Mental health is not simply a matter of what is happening within an individual. It is also affected by our interaction with our world. Genuine, enduring mental health is a balancing act between the individual and their community. Let’s create our future with this in mind!
For my entire life pervasive, unqualified, “freedom” has been being presented as the antithesis of tyranny. It isn’t. In fact, tyranny can only arise in situations in which it has been given the freedom to do so. Freedom is, in fact, an essential precursor of tyranny.
For example, let’s look at an orchestra. An orchestra is only a thing of beauty when everyone in it is playing together as a unit, in harmony. Yes, some orchestras may present musical pieces featuring dissonance as an experiment, or as a change from their standard presentations. However, how many people would regularly attend performances to subject themselves to two or three hours of dissonance? I believe anyone doing so would be placing their mental health in serious jeopardy. If an orchestra were operating with total freedom. Imagine if every musician would show up and play something detached from the whole, something that they, as an individual, whimsically choose. It would be dissonance, chaos. Maybe the instrument capable of the most volume would dominate the scene. Or the physically strongest musician might coerce all, or most, of the others into playing what they want. That would be tyranny.
The antithesis of tyranny is cooperation, harmony. It requires the collective recognition of the importance and needs of both individuals and the “whole”. The balancing of efforts in service of a successful collective experience. This can only be truly accomplished when we, as individuals, recognize our interconnected, interdependent reality and subsequently dedicate our lives to living within a paradigm which nurtures and supports this essential nature of our reality.
In a world in which all (or at least the vast majority) of individuals, have the knowledge and wisdom to to realize and honor the mutuality, the interconnectedness of ALL of our lives, then freedom, in concert with such knowledge and individually assumed responsibility, is an essential aspect of a satisfying life. Freedom tempered with wisdom, self-regulating one’s behaviors to operate within parameters which sustain wholesome living conditions. Otherwise, freedom becomes the banner under which all manner of perversity and corruption finds expression. Imagine a body in which all the cells decide they want the freedom to act independent of, or maybe even contrary to, the good of the whole. That body is doomed.
In Washington State a State Senator recently bemoaned the ongoing nature of the special emergency powers ceded by the Legislature to Governor Inslee. This is a very important, very timely issue. It appears that on both the Federal and the State level, Chief Executives have gotten way too comfortable with a unilateral decision making ability. It is time we restored the democratic republic to the form it was intended to be. Would we be experiencing, suffering from, the ongoing oppressive mandates, nominally justified by the, again, nominal Covid pandemic, if the experiences and the wisdom of the people were indeed being followed by a representative government? I don’t think so. The fact is a relative few people have experienced the kind of devastating illness potentially resulting from Covid that the media persists in broadcasting as if it were the reality in every house next door.
This is not to trivialize the suffering of those who have been the hardest hit by the virus, but that being said, we cannot continue to react to the experiences of an extreme minority as if that is the reality for all. While giving such minority experiences the time and attention they deserve, it is not wise governance to base the parameters of the functioning of the entire society upon the abilities or vulnerabilities of the most vulnerable among us.
If the vast majority of Americans took inventory of their own first-hand reality and urged our State and Federal legislators to either enforce, or lift, the harsh mandates based on that inventory, mandates which have led to many citizens losing their jobs, incomes, mental health, physical health or even their lives, we would have seen the mandates lifted months ago, for good. If we would have ever seen them imposed in the first place. I tend to think we may have opted for the initial “flattening the curve” 2-3 weeks, but not the ongoing, oppressive marathon we have experienced.
But that is not the reality we are facing. When it comes to the Covid mandates, we are not being governed by a representative body. We are being dictated to by an authoritarian few, often in an arbitrary manner with only the sketchiest, if any, actual evidence to support their dictates.
It is past time for us to insist upon the reassertion of a genuinely representative government.
Who remembers this time last year? There were demonstrations going on in France, Hong Kong and other places. There was an international undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the extreme economic imbalance in the world. People, especially young people, were traveling internationally more than any time in history. Through the use of social media and face-to-face conversations (remember those?) people from around the world were exchanging ideas, sharing recipes, and generally getting to know one another more than ever before. Then, well, you know what then.
