The world around us is not the one you grew up in. True, much is the same in structure and idea, though the truth of how things run and manifest is not the same, not even close. Most of us can remember when schools did not have metal detectors, you could walk your loved one to the airplane, and making a phone call meant waiting until you got home and then getting wrapped up in that curly wire. With all the ‘drastic’ alterations in reality including medicine, science and global issues, how do we personally transform ourselves with a changing world so we are not overrun by it?
There was a time, not all that long ago, when gas was less than one dollar per gallon, my parents would remember when it was less than that. Grocery stores looked more like corner markets and traveling from one state to another could be done without a seat belt on the floor playing with your toys. Yes, I am dating myself and that is okay. Cereal choices didn’t used to be so complex, nor did phone providers, because there was only one choice. More and more it seems the way to ‘deal’ with all the advancements is to disengage in some things while deeply diving into others.
Food and Getting into the Land
Growing up, having a garden was the ‘norm’ and at some point, when the big grocery stores started to go up, it seemed cool and ‘advanced’ to go there and find all the amazing boxed and packaged items you could get. These days, a return to the earth, growing ones own veggies and fruit trees as well as shopping farmer’s markets seems to be one critical way to continue to transform with the changes, why? As the systems ‘upgrade’ people are becoming less and less connected to each other and to themselves. The conversation at the check stand is on automatic pilot and children are growing up not knowing where certain foods ‘came from.’ In order to continue to ‘evolve’ as humans, into what some might call ‘our highest potential’ we must be able to distinguish and discern between advancements and disconnection.
Eating ‘faster’ food does not necessarily make you a ‘faster’ more intelligent being. On the contrary, putting your hands back into the soil of the earth and remembering how to ignite the creative force of one’s own volition is an empowering act that many are losing. The fulfillment that is derived from harvesting plentiful abundance from your own garden trumps the fascinating packaging options in the supermarket aisles any day.
If you are feeling disconnected and over-run by society today, perhaps you might go outside and try playing around in the dirt for a while. Find yourself some seeds, dig whole and plant them…see what happens to your inner turmoil. Most would agree there is nothing more therapeutic than having your hands and feet in the earth.
It is a challenge to find places that are not filled with the bustle of ‘progress.’ Even your once peaceful Sunday afternoon is now buzzing with electric power tools in the sometimes ‘not distant enough’ places. Many live near busy streets that never seem to quiet and the sounds of computers, cell phones, televisions, microwaves, refrigerators buzzing and airplanes over head are almost more certain than the sound of your own breath. Francis Bacon once said “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom” and Benjamin Disraeli so eloquently stated “Silence is the mother of truth.” In such a world where quiet spaces are difficult to find, perhaps it is even more important to create their existence on a regular basis so as to gain the wisdom wrapped therein.
The ability to find silence and be in the still quiet of one’s own mind has long been recognized by many spiritual traditions as a masterful art. Many people today are uncomfortable in silence, we even have the saying ‘awkward silence’ to denote those pauses in conversation when no one knows what to say. Isn’t it a shame that we have come to fear the very substance that lies at the root of all things…the still quiet – nothingness. In yoga, the usual ‘ending’ pose to any practice is known as Sivasana, translated as ‘corpse pose’ -when one lies completely still and relaxed. This is recognized as perhaps the most important pose of all poses for it allows the body and mind the opportunity to integrate, settle and harmonize again with itself at a very deep level.
So often we live on the ‘surface’ of reality, attempting to ‘keep up’ with the bustle, growth and change demanding our every moment of attention. Though, abiding truth can surely be found in the words of T.S. Eliot –
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The still point, the moment of silence and no movement…in these places we can access our own personal transformation ad mist an ever changing world. For personal growth does not always come from running to keep up, but rather stopping to breath, take it in and allow the inner adjustments to settle.
Many will argue the point that no matter who is around you, you are always ultimately alone. On some very deep and profound level this is true. However, the narcissism that can develop out of keeping yourself disconnected from others on this premise is a sad truth. We are in a world full of people, look around. Even if you believe the notion ‘there is only one of us here’ as some traditions teach, still the ‘other’ manifestations walking around in people-suits are not here to be ignored and placated, but rather engaged, learned from and assisted for our own evolution and growth. Some say that other humans are our best mirrors, showing us things about ourselves that we cannot see independently. It has been the few, whom we have named as Saints, who have dedicated their lives to the service and love of their fellow humans. These people do not seem to lack anything, but to instead be filled up from the selfless acts of charity and love that flow out of them by putting another’s needs high on the priority list of life.
When we reach out and connect with other humans, we are able to hear ourselves from a new perspective. We may find ourselves forgetting our own problems to fill another’s needs or discover rolling laughter, abiding love or riled emotions due to our interactions. All these things connect us, not only to our humanness, but to what is beyond our flesh and bones. Those who postulate that we live in but a ‘virtual world’, as some science does today, cannot ignore the benefits of interaction with others in order to ‘deepen’ the experience, uncover the mysteries of this reality and overcome obstacles.
One of the five greatest regrets of who lie on their death bed is ‘I wish I would have spent more time with loved ones.’
Ancient sages are known to go off on their own to meditate and ‘evolve’ their souls without the aide of another human. Perhaps this has worked for many, though today we exist in another place in ‘time.’ In the words of Almine: “yesterday’s wisdom ended yesterday’s dream, it has very little application to ending the dream of today.” If we are to ‘wake up’ and personally transform our lives in this ever changing world, perhaps we need to look around at what is being presented to us in the moment of our questioning. Who is before us? What message is being given? What remains when the bustle quiets? What is yet ‘unchanged?’ It is a time of great inner and outer challenges, on ever level of the ‘game.’ May humanity rally around one another, not in violence, not in criticism, not in hurtful gestures or out-dated detached survival reactions. Let us come together in recognition of our commonalities as human beings experiencing this place together – where love is at the heart of the matter – the place of lowest entropy and greatest order. May we transform together and rise above that which would hold us back from the freedom we all inherently crave.
Written by: Stasia Bliss