Sunday, May 1, 2011

Keeping the Candles Lit!

Keeping the Candles Lit!

"Japan Struggles to Contain Radioactive Leak" - "Fighting Continues in Libya" - "Widespread Cracking on Southwest Planes" - "Taliban Bombs Pakistani Shrine" "Oil Continues to Wash Up on Gulf Shores" - "Quran Burning Sparks UN Staff Slaughter." In just two hours those international headlines filled the air. The national and local news about murders, rapes, dying dolphins, budget cuts and government shutdowns wasn't much better.

This never-ending dose of "news" permeates worldwide consciousness threatening to derail the good intentions of everyone. And why call it "news?" There's nothing "new" about any of it. Rather, it's the same tired litany of fear and anxiety repackaged weekly with a different name or theme. It's very difficult to make sense out of all that's happening on the planet now, even as we're witnessing the labor pains of the new world. But maintaining that image can be daunting, especially when it feels like the world has gone mad.

People of consciousness hear the planetary distress call wondering if they can really do anything to help. Lately, it's not unusual to hear even the strongest and most grounded of practitioners expressing growing feelings of hopelessness or worse, apathy. They say they're overwhelmed or stressed out by all that's happening. Many are withdrawing internally from the endless barrage of things gone wrong, no longer wanting to be part of the outer world. Others share feelings of great sadness that holds them captive. They're unable to keep their own candles lit much less for others.

Some say resistance is futile. Others, that what you resist persists. The phrase, resistance is futile, comes from The Borg in the Star Trek Series. The Borg assimilated everything in their path on a quest to attain perfection. Each species they encountered had an image of one part of the elephant believing that to be the entire elephant. The Borg however wanted to know the entire elephant by merging every species into their collective. But, their mechanical approach to existence was devoid of any empathic feeling. The endless assimilation worked until the discovery that individuals could indeed become disconnected from the hive of the collective.

As the proliferation of fear, negativity and bad feelings continues to affect mass consciousness, we too can disengage from the news-hive of despair. Resistance is not futile nor an option. We know why we came here and what we're charged with doing. But it's going to take extraordinary courage and great strength to hold our vision of the elephant in the face of overwhelming contradictions.

Just as the "news collective" paints one picture of fear in the daily stories, there are so many other uplifting stories that are never shown. Seek them out. We have powerful tools at our disposal. In a universe made up entirely of sound waves, every thought has a meaning, creates an image, and defines the form. We can align ourselves with the good stories giving ourselves an empathetic sonic reprieve. But it will take purposeful intention, firm beliefs, and constant vigilance. We have to create and experience a reality different from what is presented to us every day.

While it's hard, and we're tired of the never-ending saga, we have to keep all our candles lit! The shared vision is of a neighborly world with people caring about one another. We can counter-balance the negative effects that currently predominate through small acts of service. It can start with something as little as a smile even when our own troubles feel insurmountable. We all need help now and then, but perhaps a neighbor needs a helping hand a little bit more. The act of reaching out takes us out of "our stuff" and puts us into a different frequency of helping.

Thousands of people holding soothing images can create a new mold for the world. That's how we keep the candles lit. But, we have to do this right now! And, it needs to be done daily for the next six months! Especially when the news seems darkest. Especially when the struggle seems against all odds. Especially when we're exhausted and feel we're doing this alone. Especially when it's so hard to stand up to the onslaught and still be positive. If we don't do it who will?

The collective healing will become real. It will happen if we affirm and hold the vision of our part of the elephant. In the greatest darkness we are not alone! There are hundreds of thousands also holding lit candles with us! Turn around and you'll see them glowing in the stories of high school football players feeding the hungry; of an 8-year old boy giving thousands of teddy bears to less fortunate kids because "every kid needs a teddy bear"; of other young children sending their allowances to the Tsunami victims; of neighbors reading to the blind; of a community's response to a family burned out of their home. Those stories seldom make the headlines, but in them we see lit candles keeping the darkness at bay!

Jo - May 2011