“It is a mistake to consider any belief more liberated than another. It is the possibility of change which is important. Every new form of liberation is destined to eventually become another form of enslavement for most of its adherents. There is no freedom from duality on this plane of existence, but one may at least aspire to choice of duality.”
― Peter J. Carroll
There is no system whether it is of government or belief that will not eventually break down. Something that seems new and refreshing like Democracy did in the 1700’s (and yes I know that it was used well before the USA adopted it yet arguably not on the scale and range that the early founders set up) will eventually become the bureaucratically moribund system that it has. To see it happen with Socialism, just read Animal Farm by George Orwell, a thinly veiled metaphor for the Russian Revolution and ensuing decades. I have heard it said (I believe by Spider Robinson tho others may have expressed similar thought) that it it takes 30 years to go from being a liberal to a conservative without changing one belief. Any system or school of thought that does not adopt to changes in culture and consciousness will eventually become its own shadow. Of course given time the pendulum swings in the opposite direction yet even then the system remains closed not open. It behooves us to constantly be willing to question even our most sacred and firmly held beliefs no matter what they are in order to free ourselves from the tyranny of this pendulum and our own inner calcification.
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Passing Through Gateways That Break Chains by G A Rosenberg
“We’re often wrong at predicting what will transform us. Encountering certain people, books, music, places or ideas at the right time can immediately make our lives happier, richer, more beautiful, resonant or meaningful. When it happens, we feel a kind of instant love for them both deep and abiding. It can be something as trifling as a children’s book, a returned telephone call, or a night at a seaside bar in Greece.”
— Jonathan Carroll
Around our house we throw the word transformative around quite a bit (sometimes it bounces off of walls and smashes china). We talk about books, plays, talks and conversations with people as transformative experiences. What part of us changes? Perhaps its just the part that hears a new point of view for a first time, that sees something in a way that we haven’t before. On occasion, the transformation is a bit more radical. We see something that changes our approach with how we deal with our lives, our jobs or our family. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus suggested that we cannot step in the same river twice because both we and the river are continuously made different by whatever we experience. I hope that I always be open to being transformed by my surroundings rather than clinging like a barnacle on a rock in said river afraid to flow with the changes and I wish happy transformative experiences for all.
“Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right?”
― Bill Hicks
We evolve as people and as cultures. The dance is ever continuing. We live in an age very different from our parents and our grandparents and our kids are growing up in an even different age. Yet so many of our societal institutions stay the same. Our public educational systems are still basically the ones set up to teach a generation of factory and office workers in the 1950’s. Oh they have newer technology yet the techniques are basically the same. Yet kids raised on the internet and modern gaming systems are very different than the ones that were not raised on them. The statistics for kids with learning difficulties (i.e. kids who just don’t learn the way that teachers are taught to teach them) are increasing and yet the educational system has not caught up. The same can be said for medical systems, welfare systems, religions, care for the disabled and almost any other system that you can name. Yet by and large modern society is so invested in these systems that they would rather fight over the money to fund them than come up with new ways of doing things that fit the way we live and learn.
Political budgets grow thinner and thinner. They have to find a way to fund the additional costs of keeping these moribund systems going and about the only budget that seems to increase is the salaries of the politicians. This has the result that every one of these systems fight for their slice of the budget and end up having to do more with less all in the name of keeping things going.
It’s all very good to point out the problems. There has been study after study saying what I am saying here and yet people fear change even when they know it may be the best thing possible for ourselves, our children and for society. Maybe if enough people realized the need to change and demanded it, our systems could evolve to match the pace of our culture. Until then, it seems we slide down the slope. Because ultimately there is only one alternative to evolution. One way or another new systems will come. Even if they are built on the ruins of our current ones. Wouldn’t it be better if we decided to consciously change things?
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh
The simplest questions are the most profound.
Where were you born?
Where is your home?
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change.
— Richard Bach
I feel lost in a web of introspection tonight. I look at and question my motivations. Why am I so obsessed with making art of late? What in me needs to be expressed? Is it an addiction to the comments and feedback or is it something deeper? Where is my spiritual centre these days? Where am I going with what I am doing? The endless stream of questions continue. If this is who I am right now I can embrace it until something else calls to me. I shall remain open to whatever comes but I will continue questioning. Perhaps in the journey to find the answers and my openness along the way I will learn more than if I had a specific goal in sight. That is a goal beyond gaining ever greater understanding. Tho sometimes it feels as if paradoxically the plot thickens and I’ve lost the plot at the same time. Time will tell of course. It always does. What is time tho than another word for change?
“We have been to the moon, we have charted the depths of the ocean and the heart of the atom, but we have a fear of looking inward to ourselves because we sense that is where all the contradictions flow together.”
