For Lisa Faye: Thanks for blessing my life with your kick-ass friendship.
This week I got hooked. Appearances — the way things seem — speared my flesh and wrecked my peace of mind completely. I was a fish just caught and gasping for air, frantic, while life’s dark side reeled me in. I got ensnared by the sadness and strife and upset that currently manifests as what Buddhists call “the saha world.” I started to believe in what I was seeing out there, rather than what I knew to be true within my life. Not good. Not good at all.
And the world I saw through those eyes was ugly. It was unkind. It was arrogant, egocentric, full of bullshit and bravado. A innocent dog named Lennox was killed in Belfast because he looked like a pit bull. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t a pit bull. What mattered was the way he looked, and that certain human beings had decided he should die, and pride dictated that they would never back down from their decision, no matter how wrong they were. They couldn’t admit their mistake. So they murdered a child’s therapy dog.
Women went on television and — with straight faces — said that the so-called war on women is a fantasy perpetuated by the left.
A police officer in Washington, DC admitted that he would like to murder the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
The Texas Republican Party Platform recently stipulated that higher order thinking skills not be part of their public school curriculum.
The governor in the state of Maine likened the Affordable Care Act to Nazi Germany’s extermination of the Jews, the Holocaust.
I could go on, but what would be the point? Any of us who are actually paying attention already know that this world is coo-coo-for-cocoa-puffs-crazy. That is not surprising. What is surprising is the fact that for so many, there is a feeling of disconnect between their lives and this movie that we are all responsible for projecting on to the world. It is not just the Tea Party that is nuts. It is not just Fred Phelps and the Wesboro Baptist ‘church’ that is insane. Or the Taliban. Iran’s nuclear program. Mississippi’s racism and stupidity. The rape of the rain forests in Brazil. Fracking. The poisoning of our ground water. The garbage floats in the oceans. It is the fact that each one of us continually buys into this whacked out version of reality. We vote for this mess by continuing to focus on what we do not like and do not want.
What do I mean by that?
I mean that, in terms of what we create, we are unbelievably powerful. Our thoughts make the world, just as the Buddha says. And it is no more difficult to create a world that works — that is harmonious and humane — than it is to create one that is a nightmare. However, in order to do that we must give up our addiction to drama — and most of all — judgement and the need to be right.
Many years ago I saw Marianne Williamson give a talk in New York City. She wasn’t well known then. She was just a luminous young woman a few years older than me, giving talks based on The Course in Miracles.
“You can be right. Or you can be happy,” she said, surveying our faces. “Your choice.”
At the time, I am uncertain that I understood how profound that statement really was. So much of our lives we spend trying to “fix” the view — other people, situations, experiences — rather than changing our perspective. If our perspective is one of possibility, the things we encounter will reflect that. It is energetic law. The Buddha understood that. He understood that suffering was universal and ubiquitous — and the answer to that suffering lies in “going within.” When I change, the reflection changes. When I transform my life, the world is transformed. Just as you would not put lipstick on the mirror that reflects your face, you cannot change the look of things — the experiences you are having — by trying to change the outside.
Inner reformation is the only way.
So, what about the hellish conditions here on earth? How can my inner reformation change any of that, you may wonder. Indeed. But how can your sadness and upset and panic over those conditions make them better? It can’t.
I am left with the realization that the only lasting change we can make is the change in our own hearts. We can eat less meat, drive less, be silent, love more. Those shifts alone can collectively cause wave after wave of change. We can be the stone dropped into the center of things that causes ripples that impact change in others. Those people impact the people they interact with. And so on.
I love the idea that my stillness or happiness or reverence can change the world. So, I am re-determining to choose my thoughts wisely. To focus on what I want. To see the world and recognize the trouble she’s in, but not join in reinforcing that collective sense of hell. The Buddha Land is within. You may call it spirit or God or Goddess. You may call it your intuition or a still, small voice, or Christ consciousness. The point is, it is here now. We need to stop joining in the chorus of “what’s wrong” and “awfulizing” about life, and start focusing on what we want to see. It is not enough to simply be against what is. What are you for? What do you want to manifest? This week’s road tour through grief and sadness was a bitter reminder that I have to make a choice.
Let’s choose our thoughts wisely. Let’s finally be the ones who dream a new, better world into being.
© 2012 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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