” while others are “less than human”. Even the term, “race” implies competition or a subsequent hierarchy inherent in the human species. Is the idea of “Race” a form of consciousness? Is it something that arose of itself or something that we breathed life into? Perhaps it is both. Perhaps it is a consciousness or an aberration thereof that we have allowed to flourish. In light of recent news events perhaps its prevalence is yet another alarm bell, an awakening siren, beckoning us to evolve a consciousness that has been stagnant for a millennia. What if the day comes when we finally realize that race is an idea that we created and in the grand scheme of things really does not exist? What if we finally realized that the only race is human, and that we have been killing ourselves all along? What if we developed true empathy, which extended beyond the idea of race, culture and religion? How would the world change?

 

For centuries, it seems, man has found one reason or another to annihilate himself. Land, money, power, fueled all sorts of horrors for the corporeal pursuits that lead to the elevation of self and ego. Later the pursuit of money became the virtue of the centuries. Empathy, however, could never be a part of this process. If you truly saw yourself in someone else, much like you see yourself in your child’s eyes, you could not destroy their way of life. One could not kill another’s child if they too had a child, right?. How could they? Well, I guess they could if their empathy bubble only extended to their child. If I were a sociopath my respect for life would only extend to my nose. You would be no more than a walking piece of meat, one that I mastered interacting with but could kill with no emotion. Sounds psychopathic? I guess it would depend on the extent of my empathy. What if my empathy extended past my nose to my family, kids, husband, but only that far? Is everyone else a piece of meat? Ok, then, how about extending it out to everyone that looks similar to me? That would mean I only valued another’s life if they looked similar in some way  to me. Is that psychopathic, or is it only psychopathic when it extends to just me? Are there degrees of crazy?

 

Maybe it’s not degrees of crazy but degrees of evolution. Maybe at one time in my evolution I was only able to extend my bubble to myself. Then later to my family. Then later to those that looked similar to me. But, what’s after that? Perhaps it would extend to those that are human. Then to all entities that are consciously, (no matter the degree), aware.  Then maybe go even further, to that which does not even resemble my idea of a life form, say the planet. How would the world look to one such as me? Would I be cool, with say, a zoo? Would oil spills concern me? Could I discern between a criminal and a bikini clad 15-year-old girl? Would I rush to shoot an unarmed teenager to death if first I saw myself in him? My child in him? Would I applaud the curing of a dog with Ebola while others were dying awaiting that cure? Would I allow Ebola to be a problem at all if I had the means to prevent it?  This lack of empathy appears to play a central role in most of the planets ills. This inability to connect, to see the connection to everything passed our noses is more than a psychosis; it’s an evolutionary stumbling block.

 

It seems to me that all the eco systems of the world survive by relying on their components cooperation.  Each member of that system works in harmony with the next.  It is only when something comes in and dominates the resources, hoarding them from the rest of the system, that the system suffers and dies. It’s as if the eco system is aware of its existence and the species within it are innately aware of their connection. When I look at the world today I see a lack of this connection, mostly on the side of the humans. I see a planet once teaming with species suddenly in the grips of an extinction.  I see a blatant disregard for our place in the ecosystem, or maybe an unrealized place.  I see an ever-present blindness to the lives of other people by people for no other reason than “those people” sit way outside of their empathy bubble.  I see an inability to discern, based in this blindness, that leads to the death of innocent children, unarmed men, and helpless homeless people.  I see a preponderance of fear generated by the inability to see ourselves in ourselves.  I see  spiritually un-evolved man.

Consciousness evolution, I believe, is mans next evolutionary step.  In order to achieve this, however, we must first realize that we are un-evolved, making us unaware of our unified consciousness.  Race, sex, and religion are all carefully manufactured labels, giving us the illusion of separateness.  We are each other, and  we are a part of a living entity;  the planet we occupy. It is easy to see that we have not evolved in this way for thousands of years and the planet and its inhabitants have suffered greatly because of it. Our technology is evolving much more rapidly.  Perhaps it was not diverted from its evolutionary path. Some say in the future our technology will become consciously aware. I wonder what that will be like. It’s already connected.

Namaste

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The Wink

God the Father 01Who is God, or better yet, (and even more profound), ‘what’ is He?  The other day as I sat on my deck contemplating the meaning of the present moment, I thought about my first glimpse at ‘something’ that unbeknownst to me at the time, would be the starting point of my spiritual journey in later years.  I didn’t know it then but what I experienced was a ‘wink’, a hint of things to come, things that at that time I had not even begun to contemplate.  That one moment changed the way I viewed my existence, and over the years validated my latent awe at something, which prior to that seemed so trivial.  Why I received the ‘wink’ then I am not sure, but I remember it often when I find myself caught in the drudgery of a material based existence, and frustrated with my identification with it.

