Getting Beyond Our Current Thinking
As Albert Einstein so aptly stated: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking
we were at when we created them.”
In the current issue of our newsletter – Winter 2013 , we chose the theme what can “we the people” do right now to correct the negative conditions in societies around the world. We have been bombarded by recent news of atrocities in Syria, in the Congo, in Pakistan; overwhelmed by how the widespread economic disaster in Europe affects the people there and elsewhere; despair as riots replace the optimism of the Arab Spring in Egypt - and when we are feeling numbed by the never ending blackness around us, something even more unimaginable occurs - the horrific murder of twenty defenceless school children and seven other adults that took place recently in Connecticut, U.S.A. Simultaneously other innocents around the world are suffering from starvation, epidemic, war, rape, genocide, disaster, and religious persecution.
These examples all illustrate that things have now gone far beyond what can and should be tolerated by sincere, conscientious people everywhere. We are simply saying - without pinning blame on anyone, any particular group or any particular culture or society - that people the world over must unite in a common purpose in order to move the evolution of our own generation and future generations in the right (healthy) direction. The consequences of not doing so are too horrible to even consider.
A portion of the newsletter is composed of ideas and suggestions as to what ails humanity and what non-violent action we as individuals can take right now to correct this ailing world situation that were submitted by a number of our readers. Due to space restrictions, we edited a number of the more lengthy submissions. We have fully reproduced a number of these below to present a more complete expression of their comments.
From Eileen Holland, Canada
In the winter of 1996, when I was without work and shortly after the death of my mother, I entered a time of deep reflection and self- examination. There came as a result a flurry of songs and poetry.
One song, in particular, was simply waiting for me one morning. I woke up, went to my desk and wrote down the words with the melody running through my head. It took less than 10 minutes. I do not think of "Simple Prayer" as "my song". I was merely the vessel.
© 1996 Eileen Holland
I'M A SIMPLE GIRL WITH A SIMPLE PRAYER,
HOW WILL I FIX THE WORLD OUT THERE?
HOW WILL I HEAL THOSE BROKEN HEARTS
IN ANGUISH AND DESPAIR?
IRELAND CRIES AND CHECHNYA BURNS,
OKLAHOMA BLEEDS AND NOBODY LEARNS.
DRUGS ARE PUSHED INTO CHILDREN'S HANDS,
AND STILL THE PLANET TURNS.
IN ANCIENT LANDS NOBODY SLEEPS,
AS BOMBS GO OFF IN CITY STREETS.
INNOCENTS DIE IN STRANGERS' ARMS,
AND PARENTS LEFT TO WEEP.
I'M A SIMPLE GIRL WITH A SIMPLE PRAYER,
HOW WILL WE FIX THE WORLD OUT THERE,
HOW WILL WE HEAR THOSE BROKEN HEARTS
IN ANGUISH AND DESPAIR.
THE ANSWER'S YOURS TO DECIDE,
WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT IT'S SUICIDE,
WHEN YOU SEE THERE'S NO PLACE LEFT TO HIDE,
WE SAIL THE MOON WHILE PEOPLE DROWN,
AND STILL WE'RE HOLDING MILLIONS DOWN,
WE SPREAD OUR POISONS ON THE AIR,
THEN TRY TO HIDE THEM UNDERGROUND.
THE POCKET GODS THEY TAKE AND TAKE,
WHAT ONCE WAS REAL THEY'VE LEARNED TO FAKE,
THEY DANCE, BUT DEEP INSIDE THEIR SOULS,
THEY FEEL THE PLANET ACHE.
SO ALL YOU LEADERS WITH YOUR POWER TO SPARE,
HOW DO WE FIX THE WORLD OUT THERE?
HOW DO WE HEAL THOSE BROKEN HEARTS
IN ANGUISH AND DESPAIR?
THE ANSWER'S OURS TO DECIDE,
WHEN WE REALIZE THAT IT'S SUICIDE.
WHEN WE SEE THERE'S NO PLACE LEFT TO HIDE,
WE'LL LOOK INSIDE, FOR GOD SAKE, LOOK INSIDE !
From Neil B. Sinclair, USA Chairman, CyberTran International Inc.
The greatest challenge we face as a species is how to balance our tremendous scientific and technological achievements with our need to live in a limited world. Unless we learn how to do more with less and how to cooperate globally, we will continue down a path of environmental devastation that in the end will threaten all of us. How can we wake up the human being to the reality of our crisis, when the commercial system at every turn tries to dull our sensitivities and critical thought?
There needs to be leadership and education, and the demonstration of self-sacrifice, or at least self-restraint in consumption. I think the world of Al Gore for his advocacy of awareness of global warming, yet as a consumer he over-consumes. Better to live like Ralph Nader if credibility is what you want.
