“We are the 100 percent, performing our unique roles in some cosmic, karmic drama whose outcome and purpose lie forever beyond our understanding. In other words, we’re all in this together….
“…The Hindu master Ramana Maharshi put it even more starkly. When asked how one ought to treat others, he replied, ‘There are no others.’”
–Darrin Drda at RealitySandwich.com
“Pray as if all depends on God and act as if all depends on you.” –as quoted by Alan Cohen in his newsletter
“As a cautious optimystic, I say that contrary to the way things appear, the sky is not falling. It only looks that way because we are ascending. Yes, thanks to the evolutionary upwising and the recently declared state of emerge ‘n see (where we emerge from fear and separation and see how we are connected), we humans are better able to rise to the occasion than ever before.“
“May we cohere as a species around uncommon common sense and the virtues and values the vast majority of us hold in common. May we use our polarities as a dynamo to evolve in a spiral instead of going around in circles.” –Swami Beyondananda
“If you come from a negative place, you’ll never accomplish very much, but if you start out positive, you will see the possibilities.” –Rey Garduno, Albuquerque city councilor, at a recent “Rebuild the Dream” meeting
[11/15/11 Since I wrote this, we’ve had an intense couple of days of protesters being arrested in cities around the country. In New York City, members of the press were prevented from reporting on the fray, and some were even roughed up and/or arrested themselves. It ain’t easy taking action at the moment, at least this kind of action. But if you mess with reporters, they immediately go off and report on it. There is pushback from the protesters and at least one judge, too. Interesting times. Stay tuned.]
Recently I found myself in the midst of a controversy between some friends about how best to respond to all the evils in the world. One side held that God has everything under control and everything is already perfect, and all we need is to realize that– we don’t need to do anything. The other felt that we should be doing everything we can with our own thoughts and intentions to make positive change. I often find myself focused on actions in the physical realm, despite my spiritual bent. What path should we choose among those options?
I’ve touched on these issues in my previous posts “How I Know the Material World Isn’t” and “Everything is OK. No, Really.” I know that the “real” world of matter is largely (if not entirely) illusory and that what is actually going on is behind or beneath what we normally perceive. That’s been more than adequately proven to me. Everything is ultimately in the mind, or rather, in Mind, which is fundamental. Yet, the suffering that exists here on the Earth plane is real indeed, and by failing to act appropriately, we may contribute to that suffering. We are here on this planet for some reason; this reality cannot be completely unimportant or irrelevant. Even if Earth is only a school, as is so often said, it behooves us to do well in our classes.
Regarding the issue of God having everything in hand, I always come back to the saying, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” Again, I don’t see a point in our being in this world if we do not take any action.
Some people’s version of taking action is to pray and meditate unceasingly, in a monastic setting or otherwise. I can’t argue with that, and it seems quite possible that their mental energy is providing some kind of fuel or support for the rest of us. Still, I’m not sure why one would want to waste the opportunity of living and acting in this world, during the brief span that one spends here in each lifetime. There is plenty of time for contemplation outside of Earth life, isn’t there?
A couple of people wiser than I have helped me begin to find my way through these questions. One was my daughter, Lenore, who pointed out that when people take visible actions, as she has with the Occupy movement, that provides an example of what can be accomplished, and gives our intentions a focus. If nothing public was done, those ideas might never appear in other people’s minds for their thoughts to work with.
The other smart apple was someone a bit more remote. As I was beginning to outline this post, I received an e-mail about a new book by Michael Cocks, an Anglican clergyman in New Zealand. During the 1970s, Rev. Cocks was part of a group that received communications from an entity who claimed to be St. Stephen the Martyr. Stephen’s eloquent teachings happened to touch directly upon the paradox I was trying to write about:
“We have talked of self-determination, perfection and of the acceptance of all things as they are. It could be interpreted, were we not careful, that on one hand we may have foolhardy activity and, upon the other, negligent apathy. We should follow the middle path and that is the acceptance of our experience and what we ask for in our prayers.”
Without claiming to be personally in control of the world, we can take responsibility for the part we play in it. To say that we are the 100% (which I wish I’d thought of myself!) is not to excuse wrongdoers or to blame victims, but to recognize that we are all cells in the body politic, neurons in the brain of all humanity, and we have all had a hand in the creation of the present reality. When we take responsibility, we take back our power.
I’m impressed with St. Stephen, but the person I’m choosing as my main guide through the current “shift hitting the fan” is Swami Beyondananda, who recommends that we all gather under one big intent for a general upwising. I’ll be there.
Some sources for further contemplation:
Darrin Drda’s blog: http://www.realitysandwich.com/we_are_100_percent_mettatation_masses_1
St. Stephen: http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaelcocks/entry/what_could_be_queerer_than_talking_with_the_spirit_of_stephen_the_martyr/
Swami Beyondananda’s Om Page: www.wakeuplaughing.com.
The Swami’s alter ego, Steve Bhaerman, co-authored Spontaneous Evolution with Bruce Lipton, and Reuniting America with Joseph McCormick.
Lynn McTaggart’s blog, with a list of sensible suggestions: http://www.lynnemctaggart.com/blog/144-my-wish-list-for-main-street
Here are some books recommended by the Economic Reform Advocacy Group at Albuquerque’s First Unitarian Church. I haven’t read them, but they sound potentially useful, so I’m going to include them:
After Capitalism by David Schweickart
Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future by Robert Reich
Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth by David C. Korten
Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World Is Possible by John Cavanagh and Jerry Mander [hey, is that his real name?]
Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country by Thom Hartmann