I was young.  Not that I am old now, but younger at that time.  My son was maybe 3 years old and I was living in a small 2 bedroom house with my mother in the city.  Our lives were hectic.  I worked ungodly shifts at the hospital while my mom tried to make a comfortable home for me and my son.  Money wasn’t a problem since our expenses were relatively low, but time was a commodity.  Mom sometimes worked as a substitute teacher and tutor for math so she kept a lot of math materials around the house.  One day she brought home this gigantic poster of numbers; the multiplication table, starting with 1 x1 and ending with 12 x12.  The numbers were a bright orange on a black background of tiny stars.  She hung it on the wall of our computer room, which was more like an unused hallway lined with book shelves, a tiny desk, and of course a computer.  At night when I couldn’t sleep, I would go into the tiny darkened room and web surf.

Multiplication

One night, I got up to do my usual surfing when the computer suddenly went down, (the blue screen of death they called it), so I turned it off to reboot.  Awaiting the reboot I swung around my chair and stared up at the wall behind me.  There, in the darkness stood the bright orange numbers of the table, appearing to hover in space.  As I looked at them, I noticed immediately the pattern that emerged. The numbers complemented each other in every direction; up, down, left, right, they seemed to add up and form a pattern no matter how I looked at them.  I forgot about the computer and stared at the table in awe of the patterns and how the numbers interacted so logically.  Now, I know I had seen this many times before, but this time I saw something different.  This time I saw intelligence.  My mind shifted.

You see, the numbers weren’t really what I was looking at.  It was the “that” behind them.  The numbers themselves were not ‘things’. Sure they could apply to things; cars, apples, oranges, but they themselves were not ‘things’.  Yet, they had a pattern, a direction, and a ‘formlessness’ that I had never seen before.  Though they applied to everything, they weren’t anything.  My body went numb. Wink!

I think of that moment often, and search for it even more.  I saw something, something real, yet not a ‘thing’ at all.  Something unimaginable for me at the time, but a little closer to me now.  The labels we apply to ‘It’ may be our way of relating to ‘It’, or pointing to ‘It’ from where we are. We even try to personify ‘It’, quantify ‘It’, and attribute things to ‘It’, but what ‘It’ is still eludes us.  All I know is that ‘It’, ‘God’, ‘Consciousness’ only points the way, never describes. You cannot name, describe, or quantify that which is not a thing, yet how then can we know ‘It’?  I guess we have to look closely, step outside this material box, and recognize the wink.  Trick is, you can’t always see it  just by looking with your eyes.  The formless you intuitively glimpse, then feel, like a breeze brushing your soul.

Namaste

A Nod and a Wink

As Above, So Below…

Image detail of the Mandelbrot set.

Image detail of the Mandelbrot set. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was on the phone the other day talking with a friend. We were discussing the pitfalls of our jobs, (we are both nurses), and how we would love to do something different, being thoroughly disillusioned over the years. My son overheard this conversation, and after I got off the phone with my friend, asked me why I became a nurse in the first place. I told him because I didn’t want to be a stock broker. Now, before I get any angry comments about the virtues of a stock broker, I just want to say that I am sure there are some virtuous stock brokers out there whose goal is to work for the common good. However, during the time when I was choosing my career, I felt that I wanted to do something that was innately ‘altruistic’ that helped people during a difficult time in their lives. Appearing as the Kings and Queens of materialism, I thought a stock broker’s goal was to make money at all cost, sacrificing ethics and morality for the bottom line. Seeing the many documentaries on the subject, I concluded that success at such a cost was not success at all, but an illusion propagated on greed and short shortsightedness. Nursing, on the other hand, would ensure that most if not all of my colleagues would be like minded, filled with the desire to express compassion to strangers, being free of that type of self-serving inhumanity. Needless to say, I was very naive.

Group of nurses, Base Hospital #45

I’ve worked as a nurse for many years, at large state of the art hospitals, and small community ones.  I have taken care of the rich, the poor, the old and the not too young, (babies are not my thing), the sick and the dying.  I’ve accumulated a variety of skills and met even more people, but one thing has stood out to me all these years regarding a profession I somehow deemed as virtuous: nurses are mean as hell to other nurses!  Now, that may not sound like an issue, but believe me it is.  There have even been task forces established to eliminate what they are calling ‘on the job bullying’ or ‘lateral violence’.  I have seen nurses leave the job crying.  I have seen what they refer to as ‘cliques’, who totally devalue a nurse’s worth.  I have seen nurses lose their jobs over vicious gossip and be maliciously ‘discredited’ to others because of jealousy or position.  How then can a profession whose cornerstone is compassion and altruism, who was founded by the likes of Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa, be filled with such malice and unethical behavior?  The same reason fire fighters, postal workers, doctors, cashiers, waitresses, teachers, church officials, and ultimately, stock brokers are; the culture is unethical, not the professions.

