I am tired today. The first week back in the classroom after a lengthy break has both the children and myself feeling both anxious and drained at the same time. While driving through Denver tonight, I thought about what might be useful to write about.
In front of me, the railway crossing alarm began to sound and I was forced to stop as a train passed by. Rolling down the window, I heard the screeching of the train as it slid along the rail. Then, it occurred to me.
I would talk about good and evil.
Make no mistake, we do live in a world of good and evil, with many shades of grey in between. The current zeitgeist does often suggest that all talk of this apparent duality is basically subjective, unless it confirms with whatever line of thinking the person judging you might subscribe to. This gets recursive very quickly, as you can see.
It's just my opinion, but to me it is impossible to read about the painfully horrific ravaging of young women under ISIL rule and not see true evil at work. There are many other places where the same conclusion can be drawn and I need not list them all, but you get the idea. Also, I have seen real, selfless good put into the world. In my experience, it is actually far more common than the evil and is generally quiet and less assuming. But it is there all the same.
Every day we are bombarded by a news media that attempts to raise the alarm of a war of ideology on the brink of being lost. Each article is a call to arms and violence is in the air. Sometimes, it's hard just to put our heads down and get through it.
But what if we pulled back, way back, and saw things from a different angle? As our world and our Universe seems to be made of matter consistently moving through the processes of creation and destruction, peace and violence, tension and release, maybe we should ask ourselves what we are truly looking for. What is it that we truly wish to see instead of the latest media horror show?
Is it peace? The data supporting inflammatory journalism very distinctly shows that we are enamored by and drawn in by such media. Maybe we don't like peace as much as we say. What about the food you eat:? You know, the kind that you promised that you wouldn't eat when you said that you wanted to eat better.. If you are like the vast majority of us, the list goes on and on..
Here's an idea.. Instead of hoping for things to get better, dreaming that others will somehow fix our problems, whether we created them or not, why don't we focus on learning to master ourselves? Much like walking, which, if you really think about it, is basically falling forward until your leg catches you, pole vaulting you into the next fall forward, life generally beats us down or scares us into a sort of subconscious submission. We listen to the news, we feel tired and afraid. We buy things to comfort ourselves and live the cycle over and over again. If you think about it, we are basically going through life, from collapse of power to collapse of power, hoping that someone else has a plan..and then..we die. That's the end of the story.
But when you focus on mastering yourself, you start becoming conscious and aware of what you both perceive and react to in the world. You become more and more to become still and see the periods of violence and peace, tension and release. You can see the larger picture and then, if you do it long enough, you may begin to find something that resembles freedom of heart.