So much of what was going on contributed to a growing sense of commonality and unity among people around the world. It was a time to rejoice in new experiences, new friends, new awareness. But that was leading to a world population which was emboldened, more competent, less satisfied with being perpetually handed the “short end of the stick”. It’s easy to understand how those occupying the seats of economic and political power in the world might see such a thing as a thing to be feared, to be ended. And so it was.
There can be no question that many (all?) of the people who most likely saw their privileged positions as being threatened by an empowered, emboldened, world population have managed to increase their wealth dramatically as a result of the much touted, cleverly engineered, pandemic. You know the phrase: “we’re all in this together”? Beyond a shadow of a doubt it doesn’t apply to behavior between the economic elite and the rest of us since the advent of Covid-19. The meetings, the sharing, the elevation in consciousness of the common people of the world which was dynamic and ongoing pre-Covid, could not have been more effectively curtailed.
Now we’re entering 2021 with the same media propaganda inspiring fear of Covid-19, rumors and articles about a mandatory vaccinations, vaccines using DNA-altering CRISPR technology, vaccination certificates being proposed for many activities, social distancing, cell phone tracking, highly controlled visas for international travel, restricted or closed restaurants and bars, live music being forbidden. It reminds me a WWII movie in which the protagonist is on a train within Nazi Germany and is confronted by a uniformed, armed, soldier demanding “your papers”.
But it’s all for our own protection…isn’t it?
As we enter the new year, a time that often brings an assessment of one’s life and behavior, one important aspect we have to consider is our trajectory into the future. What is the organizing principle of our lives? Is it fear? Is it love? Is it money? Is it life itself? Are we an intelligent world community? Or are we a collection of livestock to be herded and managed? Why on Earth are common people being led to feel we are defying “authority” if we wish to simply conduct our lives in the most common of manners? Why are we accepting that our ability to carry on our businesses, our family relationships, our community activities, should be unilaterally dictated by a few in some “official” position or another? Especially since some, or all, of those few are materially profiting greatly from their mandates and proclamations.
We are all energy beings. We are manifested in a manner which presents as material and solid, however, when physicists take a closer look, that appearance begins to be revealed as a manifestation apparently constructed out of nothingness. We’re all energy beings. As such we live within, and are a part of, an energy field. We’re all, at our most basic level, all made of the same stuff. That same stuff is all around us and extends into the infinite universe we live within. We are, quite literally, inseparable from the universe we live within. One universe, many planets, many stars, many galaxies, many dimensions. All within the one, the all. And we have the privilege, the blessing, of being conscious, alive, to experience it.
Beyond a doubt, the experience of consciousness within such a stellar and magnificent reality can cause some aberrations to take place in our minds. We love it, some want to own it, some want to somehow grasp onto the very small piece of it closest to us and control it. As if that were possible in the crude, brutal ways it is usually attempted. We are in a dance, a dance of energy, light, motion, love. To do anything other than try to flow with it, to appreciate it, and to care for aspects of it we have the ability to work with, is hubris. It is the lack of humility, the overestimation of, or presumptuousness as to our place within our reality that creates a lot of problems for us.
Some look around and think because of the color of my skin, or hair, or eyes, or my height, or my physical strength, or my keenness of intellect, I am wholly superior to others. Or that because they happened to be the first human to begin living in a particular valley, or on a particular hill, they therefore own the whole of it. Our desire to own, to somehow freeze the ongoing flow of time and life, and make it our own, has led us to form collectives, cabals, with agreements to abide by certain rules and documents and to live as if those rules and documents truly represent some kind of divine right. Again, such hubris.
Innate within us, within us from the moment of our creation, is a connection to the Universal Creative Spirit, which is, in fact, the universe, the all. Within that connection is guidance. When we still our minds, access that guidance, we know what we should do, and we know what we should not do. We know that each and every one of us, each individual, is ultimately no greater, nor lesser, than any other. In a move that has shown itself to have the potential to be both a blessing and a curse, in all of this wondrous creation, for reasons we may not (cannot?) fully understand, we have been given free will. I guess the Creative Spirit, which flows within and around us, and of which we are all an integral part, didn’t want a bunch of puppets.
