Sunday, November 18, 2012

Looking for Signs

 You can tell a lot about a person when you ask them what they want in life.  Some will rattle off a tangible list of things, even experiences, but honestly, there seems to be a cultural divide.  To want hope, peace, faith and love more than money in our culture seems to be unthinkable, that is until the unthinkable happens.

We pay people to solve things for us.  If we don't like how we look, we reshape ourselves through the hands of a skilled surgeon.  We buy our way through life, and in some very real ways we have friends based on what they possess instead of who they are.  This 'throwing money" at problems in order to 'solve' them doesn't seem to solve anything.  We try to make ourselves look better, but then that means that someone has to look 'worse' than we are.  The 'better' new me, because we have been taught to hate the 'old' (and younger) version of ourselves.  We want to go to the past or the future, but never enjoy the moment we have right now.  We want to leave this world, because another world will solve our problems.  We want to understand where we came from because we want an answer to why we are here because we cannot seem to deal with our inequalities and differences and continue to strive towards a sameness without realizing that we all just want to go in the directions of our dreams, ahhh, but the problem is WHAT to dream about.  We tend to forget that we all need each other, but the goal for many is not to need anyone because need is weakness.  The wealthy have seen in their own minds that they are the gods to be caretakers over humanity and the poor have also seen the wealthy as their gods and providers.  It's a codependent relationship.  The wealthy cannot care about death or famine because it would drive them insane.  They would weep in a nonstop fashion if they realized their ability to do something, but their friends ensure that there are no bleeding hearts amongst their group.  After all, we have continuously have been told that there have been too many of us.  On the other extreme, there are nations that brutalize the females, children, those of questionable sexual orientation, minorities, differing faiths and then call themselves a free people.  If freedom only exists for a segment of the population, can a nation ever call themselves free?  Economically, not even America can call herself a free nation.  Our voices are kept silent and we are left to figure out systems to try to 'make' ourselves.

We have our pursuits of happiness, and basically, this nation was founded on the principal that mankind is good, not evil.  The deepest desire within us all is to have the power to give kindness to each other.  We want to be trusting, as trusting as a child is of each other, but when you have a nation full of child abuse, rape, sexual violence, war and addictions; how is it possible to go to a place called 'happiness' when senses are distorted?  Not everyone is abused or the abuser.  No, but there is a huge void in many lives, and we try to fill that void with things.  Happiness is not a pursuit.  Happiness is a state of being.

The material world debate has been going on for quite sometime, a lot longer than I had perceived it.  There was a work written by D. H. Lawrence where the elder generation was criticizing the youth, "All they care about is money, so they know nothing about living."  I know I may have paraphrased it out of it's context,  but it was the most remarkable line of Lady Chatterley's Lover.  Here was a woman, who married well, in terms of her social and economic standing; but she had a business marriage and not one of love.
Only the poor know love?  I heard it said by many women, "The first time you marry, you marry for love.  The second time, is for money, but if you get it right the first time, you get both."  There is a bitterness about love that I cannot seem to understand because I still idealize love, even at my age.  Love isn't a 'thing' to be found.  I think where we have it wrong is that love is not an emotion, far from it.  Love is a state of being that is not based on economic give and take.  There isn't a balance sheet.  The problem is we talk about what love 'feels' like as though there is an emotional cue that this is what it is like to 'fall' in love.  We often mistake what true actions of love are.  Love is not an emotion, it is an action that cannot be repaid.  It is a display.  

I have to say that I have spent my entire life learning about love.  I will never fully comprehend love, but I feel that it is a noble quest.  Does love give way?  Does love allow us to grow if we try to control the actions of others?  Why has love been hated amongst groups that seem to profess the word and still fails to comprehend the depth of what that state of being is?  To be loved without loving is the most selfish kind of love there is.  Love is like water.  It is a tangible and intangible force.  It is the source of life.  Yet so many will say love doesn't exist.  
So what is the ideal?  Perhaps that would be to have the ability to love.  If you have the ability to love, you have the ability to live wisely.  Now if only we knew how to stop being so damn fearful of each other.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Follow the White Horse

There is a saying about small towns, everyone knows everything because there is nothing to know.  You can give a vague description about anything in a town, and immediately someone will pipe up, "Oh yeah, I know what you're talking about." Everyone has discovered everything so nothing is new to them.  But I am a stranger here in these parts so I looked completely foolish to them as I went completely ga ga over this miniature white horse.

