You and I need to Change

So, I have some things I need to finish, short stories and a novel for example — I really need to be working on them, instead of writing a blog post. But as we all know, the internet is a cruel mistress and you can get sucked into it for hours and hours and hours.

But every now and then, it’s worth it.

This is awesome — the Backward Brain Bike — what Yoda says is true “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

After watching the video for a bit and being drawn into the premise, it got me thinking – how many other things have we become too rigid in our thinking about?

I know I’m really late to the party with this one, so feel free to make fun of me or whatever. And there have been people a lot more learned and lot more erudite than myself that have been trying to effect change in the way that we live and think and believe about the state of things in this country.

We’ve been riding our bicycle for the same way a really, really long time. And its probably time – way past due time – to learn how to ride it differently.

And there is a lot of effort put in to keep things the way they are. And it seems that a lot of the language used makes it sound as though trying to change the way things are done will lead to the end of civilization as we know it. And in a way, that’s true — but it would only mean the end for a select group, the ones that are working to keep things exactly as they are right now.

Generally, I think people are good at heart – every one of us simply wants to live as peacefully as possible, to have a space to call our own, to enjoy life – not struggle through it.

So how can we change how things are done in this country? How can we alter the way that wealth is distributed? How can we change the way the political system is set up and run? How can we shift the way we think about things – how do we de-emphasize wealth as the ultimate measure of life and success? How do we shift to a system that benefits all, not just a few?

How do we re-direct our economy away from consumption of fossil fuels that are literally destroying the planet that has given us life? If you don’t think that we as a species have an impact and that global warming is a fallacy, we probably won’t have much in common or anything to talk about. Its like trying to tell someone who smokes that its bad for them – it doesn’t matter that it affects not only them but others around them – they’ll keep doing it because they can, dammit. Mankind seems to have a death wish – we do those things most harmful to ourselves because we can.

People talk about hard it is to stop smoking, or to put an end to any bad habit for that matter. Sometimes there is a physical need or chemical addiction that adds to the process – but the hardest part is the mental shift that needs to take place before real change can happen.

That’s the very thing tough part about change — it’s hard, its frustrating and everybody resists it as much as they can. We become so entrenched in our way of doing things that any new element we try to introduce or are told we should introduce – we reject outright. Because its better to be comfortable that to do some thing that may in fact be better for you. Time is the great teacher, and only by looking back can you understand what harm you might have caused.

I don’t have any answers – and can really only do what I can in my own life to shift my way of thinking.

We all need to re-learn how to ride our bikes – because the way we are riding them now – with racial tension and inequality, police brutality and corruption, with people making money off of other people (the fact that it is called the prison industry should sicken you), with paperwork and rules being more important than actually helping someone – or else we are all due for some painful karma.

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a Buddhist, but it has many tenets and lessons I believe in, including the concept and truth of karma.

karmaKarma deals with intended actions, those that have real consequences. Its not about simple or unthinking actions, though they do come into play – but the intended actions are the one that you really need to pay attention to. What is an intended action? The best example comes from agriculture – if you plant a seed, something will grow from it.

Or for example, posting (on Instagram or Facebook or some other social media forum) something mean or hurtful about someone, which then leads to a harmful result. The seed you plant will grow, so be mindful that the seeds you plant have the consequences you intend or be prepared to deal with the fallout.

That’s the thing about karma – and why a lot of its meaning gets lost or forgotten in this day and age of ‘we want it and we want it now’ – karma isn’t about the now… its about the then. And as much as we would all like some instant karma, it really doesn’t work that way (sometimes in video games, but outside of that, not so much). It’s about the result that will occur because of an action.

I recently had a dealing with a fan on the internet that resulted in me having a bad day – one action resulted in another and ended with me banning the person from my Zordon page on Facebook. Now, we all know that the arguing that happens on the internet is silly and pointless – but it happens day in and day out and it generates a lot of negative feelings and energy. But, as we are all human, we tend to find ourselves responding to things, even though we know better and we get drawn into or generate negative states.

I get a lot of messages on Facebook and while I try to respond to them as much as I can, sometimes I won’t because of one reason or another… the internet creates a false sense of closeness for some people. Some boundaries that you would be more aware of in real life get removed and it creates some awkward tension or creepiness. For example, if someone messages me with a single word – like “Hi.” or “Hey.” or (the worst) “Wassup.” I generally do not feel inclined to respond.

Is that unkind? I guess in a sense, but we all have those conversations that are generally of the “Hey. Hey.  How are you? Good. Ok. Bye.” variety.

I like my interactions to be more meaningful than that – so call me rude or aloof or distant or what have you. But in truth, I want my interactions with most people to have depth and impact. I want it to be something other than just “Hey.”

Now as a ‘celebrity‘ – and I use that word very very loosely – that kind of interaction happens a lot. I’m perfectly fine with it in person – in person you have more of a connection. You can look the person in the eye, acknowledge them and let them know that you see them and appreciate their presence. On the internet you don’t get that level of interaction – you are separated by miles and space and so it feels very disconnected and unreal. And so that sort of passing in the hall level of conversation has little to no meaning and takes time away from something else… so, if that way of thinking about it is unkind, I apologize. And will do my best to change. Although I can’t always promise that will be the case – and which was the kind that lead to the interaction that ruined my day.

I won’t go into the details because they really don’t mean anything – but there was a level of rudeness I won’t tolerate and that lead to the ban. Now… what will be the karmic fallout of that that intended action? I am sure there will be some – that is the fundamental law of the universe. It may be nothing more than a knocking my head on a beam or stubbing my toe or what have you, but I take responsibility for my part of the interaction. My response to the person generated a response and so forth – I’m 50% responsible for how things played out. Do I regret it? In a sense, but not so much that I would wish it undone.

We encounter hundreds of people in our short time on this earth – and some encounters and people are more significant than others. In my life, this particular interaction was pretty meaningless, but meaningful enough to generate this post, which I pass on as a reminder to myself and to others that there are consequences to our actions. No matter how small or insignificant they are in the grand scheme.

But tying back into what I said at the beginning of this post – I need to change my way of thinking about those “Hey” interactions. Because I forget that there are two people involved, and it probably means something to them.

I have a few friends that give me a hard time for some of the posts I make that are about being kind and being positive. But I’m writing this to show that I too have weak moments and get upset and angry just like everyone else – but for the most part, those posts I make about being kind and positive, they are the real me. They are the change I am trying to effect in the world – to lessen the tidal wave of bad news, negative energy and just all around darkness that seems to be the daily bread of news and information that gets spread through the news and social media.

I want this world to be a better place for those that come after me. I want them to see the wonder of it… to feel how small they are in the face of the larger universe but at the same time to know that they matter and do have an impact.

I truly want that. For everyone.

So, if want real change to take place in your life…  unlearn what you have learned.

#DoGoodintheWorld #NOH8 #BeAHero #BeAware #BeAForceForChange

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