This is proof that we actually do understand that the whole purpose of being here is to generate good feelings.
It seems, increasingly, we live in a hurried place of destruction and negativity, and yet all of us know in our hearts that something different is possible, in some way or another. The trouble I often see is we ball up all the anger and heaviness and we get together in groups that say things like, "We must save the environment!!!" Or, "We must fight for social equality!!!" And we wonder with irritation why some video of a cute animal will go millions-of-views viral but our very important environmental awareness event was scantly attended.
Imagine right now you are speaking to a dog. Say to the dog in the angriest tone possible: "I love you! You're the best!" Be really mean, in your imagination. Completely horrible. If you can't imagine for yourself, I'll tell ya, the dog's response is not affectionate. Now open your heart to the dog. Smile, all the way through your chest. Empty yourself of the day's woes for a moment, fill yourself up with Love and tell the dog, "Oh, you're so dumb. I don't get you at all, you weird creature." Well, the dog is into it!! It wags its tail and gladly accepts your loving attention.
What I see is too many people are taking their anger and only giving it different words. They turn "I hate my job!" into "save the trees!" but the energy is the same. They're still angry. They're bitter and they turn their bitterness on the "other side".
They say "Those [Republicans/Democrats/Whatever] - they're so terrible! We will not tolerate their intolerance!"
"Those loggers they don't know anything!"
"Those police they're so power hungry and violent!"
"Those corporations, they're so evil!"
So people, who are otherwise going about their lives as normal, look at your activist group from the outside and they sense the anger, and they don't come. They don't "join the cause". They know somewhere deep inside of them, even if they can't describe it, that your cause is really no different than the life they know they are really tired of living. They want the world to be a better place, but they "won't participate" in bettering it in the way you think is right because they feel the anger. So instead they spend their time sending on funny videos of cats to their friends because they know it is a good thing to laugh and bring joy. It brings them closer to the goodness of Life they sense is not only possible, but indeed already there.
Well, of course, we need to take the idea of changing the world and sharing funny things over the Internet and bring them a bit closer together.
This morning on the way to the jobsite, we stopped somewhere for an errand and I noticed this mural adorning a nearby building. It was so beautiful I felt inspired and touched.
The Internet's solution would be to take a picture of it, as I did, perhaps attach some inspirational words, and share it as a meme. Facebook pages like The City Repair Project might share it and hundreds of people would see it and some would share it, and some would even share it saying the same words I felt in my heart, "Why aren't beautiful murals everywhere?"
But in an instant the photo is shared and it disappears down the news feed, and the moment of inspiration passes. A dim hit in a world of over-stimulus.
Sharing the photo doesn't make more murals happen.
Sharing cat videos doesn't permanently help us generate better feelings on the largest scale.
Similarly, I find the world stock-full of well-meaning advice that is way off target. At some point in a person's life, a realization hits, and in the presence of a friend, they were able to articulate it. The person and their friend both feel incredible Truth and Love from the wisdom. Then, they might try to repeat the advice to someone else later. Maybe over and over again for decades. When people repeat advice, they are investing in a kind of grasping onto words as a way to try to keep that moment with Grace, instead of investing in good feeling the kinship with their friend. Re-writing a metaphor from David Deida: "That advice is like a cloud passing in the sky: well-formed, coherent, and not necessarily relevant later. The cloud is an expression of the precise physics of water, wind, and air. The words are expressions of the physics of your feelings, the relationship, and the nuances of the present situation, seen and unseen. A moment later, these factors will change, and so will the relevance of the words."
In that wave of advice, one can let it open the gateway to Love between people and let that be the thing that fills them up, instead of the words. In all actuality, just like with the dog, it matters most the feeling that exists under the words. If you invest in the feeling of kinship with your friend, then a sense of intimacy increases. You can build your sense of intimacy with your own Soul if you're alone. You can build your sense of intimacy with a plant while you're in a garden or on a walk. So when you're speaking: are you using words as a way of distancing yourself from true intimacy? Is it, in honesty, a distraction from the present moment with an ornate mask of wisdom or spirituality?
I cannot help but laugh, thinking of the YouTube video by JP Sears, "How To Be Ultra Spiritual."
Yes, words can help to accentuate expression. We can share Love thru words, actions, touch, energy... there is no one right way to do it. I know I often advocate for a strong "feeling" sensation, but that is just one way, that works for me.
The reason I am bringing this up is not because I've been hit with a bunch of impersonal advice lately, but to bring us back to the cats. While it's nice to pass along videos of cats, because it generates good feelings, or share pictures of murals because they are beautiful, it is still a way of bringing us out of the present moment of potential intimacy with our life. Even the wisest advice, attached to the prettiest picture, shared in the most timely meme will come and go. In moving toward "real" change not just "change" with the same undercurrents of anger and corruption, I am interested in the question: "What is persistent?"
A friend, Janet Carter, was pondering a larger scale still: what are we as a planet are being exposed to now, given our current position in the Milky Way galaxy? It takes approximately 250 million years for our solar system to make a full rotation around the galaxy, so the last time we are at this point of the galaxy, humans were not yet on the planet.
This is a wonderful thought for consideration because it's one way to invite some relaxation to some otherwise angry dispositions. When I was beginning to learn in specific terms about what's up on the planet right now, I was always confused why it mattered to much to people one way or another if "global warming" was real. I was looking around at what was happening right now, the physical reality of the effects we're already experiencing from social inequality to devastating our living planet saying, "Um. This is already bad." And working on our farm saying, "Wow, this is too good."
The fight about whether or not global warming is real or not is a distraction, another reason to fight, to take sides. Of course what we are doing is not only heartbreaking, it is cruel. But to continue to perpetuate the cruelty with anger and righteousness is pointless. My friend Jeff Peters adds, "The people with all the money and apparent power are the ones causing the most problems, and they are not paying attention to any of the outcry anyway."
250 million years ago, no one was hanging around on Earth wondering about whether or not global warming was real. And since that time, Earth has tried out all kinds of forms, from ice ages, to enormous dinosaurs, and maybe overly emotional humans is just another phase and it too will come and go. The planet Earth is going to be fine. What matters is, how good is Life?
So what will you do with your Life? Please, whatever you do, do it with Love. And do it with all the messiness you know, in your honest dips of doubt and depression and suffering. Get mud all over your hands and your heart and stay. Stay with the feeling. The raw feeling of what's true with you and your loved ones right now. Stay on the edge of intimacy and generate good feelings.
When we have strong relationships, we feel more at ease with taking risks, and when we take risks we're more likely to learn how to give our full gifts to the world. The world does not need us staying idle in a disheartening life, nor to be building fortresses around the "right" ideas. The world needs a wild party of people who are Loved, and therefore able to be truly Alive, giving their gifts and shining their light like no tomorrow.
And, hey, if showing your Love means sharing that crazy cat video, as long as it is not subverting the current edge of your own creative life force, then do so by all memes. Oh, means, by all means!