Today marks Independence Day, here in the US of A... so "Happy 4th of July!" to those of you reading these words from the US.
On a different note — and for no particular reason — I have been trying to characterize "these times in which we live," and I suppose the word that most often comes to mind is "challenging," closely followed by "exhausting."
When the pursuit of what I think of as "your essential True North" in large part centers on a drive to always do the right thing, regardless of circumstances... then the word exhausting gently floats to the top.
As we look out on the greater world, I suppose the kinds of ideological power struggles we watch unfold have always been a part of humanity's history. It's not a new thing. Consider Egyptian, Greek, Babylonian, Roman empires... as a species, we seem to have always followed some variation of a compulsion for a "the betterment of US, to the exclusion of THEM" philosophy.
Emperors, Kings and Queens used to lead their armies into battles against some (largely "unknown" — little changes, does it?) external "THEM" who seemed to represent an imminent threat to some dearly held status quo.
But who chose that stutus quo? And why did it have to rule supreme?
As I look out across this 21st century field of chaos, the only real difference I observe is our access to instant information about every jab and stab, in glorious technicolor real time.
Where news of some Middle Ages battle fought and won in a neighboring city might have taken two days by messenger riding a horse, now we get it instantly via someone's GoPro live feed.
Skeptics — and those who can't quite grasp what point I am trying to make — might simply ask "So what? As you said, nothing has changed... people have ALWAYS had to deal with this!"
As I experience it, the "so what" is psychological and perhaps even spiritual.
Receiving the news of untold horrors two days later when the horse and rider arrive to announce the great battle would undoubtedly fill you with empathy and sadness for the dead... and for some, perhaps even regret that they were not there to partake in the defense of "our ways."
But ultimately, the battle remains somewhat of an abstraction, as it didn't happen HERE, and we were busy tending the fields, or our livestock, or plying our trade. Meanwhile, the messenger was describing events from memory, not even from a photograph or written account.
Watching the battles and destruction and horrors and abuse LIVE has a different and more direct impact... an immediate sense of both anxiety and helplessness set in, and very likely those feelings are accompanied by rage and frustration.
As our brains, minds, hearts and souls "process" this information, we are no longer working with "abstractions" where we get to fill in ALL the "blanks" primarily with our imaginations.
It's NOT the same thing as a third-hand account. And it can be emotionally and spiritually crushing, as well as draining.
What's my point here? Sometimes our overall well-being — as individual persons — is actually better served by NOT KNOWING everything. Particularly when we look out across the playing field and what we seem to behold is an almost ceaseless parade of People Behaving Badly.
I used to work part-part time at a local candle and incense store, primarily to help out the owner who was battling cancer.
She had various little signs posted on displays around the store, each with some kind of wise and inspirational quote related to light and candles. However, there was a single one that has always stuck with me:
"Blowing out someone else's candle does NOT make yours burn any brighter."
I think about that, quite often.
I think about it, as I watch a world of people operating from the principle that the "solution" lies in destroying that which has hurt them, and that which is different from their own paradigms and experiences.
Politicians, Religionists, Economists, Statesmen, Races, Genders, Philosophers... it seems almost impossible to find anyone who's content to have THEIR way live peacefully side-by-side with SOMEONE ELSE's way.
Perhaps the entire world would do well to just STOP and think about the above words each time the compulsion to reactively and compulsively lash out in anger starts to surface.
What is it you actually WANT, at a deeper level? What are your true NEEDS? When you feel the urge to destroy or hurt someone/something "other," what is it you are really wanting to happen... for YOURSELF?
Thanks for reading!
How about YOU? Do you tend to "learn and move on," or are you more of an "eternal student?" Comments, feedback and other interaction is invited and welcomed! Because — after all — SOCIAL content is about interacting, right? Leave a comment — share your experiences — be part of the conversation!
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Created at 20200704 17:43 PDT