The horse saw me walking down the street and approached the fence, almost like an invitation.  It's interesting about its conditioning because it stopped by a sign that simply read, "Don't Feed The Horse".  My guess is that the horse is an experienced beggar, and people tend to dislike being told what not to do.  Perhaps it is to prevent the owner from being sued if the horse bit them.
However, this horse showed a smile and not its teeth and posed so beautifully for me.  Of course I couldn't resist its eyes and I just happened to have a huge green apple in my bag that just might have made it over the fence as payment for its kindness.
Sometimes we have to ignore what the signs say and just do what is right.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Since When Is Life Safe? The Sorrow of Time Travel.

It was the first of November, 2012 and the anxiety of the approach of 21 December was being acutely felt in the world.  Did it feel like 1999 all over again?  I started thinking about how many times in my life I had heard the world is coming to an end, and if life is going to end, what is the point?  Right?  I mean why do anything if it is all for nothing.  Why get out of bed?  Why plant crops?  Why raise children?  Why do we need to do absolutely anything if all that is waiting for us is one great big long dirt nap?  Life is vanity.  Someone else screwed it up and well, it is all damnation.    How would you spend your last 24 hours or days or years?  How would life go on if we all had the lifespan of a butterfly?  Well in terms of eternity, that is exactly what we have been allocated, but even a butterfly starts off as a caterpillar, spins a cocoon, waits and then eventually emerges from its shell as a butterfly.  Before it dies it mates profusely just to ensure that life does go on and it dies.  The interesting thing about butterflies is it doesn't question its existence, nor ponders about the meaning of life.  It just produces life and as a benefit, it also helps farmers with cross pollination.  The butterfly is just being a butterfly.
Published in The Allora Advertiser Issue No. 3220, 1 November 2012, p14

I love being around nature, and during my time here, I haven't really spent very much time on newspapers, television, nor even the internet.  Instead I have been writing, taking pictures, and exploring this small town in Australia.  I have spent a lot of time in meditation, talking to people and sharing stories with new found friends.  We have been learning from each other, and honestly it has infused life into my veins.  One of my new friends showed me the local paper for the market specials and in the advert section was a request for an adventurer.  I had to remind myself that the population is less than one thousand people, and someone posted a request that was completely original and paid for.    Someone was seeking a time traveler.  For a half-second, which is an eternity, I thought about calling up the fellow just to ask how many Allorians actually called.  Then again, I noticed the number was not a local number, but I decided not to reply.  The ad itself is enough for speculation.  Since Australia has been progressively changing their firearm laws and gun ownership has been challenged year by year since 2008, I wonder how many have their own weapons to bring.  Of course, I also love the line, "I have only done this once before."  Perhaps he was the gent that showed up in an all tweed suit trying to sabotage a Mountain Dew delivery to CERN and then subsequently disappeared without a trace from the psychiatric facility he was taken to.  So I decided to go on a time travel walk about to the old train station.

In many parts of the world, train travel is making a resurgence, actually train travel for many parts of the world has never died off.  As a matter of fact, newer, faster lines with improved technologies are most evident in Asia.  In the West, we just cannot seem to figure out that train lines shouldn't be privately owned.  There are some things that have to be managed for the service of all, but we can't seem to strike the right balance of what it means to live in a cooperative society.
 There is something striking about seeing the disuse and as I walked along the rails, I came to the end of the line and wondered why we were all so quick to assume that the automobile would be the answer to our transportation needs.
 And so I looked at how nature is overtaking this abandoned line that once hauled cattle and sheep and coal and possibly passengers on the fringes of the outback until one day there was no more profit to be made and it simply died.
 And I wondered about this time travel scenario.  Should someone go back in time and tell people not to build this line because it wouldn't be used one day?  Of course, I am not serious and I have no weapon with me.  Speculating on what a person would or could do if they went back into time is simply not taking responsibility for the life you have lived so far.
 It is better to remember that you cannot unmake your choices, but you can correct along the way.  You can make mistakes and you can choose to change.  It's better to be slow to anger and to speak up at the right times.  Isn't life about mastering yourself and not desiring to control the actions of others?

 So often, you hear about people wishing about what they could have or should have done.  You hear about people (maybe even yourself) that cite many things they wish they had not done at all.  Perhaps they were deceived, hurt or worse, perhaps they were the perpetrator.  My point is, even if you could undo one mistake in time, it doesn't change the person that made the mistake to begin with.
It might seem like it would be as simple as flipping a switch and all of your fortunes would change.  One thing that remains the same is you, your character.  No matter how much wealth, how much health, nor how much wisdom is acquired; that person is still the same with now other identities in place.  No matter how much wealth, fame or power one acquires in life; you still have to deal with yourself and no amount of time travel can change that.