― Terence McKenna
Why do we do the things we do? What are our processes? What in us is a product of cultural, family and media conditioning and what is our authentic selves? Are we our views and our reasoning on any given viewpoint? All too often we accept our conditioning and viewpoints as our reality and we defend any challenge to them as if they were a personal attack. Why? If our viewpoints cannot withstand challenge doesn’t that mean it may be time to change them? If we are looking to gain more understanding of ourselves, doesn’t that make it a good idea to welcome challenge? Can we learn to accept that something we believe in may be wrong and change it even if we believe it passionately?
I have been working on these questions for awhile now and I have finally come to the point where I welcome my ideas being challenged. If I find myself getting personally offended when a statement I make has been challenged, I see it as an opportunity to look at what part of me feels wounded by the challenge? I can change a viewpoint knowing that it does not mean changing my real authentic self just part of the barnacles that have grown on the surface.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
― Maya Angelou
Today I surrender who I’ve been for who I am. Tomorrow I’ll do the same.There is joy in the surrender but also sorrow. There is pain that I’ve grown so accustomed to that it has become a friend. Letting go of it is akin to losing a loved one. I know tho that I’ll be better without it and the scar will be cool. I will sacrifice innocence for inner sense tho I long to regain it. Trust gives way to wariness and finds its way back like waves along the shore. Like so many things tho it is not an on/off binary switch but a dimmer switch with many graduations. I’ve learned who to trust and how much. Thus I’ve gained wisdom which is beautiful tho have lost a stunning naiveté My love also has gained depth and focus and perhaps expansion as well. With luck and an openness to learn, age gives dimensionality. We become less stock actors and more and more ourself. Yet nothing worthwhile comes without a price. So I will mourn my yesterday selves and know that I will join them. Someone looked on in fondness by the tomorrow mes.
Thank you Maya Angelou for incarnating and Blessings on your journey. Your words from time to time have served as a compass for me.
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”
Trade your riches for magic beans
take the offered adventure in innocence
Climb the hill to see what’s there…
Show compassion to a stranger
Show compassion to a friend
Show compassion to yourself
Open yourself up to a new outlook.
Imagine what the world would look like if everything you knew was wrong…
Introduce yourself as a stranger
See yourself as pure, unchanging…
sacrifice something that no longer suits you
Mditate and be
Surrender it all to be who you’ll become…
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
― Nelson Mandela
Do we ever return to the same place twice? It seems whether its changes in mood, energy level, perception or perhaps something experiential, we are never quite the same person from day to day so even the ways we interact with our familiar environments change from day to day. It’s a great reason to take stock of things every day to see how they’ve changed, we’ve changed or both. I know that noticing these things especially how they relate to others in my environment is another of the reasons why boredom stopped being an issue for me long ago.Sometimes, especially after a day of difficult interactions or after a night of little or no sleep, these changes don’t always seem positive. Tho, in the long run, often it is exactly those times that show where real growth and realization is necessary. Sometimes I need to be pulled away from my center to know for sure where that center is. I doubt I am alone in this.
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
― Alan Wilson Watts
The world is in upheaval. Not only the external world but for many of us, it seems that changes are happening more rapidly. It takes boldness to surf through those changes instead of feeling thrown by them. It takes even more courage to welcome the changes that come with wonder. I’ve been fighting the changes in my life strongly. My son’s growing up. He has become a teenager with a teenager’s need to question authority and fight the inner battles that hormones bring. My parents are older with the attendant health issues that often come with that. My areas of focus tend to move around and sometimes they ricochet. More and more tho rather than standing against the wind and either being in denial or resistance of the changes, I am letting them buffet me towards new ways of being.
The Death trump in the Rider-waite tarot shows the figure of Death on a pale horse. Death of course does not represent literal Death as much as transformation and the card itself speaks of different approaches to transformation. The trampled King on the card believed that his power and wealth would save him from having to change and he got trampled. The Priest, next in line believes that the dogma that he adheres to is eternal and he is soon to suffer the same fate. The maiden sits in surrender to the horseman tho her face is turned away. She still resists the idea of change no matter how inevitable she finds it. The child hands Death a flower. In innocence, we face change with the same wonder that we face everything else. It is only when we become older, we lose that innocence. May we each return to it.
“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”
― Niccolò Machiavelli
Many people fear the new. They prefer the ways that either have worked for them before or have consistently not worked in ways that they have become used to. This explains the failure of so many systems that governments have their hands in especially ones of education
Quite often we prefer the devil we know rather than the untried even if the untried offers hope for a better solution. Most people will admit that things in our society need to change. Yet actually making the changes seem to stymie us. An interesting conundrum.