We know there have been other civilizations before this one. Civilizations lost in time, we occasionally find artifacts which testify to their existence. One of these prior civilizations, Atlantis, from the stories which have been passed down to us, brought it’s destruction upon itself through it’s hubris. Too much knowledge in too specific a focus. Not enough appreciation of the whole of the system they (we) exist within. In their manipulations of the material world, they lost sight of, lost appreciation of, the spiritual. In their ability to play with aspects of the stuff of creation, they lost humility. They went out of synch with the universal dance they were a part of, and were washed away as the will within universe didn’t see fit to alter the greater in deference to the lesser.
What more obvious way to love, to honor the Universal Creative Spirit, call it God, or not, than to love and honor the creation? After all, the creator and creation are one. We are, in fact, of God. When we forget that we are only parts of a whole, and that none of us has any greater claim to the whole than any other of us, then, again, we get into trouble. In the past that trouble was always, relative to the totality of human existence and the planet, relatively local stuff. We fought with stones, axes, swords, guns and relatively localized explosives. As time has gone on we have become increasingly capable in our ability to wreak destruction upon the materialized reality we are a part of. However, to want to do so is symptomatic of mental and spiritual illness, always. It is symptomatic of people cut off from, in denial of, the foundational spiritual reality which we all live within and are all a part of. To engage in the deception of, the destruction of others, is to engage in self-deception and self-destruction. To engage in cooperating with, nurturing, building, healing, appreciating others, is to manifest those things in our world, to manifest them as resources for, aspects of, ourselves.
We have free will. History shows us the Universal Creative Spirit, because love is it’s essential nature, also will wipe the slate and start again if necessary. When the hubris of the creation has led to a denial of love. Humankind has reached a level of functioning that allows individual men and women, and groups, to engage in activities which affect all human life, all life itself, upon the entire planet. We have free will. We can engage in constructive, loving, nurturing activities, or we can engage in activities which are designed along narrowly perceived avenues of immediate benefit to a few, but which ignore the effects of such behaviors upon the conditions affecting well-being of the larger whole. Conditions which will, ultimately, bear upon all.
Will it take another extinction event, another re-boot of humankind, for us as spiritual beings to realize the folly of ignoring our own interconnected, spiritual reality?
We, the people of the world, are facing two crises at this time. First, there are the cases of illness from the novel coronavirus. Secondly, there are the cases of extreme financial/material hardship taking place. If we just watch or listen to mainstream media one might think that in many cases the second is a direct result of the first. But it isn’t, not at all. Whether or not there was human involvement in the appearance of the novel coronavirus on the world stage is too big, and too obfuscated, an issue to get into in this article. However, the financial/material hardships that millions are facing around the world is entirely within the control of the human population of our planet. And it has been for some time.
The novel coronavirus has yet to touch one penny of anyone’s material security. Human kind has shown itself entirely capable of imposing hardships upon humans all by itself. There’s nothing obfuscated about this issue. And there isn’t anything obfuscated about how it can be solved. All it requires is for human culture to realize our interrelatedness, our interdependence. WE, who are whole and capable need to take responsibility for our lives and to do what we can (and if we’re working together, that is a lot) to assist those who are not whole and capable to develop greater capability. And to be housed, fed and cared for at all times.
We have the resources, we have the people, we have the knowledge, all we need is the will to make it so. It will require that everyone has the understanding that this is OUR world. WE decide what kind of culture we desire for humankind and WE are the only ones who can make it a reality. We must divest ourselves of competitive thinking and behavior, except in regard to recreational games. Cooperation is absolutely essential if humankind is to not only survive but fully realize the wondrous potential that is innate in every human being.
Competition results in stress and trauma and those things result in diminished human capability. Little by little those things do not nurture us, they cause us to gradually shut down and eventually kill us. Kindness, good nutrition, good information, exercise, work, play, art, contributing to a thriving human culture and enjoying the benefits of a thriving human culture, that is what elicits us to realize our fullest potential.