International competition for resources and power has to give way to environmental compatibility. Recycling of all materials, the use of renewable nonpolluting resources, the distribution of basic needs such as food, shelter, warmth, and clothing need to be made universal. Family planning and education in poor countries must be done to slow down the rate of increase of the global population.
Fundamental selfishness must give way to an attitude of self-control and generosity, and adult humans must overcome their desire for status and pride, and accept modesty and humility as proper ways to live. Aggression must be learned out of us, or at a minimum channelled into sports or other activities that defuse violence in our society, particularly against the weak. International relations must overcome the hatreds of the past, the desire for vengeance, and the mistreatment of those of other races, nations, genders, classes, and religions.
These things cannot be accomplished overnight, but they are all necessary. We must act as a single global species, in our own self-interest, if we are to survive this new era of technology and power. To put all those violent feelings, those fears and hatreds, back into the box is our major obstacle and one which we must overcome.
In the end, it is in fact LOVE that must conquer all.
From Pam Gerrand, Canada
“In a world of war and woe, wash away these tears that flow.
Warm our hearts so cold with fear. Draw us near. Draw us near.”
- Love Is All by Pam Gerrand
Many years ago I heard a quote by Eckhart Tolle that remains true; “We are living in the best of times, and also the worst of times. It is just that the worst is noisier.” Gunfire, war, parents keening at the loss of their children; it seems our world is filled with the worst getting louder and headlines and the media proclaim this daily. As someone who feels the pain of this worldly woe deeply, I have made it my mission to turn up the volume on the ‘best’, and the beauty in the world that is expressed in our acts of love, mercy and compassion.
Last July, after the news of the shootings at the movie theatres in Aurora, Colorado spread, I sat on my meditation bench, and day after day, ‘saw’ myself singing in front of the theatres. This vision stayed with me for weeks, and the whispers became a call to find a way to do just that. To sing my song prayer ‘Love Is All’ in front of the movie theatres where the tragedy took place. I didn’t know a soul in Denver, but my intuition guided me to check my paypal invoices for CDs sold earlier in the year. Sure enough, a woman who lived in Wheat Ridge, Colorado had purchased two CDs, and had emailed me a warm and kind response to my music. Her name is Janet Gunn, and Wheat Ridge is a suburb of Denver. So, here is a woman I have never met, with the last name of Gunn, and she appears to be my link to Denver and my mission to offer the healing vibration of song to a place where darkness had brought the worst only weeks before.
I had a concert planned in Vancouver mid-September, and again my intuition said, “look at the calendar – September 21st is the United Nations International Day of Peace, you could fly to Denver on the way back to Toronto”. I always do a concert somewhere in Canada that day, and I was guided to ask Janet if she would be open to co-creating a peace concert for that day in Denver. She responded without delay, and said ‘this is SO going to happen’. We had several skype chats, and within a few weeks, the wheels were in motion for me to travel to Denver and sing at several events that week.
Less than eight weeks after my vision on the meditation bench, I arrived in Denver on September 17th, and Janet drove me to the theatres in Aurora, Colorado. Now closed and boarded up, the theatres sit quiet and empty, and the parking lot surrounding the building eerily vacant and avoided. I rolled down the windows of her car, took Janet’s hand, and said a short prayer of intention, that the reverberations of this song be felt in the souls who had flown that night in the theatre, and all whose lives that were touched by the pain and grief this ‘dark night’ left in its wake. Then I sang ‘Love Is All’, an ode to the divine feminine and a prayer for peace in our hearts and in the world. The wind blew softly and then surprisingly strongly through the car as I sang…the holy wind was our only audience and witness to this moment.
I believe that our acts of love make a difference. I believe that every act of mercy, love and compassion is felt, reverberating out into the world, offering a tone and touch of transformation. We can all affect the ‘field of consciousness’ with our acts of love, and as we listen to the deeper song within, we find a path opening to a greater experience of peace, connection and creative co-creation.
From Susan Grace Macaulay, USA
One can go practically insane contemplating the horrors that abound; feeling helpless and disempowered, a temptation to sink into despair lurks uncomfortably close.
A loose interpretation of Occam’s Razor encourages us to pick the simplest solution among options. As we battle the urge to grow numb with the announcement of more and more tragedies, we might look within to plumb the simplest solution that makes sense and which calls us back to life, awareness, and sanity. For me, a steady and daily focus on the Serenity Prayer provides perspective: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Does it benefit my children, my family, my employers, my neighbors, my community, if I descend into insanity and depression because I feel powerless over the conditions in the world? Or does it benefit me and my soul, my loved ones, my community and the human race if I focus on working on myself, and nurture, to the best of my ability, a sense of serenity within?