Stock Market

We live in the society of ‘me’, a kind of malignant duality or separateness.  We would like to think that we are compassionate, but in reality our compassion is relative.  Our culture teaches us that in order to survive we must ‘one-up’ the next guy, discredit them, compete with them, be they a friend or unknown.  It becomes necessary that we ‘win’ at all cost reaping the benefits for all to see and admire.  How we do this is not important, though treachery is acceptable and often respected. This is success.   The other guy is of no consequence.  Material gain is the ultimate goal; the house, the car, the kid’s education, all of these being legitimate reasons to use unethical means to obtain what is wanted or needed.  Of course we don’t say it or even think it, but we do it with without hesitance.  This behavior has been modeled to us time and again, until we have adopted it.   If you look closely, things have been done this way on a larger scale for millennia.  People pushed out of their lands, their resources stolen, medical care denied, all for the profit of a group of individuals.  Big businesses doing what they want, despite the outcries of the people they are negatively affecting.  A country has something of value, we go in and take it, and then we use all manner of excuses as to why it was ‘a good thing’ as oppose to unethical and immoral.   We live in an unethical culture, one that has been so for some time.  We see it on a larger scale and cry out how bad it is, but we mimic it on our jobs, on the playground, in the grocery store.  That’s why, in a job built on compassion you see the characteristics of a culture whose goal is anything but.  Stockbroking isn’t an unethical job, no more than a gun can kill a person, but in the wrong hands even nursing can be dangerous.

New York City

It took me some 20 years and 5 hospitals to realize this.  I also realize what Jesus was trying to tell us when he said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Makes sense to me now. Our hearts become as cold and presumably lifeless as the things we long to possess. The fear of not having or achieving the material stuff that brings no real joy, is temporary, and fragile, leads to unethical actions, the destruction of peoples, and ultimately the earth. Enlightenment, on the other hand, cannot be touched, and the whole world benefits, even the guy next to you. Man’s enlightenment is going to mean the breakdown and dissolution of a culture that perpetuates this malignant type of separateness and duality which breeds immoral and unethical behavior.  One has to look closely at one’s life to see the influences of this culture—very close.  Where does our inner allegiance lie?  Do we extol the aggressive jerk, or the spiritual passavist?  Do we get joy from watching someone fail, or do we try and help them?  Do we applaud someone’s success, or do we find ways to discredit what they did?  These things happen everywhere, regardless of profession. It is not unlike a cancer, affecting every aspect of the bodies functioning until death.  I have come to believe it is systemic, replicating itself from top to bottom not unlike the Mandelbrot Set. As above so below.

I don’t know how long I will be in nursing, but I think I will attempt to help people, on some level, for a lifetime. Perhaps I will find a profession which is not so influenced by the culture, perhaps not. It does help that I am at least aware of what I am dealing with, as awareness acutely changes your perspective. Once you are aware you cannot take offence with the sleeping cultural giant. After all, that’s ultimately what it is—-asleep.

“There’s only one of us here…”

Namaste

The central endpoint of the "seahorse tai...

 

Manifesting Reality

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

Sounded really bazaar to me at first.  How a person could manifest their reality based on thought and intention.  I’ve read from countless spiritual gurus on how this was possible, and even researched the possibility scientifically.  Quantum physics points to the fact that reality is only real if a conscious observer is present to observe it.  Could this be true?  Are we, every day, manifesting our own reality?  Through thought and intention are we creating our experiences and our life on this planet?  If that is the case then reality is much more peculiar than we imagined.  Perhaps everything we see and experience is the product of our consciousness, or better yet, collective will.  Perhaps we do create, as we are born in the likeness of, as many religions state, our father.  I had an experience that caused me to look deeper into reality, seeing the obvious that was always there trying to reveal itself.

