Friday, March 25, 2011
With all the craziness in the world – the wars and ever-present political upheaval, the economic hardships and social disagreements – it seems selfish to focus on the self. Who has the right (or the spiritual band-width) to focus on the individual when the whole world is going to hell in the often mentioned but never sighted hand-basket? While banding together and acting as a unit seems like the appropriate course – all hands on deck and all that – units are comprised of individuals. If we all rise or go down together, surely we must recognize that the ‘all’ is made up of tiny bits of ‘me’.
And not just the ‘me’ that goes to the supermarket, funds a retirement plan, complains about the potholes, snarls at the local news, has babies, wonders where the dreams went, and waits for the end times. No, the ‘me’ that came into the world with some kind of purpose and personal power – assuming that such a ‘me-being’ could perceive its own light.
So what about all the individuals that make up ‘us’ – that is, make the world go round, spawn the wars and economic schemes and personal disagreements that flow down all those dark rivers to the seas of discontent, that care about me and mine and maybe the tribe if it makes sense (that is, profits) me and mine? What about all the individuals who focus on beauty and clothes, bank accounts and jewels, affiliations and social status, race and creed? What about all the down-trodden who have not yet realized that they aren’t going to get a break – ever – regardless of what the teacher said in elementary school?
What about the kids who are bullied because they are attracted to someone of the same sex, or a different religion or race? What about all the teachers who want to be able to support their families by teaching other people’s kids? What about all steel workers who saw their parents raise their families on a living wage, only to be told that ‘outcome’ is now nothing more than a dream? What about all the artists, poets, musicians, comedians, lecturers, and philosophers who found a spark within, nurtured it, committed to it, only to be told that the new economic reality has no room for their gifts?
What about the lovers who seek someone – anyone – to share a life, a heart, a meal, a morning, only to be dissuaded by the drive for physical perfection and emotional disengagement? What about the spiritualists who are laughed at for believing that there must be something more than material scorecards?
What about the children? What about the children who believe that we know everything? That we are the fonts of wisdom, the lights that illuminate the roads they travel, that we are the leaders who know what is important and right, that we will never harm them or lead them astray, that we are the protectors of the good?
What about the children?
And. what about us?
We are given lives. And while we think they are given without strings attached, these lives come with reinforced spider webs attached. Do do do. Be be be. Act act act. Feel feel feel. Ignore, fail, compromise, lie down. Expectations. Biases. Fears. Hatreds. Preferences. Bargains. We are wrapped in cocoons that circumscribe our lives. We do not even know or feel when these attachments affix themselves. And we want to be so strong. We want to be so good and right. We want to fulfill. We want to resist the darkness. We want to be perfect.
But we can’t.
We can’t because we don’t know. We can’t because we don’t see. We don’t know that nothing is perfect. We don’t see that nothing is perfect unless we accept ourselves. Until we accept ourselves. Until we look into our own personal mirrors, into our own personal eyes, into our own personal souls, and decide to be content with what we see staring back at our own perfect selves.
Because the only perfection is the light that shines within.