When we realize that the greater “profit” lies in a spiritually and physically healthy human culture (the two are interrelated) then we will be on the path to wholeness. Until then we’re just tripping over our own feet.
I woke up this morning with thoughts racing through through my mind around every important relationship I’ve had. All at once. What could have been better, what didn’t go well, what would be the right thing to have happened, who did what, etc., etc. Then all that business just sort of evaporated. I am someone who has spend a lot of time and energy into studying human behavior; thinking about such things has been an ongoing process within me beginning in early adolescence. The thing about that process is that it’s full of traps of judgementalism. In a culture filled with such thinking, it’s easy to fall into them and start blaming, or feeling “cheated”. It’s easy to be trapped in our thoughts about the past, to get hung up in the “what if’s”. And while exploring the “what if’s” of our past actions/events may offer some exercise in constructive thinking, getting too caught up in it can also keep us from fully realizing the “what if’s” of our present.
We have to realize our parents, our friends, our lovers, our spouses, our siblings, our children, our neighbors, everybody including ourselves, we’re all on a learning curve. We’re all trying to utilize the tools, mental, emotional and physical, which we have at any given moment as well as possible. And sometimes we make a mess of it. And then sometimes it seems we’re simply handed a mess. In the latter case we may, as a knee-jerk response, just want to angrily fling blame…rather than look for what there is to work with. The best we can do is learn from the past, forgive the shortcomings, forgive the “mis-takes”: both on the part of others and those we brought into being, and move forward. Rededicated (or dedicated for the first time) to living wisely, caring for ourselves, others, our communities, our planet.
We are complex beings and, as a species, we’re finally accruing enough knowledge about our make-up, our needs, our faults, and our potentials to truly work together to engineer a world we can all not just live in, but flourish in. Let’s get away from the adolescent “it’s all about me” mentality humanity has been languishing in for a few decades. Let’s realize our interconnectedness, celebrate both our kinship and diversity, and act out of love to turn this place into the amazing home for humanity and other living things which it has the very real potential to be.
It won’t matter much if we have women’s rights to their own bodies or bans on abortions, gay rights or no gay rights, equal pay for women, if we finally rid our country of racial discrimination, looser or tighter immigration laws, prayer in schools or no prayer in schools, a lot of today’s social issues just won’t matter much if the legalized piracy, and that’s what it is, piracy, of inordinate amounts of the capital in the world by the ruling elite continues along the pattern it has been the past few decades. A pattern which has recently been escalating dramatically.
The economic/sociologic trend we’re seeing in America is that life expectancy is decreasing. Our communities are seeing ever increasing numbers of people experiencing homelessness, hunger, unaddressed physical and mental illnesses. Infrastructure is deteriorating. People seem to be worshipping greed, which is truly a psychological/spiritual pandemic destroying lives and communities. The idolization of the ways and means of those who are capturing the wealth of the world is on par with idolizing a deadly plague.
We don’t need people to be scheming and hoarding hundreds of millions and billions, even a trillion dollars’ worth of the capital which we, our parents and grandparents, and ancestors back centuries, have worked to develop and produce in the world. We need better governance than what we’ve been receiving which not only allows such inequity but encourages and subsidizes it. We need the resources of the Earth to be cared for and distributed in a way that all people have their basic needs met: housing, food, education, medical care.
And, yes, we need all people to be contributing to the care of our world and communities. We don’t need a welfare state. That’s not good for the psychological and spiritual well-being of people. With the rise of technology taking over so many labor jobs, we need shorter work weeks, job sharing: but all with a living wage. We need to be paying for services which do not produce a financial profit but are necessary to maintain healthy, viable communities. That is true profit: healthy people within healthy communities. A world which nurturers the wellbeing of and the development and progress of humanity. Progress in the arts, sciences, and greater understanding of our shared spiritual reality.
We need people to take reproductive responsibility within the reality of our world and finite resources. We don’t need men and women making babies which they cannot and have no genuinely viable plan of adequately caring for. Would-be parents should have a plan which demonstrates consideration of and responsibility for one’s family and the communities we all live within. We need social programs which provide a temporary “life-boat” for people hit with unexpected hardships. But living on welfare is not a socially, nor even a personally, responsible plan for supporting a family. However, in order to have a job, jobs need to exist, and when a parent can have more money coming in from welfare than the jobs which may available to them, something is wrong with the economic system.
