Some say end times are here. The world as we know it will implode, explode, burn up, freeze over, or otherwise cease to exist. And all of life along with it will no longer be. It has to happen, they say.
Corruption and greed are rampant, violence is out of control, survival of the self at all cost is the law of the land. Like Henney Penney, we run helter skelter crying out, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
Others say it is all an illusion and what you see is what you experience. Life can be amazingly perfect, they say. If you focus on the good, the evil will no longer exist for you. Focus on all that you desire in this life – better health, more wealth, the perfect career, the ideal home, the soulmate partner – and all of this and more will be yours. That is, if you do the meditation and visualization; repeat the mantra; follow the formula; mindfully walk, chant, breathe, sit, pray. And if you do it explicitly, correctly, then the world as we know it will be blissful!
I confess to flip-flopping. To covering my head and running around fearfully beside Henney Penney. Conversely, I’ve been known to do all of the positive thinking and visualizing that I can imagine. Have you, by chance, flip-flopped a time or two?
I do believe that flip-flopping is a shared human fallibility. We can’t know fully what is true. Either a flip or a flop position contains element of truth. The world as we know it is experiencing extremes in all sectors that conceivably must collapse or change dramatically. And our beliefs and perceptions of the world and others do determine our experience. Optimists generally are happier than pessimists; pessimists claim to be more “reality-based” than optimists.
Resolution to our dualistic thinking, these opposing sides, the flip-flopping is not in propping up the sky to protect Henney Penneys. Nor to tune out and “om” our way into deaf, dumb and blind bliss. Some of our systems must crumble creating chaos and upheaval. Thus the way is opened for more inclusive and compassionate solutions that value and sustain life and interdependence.
The way has always been shown to us by great master teachers and visionaries: Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama. I’m sure you can name others who have inspired you. The faces are numerous, the message is universal and enduring. Change must be internal before it can become an external force for good. The heart must change from fear to love. Love first, then right action will spring forth. Always.
Most of us have but a limited sphere of influence. We interact with our families, our closest friends, our co-workers, perhaps daily. How many of those interactions are fully, completely embodying love? Even if there is the tiniest sliver of anger, the minutest drop of judgment, if guilt or duplicity sneak in, there is less than 100% love. We won’t attain or remain in 100% love permanently. We will flip-flop in and out of love, in and out of fear and control. But what an accomplishment sublime to reach a state of pure love, if only for an instant. What a gift to ourselves and to those nearest and dearest – to see the other as not separate from myself. When goodness, happiness, good health, education, clean air, pure water, safe communities are as important for the other as it is for me, the world as we know it will change. When circumstances demand action and when that call to action is heeded not out of fear but in response to a need for loving solutions, a way will be found. Your part, my part, all will be clear. The first step, as we know, is to love my neighbor as myself.
Now, I have some weeding to do!