Can I somehow tap into that inner strength and hard won serenity to do good in the world, to be a good person, and to model peace to others? If I harbor ill will towards myself or to others, am I part of the problem or part of the solution?
I’m beginning to believe more and more that service is a crucial key to changing the world, one by one, bit by bit, starting with changing ourselves. We each can take our own strengths and passions and share them with others in whatever way we are inspired. Do you feel you have no particular talents to share? I felt that way for a long time and perhaps my struggle and path will encourage the most shy and humble to stretch beyond their comfort zone. This path is without judgment, of self or others. It’s the simplest path, really. Simply, serve! Pray, contemplate, meditate, ask, seek: in what way can I serve?
For me, the path of yoga had been transformative and healing. Since it had helped me find peace within, perhaps it might serve as a healing vehicle for others. So I reached out to my community and brought donation yoga to the neighborhood, with proceeds going to a church’s community programs. I exhort students to practice their yoga, with consistent emphasis on the old adage “know thyself” and I add, “And don’t forget, while doing your physical practice and relaxation techniques, work on yourself”! Was I a natural teacher, speaker or extrovert? Not really. I prayed for guidance and help all the time. Each time I had the thought I wasn’t good enough, or perhaps I didn’t have time, or any other excuse to not venture outside my comfort zone, I was guided from within to stay the course. I can’t say I’ve affected 100s of people ; but I feel the service I’ve chosen has made a difference in a number of lives, and I’ve made friends that I normally wouldn’t have met had it not been for service.
The following is attributed to Mother Theresa: “don’t worry about numbers, start with the person closest to you”. Also, an awareness of the problem of addiction that has bedeviled my own family besides millions of others around the globe, has led me to become involved with 12 Step groups. 12 Steps, like the 8 limbs of Yoga, encourage us to work on and improve ourselves, and to serve. As a result of putting the limbs and steps to work, a spiritual awakening can bloom. I’ve taken personal passions and interests (Yoga and 12 Steps) and framed service around it. Simple as that. I have to remind myself that I can’t control outcomes or be tied to my actions; all I can do is give of myself, and turn it over to the Divine.
Once Gopi Krishna wrote that two billion service hours could awaken the human race with a jolt. Find your passion, your interest, open your heart and share it with others in any simple or humble way you can. It will and can make a difference…one by one, bit by bit, drip by drip…the droplets will turn into a beautiful raging river of compassion that no one can escape and no one will want to. Gopi Krishna also said when conditions become unbearable, fall to your knees and pray for Divine Mercy. Again, simple. Can be done by anyone, anywhere.
Perhaps the two S’s (simplicity, service) = solution. Occam might be proud.
From Rhea Quien, England firstname.lastname@example.org
What can we do at this time?
Be aware that our thoughts and emotions affect the wider consciousness/the world around us. Anger, jealousy, fear, depression, despair and conflict in our selves all feed the wider anger, jealousy, fear, depression and despair and conflict around us. Turn thoughts and feelings positive. How to do this e.g. by being mindful of how we are feeling, acknowledging that, then consciously choosing something different. Or by having some other tools or techniques for bringing us back into the heart space.
Let us all try to be mindful about how we think and act, and be self responsible for: “With every thought and action together we co- create the world”.
Be aware that the way things are have a cause. So for example, if someone is abusive, they have likely been abused. Try not to add to this abuse by negative reactions. Choose to be compassionate.
For there to be harmony and coherence, both the feminine and masculine need to be strong and in balance. An imbalance or dishonouring of either one or the other, dishonours and imbalances the whole. For example, the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing particularly of the mother, but also the father, has a profound affect not only on the future child, but for generations to come.
Have nothing you don’t need. Rather know of the abundance of life around you.
Join with others for positive work. Enjoy others' positive work, either by direct contact, or by reading good books, watching good films with positive messages, listening to good music.
Be creative rather than seeking entertainment.
Listen to, and observe children. Play with children and take them into nature.
Listen to, and observe animals. Respect them.
Take care of nature by co-creating large areas in nature, where humans don’t interfere. Take a walk in nature every day. Work with your hands in nature daily, even if that is with flower pots in a city flat. Listen and observe.
Spend time each day taking care of your body: the temple; and your mind. Yoga or other exercise, meditation, or other forms of emotional and mental clearing.
Honour the moment of waking up and falling asleep. Invite higher consciousness, light, expanse and love into these moments. At these times we have the greatest direct route to our unconscious.
Humour and merriment dispel the darkness. “Life is far too short to be taken seriously”.