We need to see the stock market abolished. We need to see giant corporate farms broken up and an increase in smaller, ecologically responsible, farms. We don’t need a corporate or national mentality of “saving” money, or of not funding needs in one area only to spend exorbitantly in others: we need a mentality of the wise use of money. The same way our bodies do not “save” blood and nutrients it carries, but keep it in circulation throughout the entirety of the body for the health of the whole.
And, to be healthy and to have healthy communities: we need truth as truly as we need healthful air, water and food.
In our attempts, our efforts, at building a viable, vital society, we can learn much by observing and understanding the functioning of our own bodies. There is a saying attributed to Hermes Trismegistus: “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” This is often shortened to “As above, so below, as below, so above”. This concept, or the observation of the nature of our reality, provides us with an understanding, which, if applied to our efforts at creating and maintaining a human culture, can do much to guide us toward what will be in harmony with the natural world. The natural world which we are working with and within and therefore toward a more vibrant, stable and enduring culture.
Our bodies are miracles of design. They are self-repairing, self-renewing, and they offer us multiple senses, or avenues of interface, with our environment. They provide us with much enjoyment and pleasure. And provide us with discomfort and/or pain to let us know when we’re not supplying them with what they need, or too much of what they don’t need. Ultimately what makes the whole thing work is the the organs, the cells, within the body work together to keep the body, the whole, alive and well. One of the serious threats to the health of our bodies is the occasion when some cells become sickened and engage in a pattern of runaway duplication (growth) and a voracious appetite for energy. One could say they get greedy for resources and want to take over. They behave more competitively than cooperatively. Of course, as our ancestors knew centuries ago: Mark 3:25, Jesus states, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Now really, just think about that last statement for a minute, it’s not rocket science. It’s something that immediately makes sense both intellectually and emotionally. I think this is one of those truths that people just innately know, that comes with birth. Yet it is one many people quickly turn their backs on when the world dangles some bling in front of them and says: Go now and compete. Within human cultures around the world that is the genesis of a cancer that is destroying our cultures with the same certainty that an untreated malignant cancer destroys a human body. I can imagine someone thinking, but isn’t that just exercising personal freedom? Yes it is. And freedom is an essential aspect of a healthy human culture. However, it is also just exercising personal freedom to take an automatic weapon to an elementary school and start shooting students. Freedom is a double edged sword and is only an asset to humanity when it is combined with wisdom. Such as the wisdom that if we aren’t all working together, cooperatively, for the good of the whole of humanity, the body of humanity, we are in the process of destroying that body. And just as the cells of a body cannot survive for long once the body as a whole becomes unviable, no matter how adept a survivalist one might think they are, human beings cannot survive indefinitely outside a viable human culture.
All my life I have heard Charles Darwin exalted as one of the, effectively, high priests of the natural world. I don’t think it’s possible to think of Charles Darwin and not think of the phrase survival of the fittest. That is the phrase those most industrially disseminating information within popular culture have locked onto regarding Darwin. But today those who are seriously researching Darwin’s ideas and adaptive strategies are saying friendliness and cooperation is the most successful strategy for survival. This is just one more example of how spirituality and science are converging in the world today.
If we are to survive as a species on this planet we must recognize our oneness, our interconnectedness and interdependence. Not merely within cities, or nations, but as global body of humanity.
This post is essentially an invitation to watch a documentary which was produced in 2010. However the subject matter of the film is timeless.
Whether you’re watching FOX, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, etc., you’re being fed bullshit. But it comes in different flavors, because those controlling the news know, everyone doesn’t like vanilla. However there are certain constants no matter what channel you tune in to. Some of them are:
1. Accumulating vast wealth is good.
2. We should all admire those who have accumulated vast wealth.
3. Be afraid, be very afraid.. Depending upon what channel you’re watching, what we’re supposed to be afraid of can vary. But it’s never the extravagantly wealthy, nor war.
