Interesting Times Call for More Appropriate Practices
I’m loving this quote right now…. and I’m sure its not just men that he’s referring to…. the Dali Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
And perhaps we could add to that, that during his life he doesn’t truly appreciate the pure quality of what is right in front of his eyes… whatever it is...
Right now is a very interesting time… and right here in New Zealand it’s not exactly boring. Quite the opposite in fact. No, instead, since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on September 4th last year we have had thousands of aftershocks, and another huge town-destroying shake, with displacement of thousands and thousands of people. People in Christchurch have been experiencing loss and upheaval for well over a year now.
I can’t imagine that sort of loss, and even with firsthand accounts from Christchurch locals that I know and love, as well as pictures and video footage, I still can’t imagine what it would be like to be living in such fundamental uncertainty for a week or a month, let alone for a year and more. The adrenal fatigue that could generate in the parasympathetic nervous system of the collectives’ fight and flight response could be massive.
But I hear stories of people joining together to eat meat from their freezers in the streets that they share their broken homes and frazzled nerves, finding salvation in each others broken open heart. Other stories of people leaving their homes and their jobs, unable to handle the stress in knowing that the ground could open up again, at any moment, and that any movement could open into another life threatening situation. Some see it as opportunity and change, a great shake-out of what no longer applies, a chance to do things differently. Other people are becoming clearer on what it is in life that they can personally change, rein in or step up to. Others, are just plain lost. Still others finding new found compassion and gratitude.
Such chaos is nudging people to move themselves into situations that will work better for them, and the world, and often in ways that might have never have been realized otherwise. It seems that Universe is just nudging, and sometimes violently pushing, us into different situations, forcing us to grow, outside our comfort zones.
Balance and equanimity are a force that will ensue it’s goal and deeper purpose in life for, deep down in our unconscious awareness, it is a force with which to be reckoned in each of us. And collectively it is slowly, surely, deeply pulsing its way, propelling us each into situations that challenge in areas we need to open up into, embrace, and let go - both individually and collectively - as we transcend and include that which comes along the path in life.
It doesn’t stop. You can’t choose to include them and not them, him and not her, this country and not that country, this water and not that water…… It doesn’t reach a point where we can go “oh great, here I am, I’ve got everything just how I want it… time for a cocktail on the beach…….”
No, the beach, the beautiful long, white sandy beach, in Tauranga, is currently experiencing the brunt of New Zealands most significant ever Maritime environmental disaster in the form of 200 – 300 tonnes, and counting, of toxic oil leaking from a container ship that ran itself into our beautiful reef. Wft was that ship doing so many kilometres off course… were they drunk? Or was it Universe waking us up a little more? I'm a little too personally bewildered at the 'close to home' proximity of this particular 'man made' disaster/wake up call that will effect my home town on all levels from economic to ecological - and everything in between - to comment much further about this one right now.
And as if earthquakes and oil leaks weren't enough at the same time, the greater Tauranga area and around the country also has the “disease-haunted” kiwi fruit industry, which earned New Zealand $1.5 billion in export returns last year, taking a pounding with half the countries orchards being in a “priority zone” for monitoring and 10% (could be more by now) already confirmed infected with Psa-V – an infectious disease invading its way around our planets crops. This is creating a tidal wave of redundancies and bankruptcy’s across the industry – again dramatically changing the lives of thousands of people. Again, very close to home pushing away at me and nudging me into the knowlege, that nothing in our precious world from little me and my beautiful family to the big wide Universe and galaxy beyond, can be taken for granted.
There is always room to expand our perspective and deepen our gratitude for what we have right now... we can look at things laterally and view things from another place... it's not the expanse of our view that matters so much, more it's whether it limits or serves. And for those of us that have skipped out the individual in favor of the universal, and vice versa... I must say here, that we cannot skip out either. Families and community make the world go round. Everything starts in our own backyard. I love my family and I love my home town, I love this country and I treasure our planet... and I too can be a lot more gracious than I am...
So again I think of the Dali Lama’s quote about the nature of humanity: that we live as if we are never going to die, then die having never really lived….
And I wonder how much longer we’re going to do this?
Then I realize that around the world, in different countries and cultures, ethnicities and sex, we each have very different perspectives on what it means to live; what is ethically and morally correct as well as ecologically intelligent. In the end, as in everything, it comes down to different developmental levels …. and its not something people at the lower levels of development can comprehend - they’re too busy circumcising 6,000 female toddlers every day of the year and telling them that they are impure unless their genitals are removed and their exterior sewn up for their husband to violently open on their wedding night (when they finally reach the grand age of about thirteen). And yes this is a practice that is happening on our planet still today... in 2011.
So again I'm reminded how deeply grateful I can be for being born to a beautiful country full of opportunity for growth as is New Zealand.
Yet haven't we come a long way in a short time also… Wasn't it less than 50 years ago that women got the vote and colored people could ride the same bus and poop in the same loo as white.
Surely if we are to fully live, we might start living as if we are going to die, appreciating every moment of manifestation and dissolution, creation and destruction… knowing that this too will pass … and in that way, while alive, we might treat the planet and it’s precious human and animal occupants as if we are going to live forever.
In the words of Anodea Judith... "moving from the love of power, to the power of love" is quite literally our only hope... for indeed such interesting times call for more appropriate practices.
One way proven to help us accelerate through the levels of development, deepen our capacity for love and broaden our world view is meditation. Sitting quietly concentrating on bringing your mind to a single point of focus, whether it be gazing at a candle, counting in cycles from 1 - 10, repeating a mantra or deeply listening to the sounds around you, for just 15 - 20 minutes a day is a good start. It will contribute not only to your own sanity and peace, but also to that of the collective mind. For more information on meditation please refer to my other website. You can also see this page here for upcoming workshops designed to awaken, heal and integrate on all levels of mind, body, heart and soul.
Om shanti Om peace