I just received this nice piece from my friend, Isaac Shapiro. If you like it, you can google him and see some video of his "Meetings in Truth." He is quite interesting and helpful, in my experience.
A fact of life is that most of us assume that our perceptions are right most
of the time. If we didn't start with the assumption of the
basic correctness of our views, life would be too disorienting.
Thinking we know what's what, even if our beliefs are excessively narrow and
limiting, anchors us, keeping us from falling into the abyss of the universe's
The more secure we are, the more doubt we can handle about our views of
reality, but we each have a limit. This is true of both the
solid and fluid roles, even though the latter have a more fluid view of
reality to begin with (especially artisans).
However, part of the spiritual path is the recognition that we are
eternal, unlimited beings. We inhabit a mind/body unit, but we aren't
that. We have thoughts and feelings but we are not them. We are not
our opinions - how could we be if we're able to change them?
This awareness of
our true identity allows us to let go of excessive attachment to
our opinions so that when others disagree with them, we don't feel that
they have disagreed with who we are. It also allows us to see others
as being more than their opinions, so that we can love them even if
we perceive their opinions to be false.
Buddhism has a lovely concept called "non-attachment."
Non-attachment is viewing things from a calm, centered place. It's
not the same as detachment, which can be cold, distant and uncaring.
In non-attachment, we can be completely engaged, caring deeply, but
not invested - our sense of self doesn't hinge on getting the results
we want. We simply deal with "what is" without wasting
energy doing what won't do any good, such as arguing with people who
are closed. We might have opinions based on our current knowledge
and perspective, but have no need to defend or proselytize them. We share them
where there is openness, and, in turn, listen with openness to others so that
we might learn and expand our view.
Buddhism views attachment as the root of suffering. It's easy to see
why. If we're attached to a particular person loving us, having
a thin waistline, or getting a promotion, and it doesn't happen,
we're unhappy. On the other hand, if we want those things but in
a relaxed way, balancing doing what we can to have them with knowing that
we can be happy without them, we aren't devastated if we don't get
When we're attached to our opinions and invested in others sharing them,
we inevitably slam into the brick wall of others who are similarly
attached to their differing opinions. This is largely why so
many people argue a great deal. Attachment prevents us from connecting
with others soul to soul when they disagree with us.
Those who shout instead of speak, who have a sense of desperation about
getting through to others, who are shrill and strident, may be recognizing
some serious problems while others have their heads in the sand.
Imagine living in Germany
in 1933 and seeing the writing on the wall. Today, some of us
see oil running out, the environment being ruined, terrorism
spreading, the poor becoming poorer, diseases spreading unnecessarily, our liberties
being stripped away, corporations and religions taking over government,
etc. Aren't such things of huge importance? If, for example, the
environment is ruined (a real possibility), humanity won't
survive. How can we be calm?
It is extraordinary that the Dalai Lama
and his followers in Tibet
experienced atrocities at the hands of the Chinese, yet endeavored to
view them with love, compassion, and gratitude for the spiritual lessons
they provided. They did all they could about the situation, which
wasn't much, and then those who could, escaped to India.
In Nazi Germany, there was similarly little those of integrity could do to
stop the tide of horror. Speaking out resulted in death. Their
options were to try to escape,
become invisible, or work underground in a willingness to sacrifice
themselves if necessary.
Things in the U.S. are
obviously not comparable to Tibet
or Nazi Germany, but some of us still have felt like the "voice
of one crying in the wilderness." "Where there is no
vision, the people perish," and there is certainly a great lack of
vision creating a lot of unnecessary problems. There always has
been, but to some of us, it seems worse now than it has been for a
while. However, although passion is a virtue, people tend to turn away
from the strident voice. Shouting fortifies the resolve of
perpetrators, and people in the middle often assume that those who
are strident are exaggerating and are unnecessarily rocking the
boat. A calmer voice, with reasoned arguments backed up by facts and illustrated
by people's experiences, tends to be more effective in reaching people.
Some critics said that Michael Moore's
"Fahrenheit 9/11" is less strident than his earlier films,
and, as a result, more effective. On the other hand, his brave Oscar
acceptance speech was booed down because it was confrontational and
directly pushed people's buttons; a more subtle approach, speaking from his
heart, might have been more effective in reaching them. "I
statements," speaking from our own experiences, are more effective in
communicating with others that "you statements," which point the
finger and put others on the defensive.
When a situation is desperate, there's all the more reason to speak with
eloquence and truth rather than with shrillness. When we're centered
in ourselves as eternal beings, we are able to respond with stillness and
a large perspective rather than just reacting emotionally to the immediate
One of the
paradoxes of the spiritual path is the lesson that everything is important
and nothing is important. On the one hand, even if we destroy human
life on this planet, although that would be enormously unfortunate and a
big setback, we, and the universe as a whole, will go on. It would not be
the first planet to be destroyed by out-of-control sentient creatures, nor
would it be the last. On the other hand, everything we do,
every choice we make, is important as an opportunity for blessing and
growth, not to be wasted. Therefore, we do what we can and let go
of the rest, not throwing away energy bemoaning what is beyond our
control. However, doing what we can do isn't merely physical. Consciousness is
the most powerful thing there is, and, in the long run (sometimes, the
very long run), love trumps its absence (hate, fear, oppression,
etc.). Holding the highest consciousness available to us
while letting it keep growing is the greatest gift we can offer the
world. Words are important; speaking to those with ears to hear
may be part of our service. However, holding the vibration of love
is all of it. The more people who love and the higher the quality of
the love, the more powerful a force love is in human affairs.
Also, a large
perspective reminds us that, while it behooves us to be honest about
where things seem to be heading, we never know for certain how they will
turn out. Probabilities can change on a dime in this chaotic
free-will world. In addition, we never know what tricks the universe
has up its proverbial sleeve. Some say, for example, that the
earth could heal itself of the wounds of pollution with amazing speed if
humanity reached a high enough consciousness. So it doesn't pay
to get too bent out of shape about what hasn't happened yet.
People sometimes make major life choices based on gloom-and-doom predictions
of things that never occur, leaving them with egg on their face. The
best approach is to trust our intuition, use common sense, do all we can
to change the course of things, and then let go.
non-attachment, we flow like water. We speak what others can hear when
they are open, and are otherwise silent. We choose the words
that communicate clearly and honestly without unnecessarily
triggering the defenses of others. From centering in love, the
words we *can* say, that flow cleanly, are the right ones. When nothing
can be said or done, we can still always work with energy, channeling
the eternal and uplifting the darkness that comes our way.
This is what it means to be a lightworker