As I said in my last post, I had the opportunity to go on a nature trip on which I saw the most magnificent forms of nature this planet has to offer.  Before I went on the trip I researched it, coming across countless pictures of the area that I was to visit.  One picture held my attention.  It was the picture of a waterfall, and the paved path that led to it, giving the hiker an astounding view.  I was in awe of this picture hoping to someday stand on that path and feel the spray of the water.  I would walk on my treadmill for 30 minutes every day anticipating the hike to the waterfall and picturing it in my mind.  As I pictured it, a particular song would come into queue on my headphones lulling me into the cascading water, the picture taking on a kind of life.  I thought of being happy and with my family as we walked the path.

A month passed and we were finally on our way.  I didn’t know the name of the water fall I had pictured, nor did I know the name of the one I was beginning my hike to.  It turns out we hiked up the back road through a forested area that ended with the falls.  They were two tiered, emerging first from high in the cliff then again from a lower point.  It was spectacular.  After viewing them for some time, we descended the front trail taking us to a paved path leading away from the falls.  My headphones on, they began playing the song.  It was then I turned.  I stood exactly where I had imagined on the treadmill a month ago, the song lulling me into the spectacular cascading view I longed for.  I was there, with my family, happy and laughing.

Did I manifest this reality?  One could say, of course. You planned the trip and made it possible. However, it wasn’t that easy.  Many events took place prior to the trip that belied my going.  My choice to go despite what appeared insurmountable made the trip possible.  I chose to see myself and my family there.  As one of my favorite songs says “..like it was made for you”.

English: The Antennae Galaxies in Collision, H...

What if it’s all made for us?  What if we manifest all that we experience and see, that nothing exists without our conscious observation?  Many a guru has alluded to this and so does quantum physics.  What if together, as a collective consciousness, we made that waterfall or perhaps perpetuated it based on the initial conscious viewers perspective?  If this is true, then the world does not have to be as it is now. We do not have to be victims of a world outside of us, for we can change at any time what we see.  The media, then, is a strong tool.

I stepped outside of myself for a moment, and saw something miraculous.  I stood there at the base of the waterfall and sensed that I had somehow created it.  My perspective, intention, and choice working together to create that moment.  What other things in my life could I create, or have created?  We are more than what we think we are.  We are more than outsiders to this reality.  We are more than reactionary beings responding to a world disconnected from us.  We are creators, very much a part of what we create.  A shudder struck my body as if a door opened, just a crack.  The song continued to play in my ear;

”…I can show you how many moves to checkmate, right now”

One Republic

Namaste

meditation

My Noisy Meditation

Sometimes I yell at myself.

Meditation has always been a problem for me.  Finding a quiet   place. Sitting comfortably.  Breathing and quieting the mind of all the days clutter.  Big problem.  Not the finding a quiet place part, the freeing or quieting of the mind part.  It seems my mind is always moving.  I think of the days triumphs and disasters, (more so the latter), and the up and coming issues that have not yet revealed themselves.  I hear the sounds of my environment that normally do not invade my senses like a herd of cattle.  My mind behaves much like a monkey, dancing and screaming, calling attention to every nuance, never allowing me to experience that quiet solace so often talked about.  Until just the other day, and oddly following what I believed to be a fruitless attempt, I realized that the noise and clammer that so distracted me was actually part of the meditation itself.

As I sat there and contemplated the noise that raged through my environment, a thought arose; how could I know the silence without the noise?  I pondered that for a moment, almost relinquishing it to as yet another distraction.  Then I realized that all of this existence comes from the silence.   All the noise, the children on the playground down the street, the birds chirping above my head, the knock of a woodpecker on the face of the tree in front of me, all emerge from the same silence that, to my surprise, sits just beneath the clammer.  There, just after the passing car, sits the silence, the place from which all things emerge, even the space through which they travel.  I turned my attention to that space, that place of quiet awareness.  No thing was there, you see, only the awareness of being, the silent watcher that allowed it all to be.  I waited each time I heard a sound for the silence to reveal itself.  There, in the blade of grass.  There, in the calm behind the wind.  There, in the space behind my thoughts.  For at once, all of it manifested from nothing, or something, that only existed as awareness.

My attempt at meditation ceased as I looked deeper for that which existed even behind the attempt.  There I found what could not be described. That which was also myself without the trappings of form and sound.  That which permeates all things and is all things.  My heart exploded into a joy that I cannot explain.

Meditation

Now when I meditate I do not fear the sound, the noise, or the distraction, for they help me to experience that from which they come.  Perhaps my life also mirrors this.  To see, one must first be blind.  To know, one must first be ignorant.  To feel, one must first be without sensation.  To be, one must first not be.   I think from now on I will keep my cup empty and be glad and excited.  As for meditation, I can’t wait.  Bring on the noise.

Namaste

Flower photo