4. War is a necessity.
5. We need to spend more on war.
It is important to those busily accumulating wealth and power, regardless of the effects of their actions upon the majority of people in the world, or the planet itself, that we, the masses, believe these things. They are constantly endeavoring to engineer consent for their actions. Our continued belief of these concepts enables them to maintain and advance their agenda.
All we need to win this war is to realize our kinship, our innate interconnectedness. To love one another as we love ourselves. And to love the universal creative spirit that gives us life. To respect the creator, respect the creation.
The most important battle going on is to control our perceptions of what is going on. The battle to control our thoughts. This documentary provides a clear picture of history and nature of this battle. Click on the link to be taken to the full video on YouTube:
Mohandas K. Gandhi is quoted as saying: “The only devils in the world are those running around in our own hearts. And that is where all our battles ought to be fought.”
Is this true? Or are there spiritual forces originating from outside us which bedevil us? Sometimes I perceive that there are spiritual forces present around us which do try to exert influence upon us. To push us this way or that. However, in order for them to succeed, we have to be providing them with the opening, the thought/feeling processes, which they can then add impetus to within our minds, our hearts. In other words they can energetically “nudge” us the direction they desire us to take. Sometimes possibly more strongly than others.
Even if this is true, it in no way lessens import of Gandhi’s statement. Because if we are paying enough attention to our own mind, our own thoughts, our own feelings, we can own our own direction. Truly be the Captains of our own ship. If, on the other hand, we do not pay enough attention to our own thoughts, feelings, we can be exposing ourselves to being manipulated via “handles” we didn’t fully realize we were subject to.
By engaging in a process of paying attention to our own thoughts and feelings, we can provide ourselves with true autonomy. True freedom. We can decide if we really want to be kind, considerate, empathetic, or rude, inconsiderate and heartless.
On our path to such a state of autonomy there are challenges we face. Most, if not all, of us have been through traumas, times when we have been hurt bodily, or emotionally. We can have gone through times of chronic stress, anxiety. Or times during which we have had certain thoughts, feelings, values imposed upon us by others. Those times leave an imprint on our psyche. Those imprints can influence our lives, our behavior for years, decades, after the condition or event which resulted in the imprint has past. These types of imprints can be some of the hardest challenges we face.
Often, to us subjectively, these imprints can be so deeply imbedded, and/or so old, have been with us so long, we may not recognize them for what they are. We may consider the thoughts and feelings stemming from such imprints as “normal”. We may believe that everyone carries a similar orientation as a part of their innate being. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
If we have, somehow, had fear, hate, a judgmental orientation toward something, maybe a people or a place, or a behavior, deeply ingrained within us, we can truly believe that the thoughts and feelings we experience when we are exposed to those people, places or behaviors are entirely normal. That they are truly an innate part of our being. And being such, they are from the source of our life. From God, divinely ordained.
How much suffering, how many wars have stemmed from exactly that illusion being mistaken for reality?
And it isn’t just that carrying around such imprinting may cause us to harm others. Carrying around such imprinting can also result in our regarding ourselves in an unrealistic, negative, derogatory manner.
Engaging in an ongoing practice of examining our own thoughts and feelings can be difficult. We may not like what we find. Sometimes these revelations can be emotionally, even physically, painful. Yet, even when that is the case, there is cause for gratitude: because we have found it. When we have found it, we can enter into the process of changing it.
One thing we should all know about such processes of change is that they usually (always?) take time and repetition. Deeply ingrained feelings/thoughts tend to occupy networks inside our mind, our spirit. We will find ourselves facing the same, old, thoughts and feelings over and over. They gradually emerge out of the nooks and crannies of our mind. We need to endeavor to be aware, as often as we can, of what is happening and to consciously intervene in our own lives at those times. We need to edit, replace the old thoughts with those we want to replace them. By doing this, over and over, gradually we will retake ownership of our own lives. We will have “cleaned house”, so to speak. Sometimes it takes less time, sometimes more. But it is inevitable once we make the firm decision to mindfully take back the control of our own life.