In a Conscious Society Bling is the New Fur

I remember walking down the street in my fur coat a few years back and having someone ask me if I knew how many minks died for my fur. I stopped wearing fur. I stopped because I did not need it, it was a luxury, it was a sign that I had made it – it was ego food. I understood the question. Now, with the world so small, and the suffering so great – so unavoidable – I wonder if we should not feel the same sense of responsibility that we feel for helpless animals, for helpless humans.

There was a time when your choices were beautiful sparkling diamonds or dull glass. It made some sense, if even in a superficial way, to want a diamond. But today, there are faux diamonds that cost a fraction of the cost and sparkle with equal brilliance – so one has to ask oneself why buy the diamond? What is it’s value in our world today? What if you have a ten thousand dollar diamond, trade it in for a one thousand dollar cubic zirconium and give the nine thousand dollars that you have left to buy mosquito nets for children in Africa? Then your diamond would have value., it would show much more than what you can afford to have, it would show what you are willing to give. Wouldn’t it be cool, rather than wearing a five thousand dollar blouse that says you are filthy rich, wearing a five-dollar tee shirt that says, “The money I planned to spend on a blouse is feeding a village in India”. How cool would you be?

Bling says to the world, “I am wearing this because I can afford it and I have nothing better to do with it than waste it on show”. Yes, it just does. No one can watch the homeless and displaced, the diseased and dying in this country and around the world and then spend thousands of dollars on things, which announce, “It’s about me”. Not today. Today we don’t need to spend thousands, millions of dollars on precious gems in order to sparkle. We can spend a fraction of that on semi-precious gems, give the rest to those in desperate need and not only sparkle from the gems, but glow from the heart. I believe that today it would be much more satisfying to wear something that doesn’t say “I have made it because I can afford to drip in diamonds” but something that says, “I have made it because I can afford to feed a village”. The oohs and ahhs are much greater today and much more long lasting when you show what you give rather than what you wear.

If our success in a profession is measured by the amount of money that we are paid, that is ok, if we understand that our true worth is measured by what we give. The point is that there is no need for bling today, it doesn’t look better than faux bling, but trading that bling in for heart does look better. We cannot outlaw bling anymore than we can outlaw fur, but it would be nice to ask someone dripping in bling, “How many children’s bellies could be filled by those earrings?” “How many villages could be educated against AIDS with that ring?” And perhaps, while we are at it, we should ask ourselves how much does it cost to make a house a home, and how many children can we give a home to for the price of a ten million dollar house?

I am not advocating ego denial. I am advocating a sense of satisfaction that not only feeds the ego but also feeds the soul. Trust me, it feels better to give to give to children in Somalia than it does to give to salespeople in Harry Winston, Proving to a child that faith has reason, God is alive and that there are angels is so much more gratifying than the stares you get from sparkling down the street in jewels. And who could honestly say that a tour of a mansion you built could hold a candle to a tour of the hospital you built in a village that has not even seen a doctor. Save a mink, don’t buy fur, Save a child, don’t buy bling.

Changing our Concept of Good and Evil

imagesd

We have evolved in many ways since the days when the major religions were founded. We live in a world that is now explainable in ways that our ancestors could never have understood. We no longer fear the darkening of the sun, because we understand the science of eclipses. Religion used the mysteries of nature to prove their validity. Now, we understand the forces of nature and although we cannot control them, they are no longer a mystery. It is a different world. We have evolved by leaps and bounds intellectually, now in order for us to continue to live on and be sustained by the earth that we have come to understand scientifically, we must evolve, we must mature spiritually and “put away childish things”. We have access to great Spiritual knowledge; we must make the spiritual leap.

Before we can understand good and evil, we must be able to stand mentally and emotionally firmly in the understanding that we are not these bodies or these lives, we are souls experiencing these bodies and these lives for a great purpose. We are energy and energy seeks to expand, we are the stuff that God is made of, and as we expand so does God. Thinking logically, the earth is not the only game in town. Ours is not the only dimension in town, and we are far from the only intelligent species in town. I believe that the earth is a unique school, one in which a soul can study the most diversified subjects and master the most diversified abilities. We are all creators, this is part of expansion, and the earth provides so many different mediums to learn to create within. There is the earth itself, there is the body, the emotions, the intellect, so many areas to perfect, and so many opportunities to grow.
Then there are those difficult courses, such as overcoming temptation, overcoming greed, selfishness, fear, hatred, prejudice – what we call the seven deadly sins are actually the seven challenges that we must overcome in order to graduate from this cycle. This is a very difficult topic because it seems to easy to declare one person evil and one person good, one act evil and one act good, but spiritually there just is no evil.

To say that a lie is evil causes most of us to immediately put up a defensive wall, against hearing anything else. The ego becomes angry and prepared for this attack on its goodness. Yet, this is not meant as a judgment of goodness. It is mean to help us to question our concept of evil.

In a belief built world, good and evil are concepts that arise out of perception. When we life in Maya, illusion, we are already living in a world built in the sky so to speak. Like those castles so readily attributed to neurotics. But what grounds that illusion, what connects it with God is the heart. The heart is where we find the doorway to God. So we can say that what we believe in our hearts, whatever we believe to be the truth, is as good as it gets.

The illusion, the Maya into which we are born is ultimately created by God for the purpose of teaching the soul its own value, its own essence which is God. Man once understood this and so created initiations for the purpose of changing the boy into the man, the boy into the warrior, or the shaman. The boy at a certain age would be sent away from the tribe to some place where he was totally unfamiliar, a place that was wrought with peril so that he could confront the many challenges that would force him to reach deeper and deeper within his being until he was in contact with the source of his power, God, which would then guide him through the dangers. He would then be led back home changed, clear, the illusions of childhood replaced with the knowledge of the true self. Just like Jesus truly became the Christ not merely at the baptism but when he went away for those forty days to confront his last temptation.

This is symbolic of mans time on earth. We must confront the ego which controls our little minds, with its wiles, its rationalizations, it justifications, its cunning and its judgments, which are, in fact, all different types of lies.

Evil is merely an illusion created in the mind of man. It is only “bad” because it takes us further away from our Source, which is connected to the heart. Good is anything that is truth, which originates from the heart and leads us to our Source. Look at it this way, if take one letter, the “o” out of good, you have God, they are connected. If you take one letter the “v” out of evil, you have lie they too are connected. Anything that is a lie, is not good, not of the heart.

When we hear the word evil we immediately seem some red horned figure, or some darkly cloaked sinister shadow lurking somewhere in a corner. Evil is in merely that which points us away from the truth which is that path to God. It is a sign that has been turned in the wrong direction, intentionally, for whatever reason. It is ultimately not in the best interest of anyone if it is away from God.

Am I saying that understanding this will put an end to conflict…an end to war? No, I am not. In a world that is built on a foundation of illusion, which is inhabited by souls who are all on different levels of evolutionary progress, there are bound to be different truths. Those truths will be defended or not based upon the age of the soul, its understanding and its inherent nature. But while the ego seeks domination and adherence at all costs to its beliefs, the heart seeks understanding and acceptance. What I am saying is that coming from the heart, living in truth, even if it is a very personal truth, will put an end to weapons of mass destruction. The heart, every heart, contains the essence of God, and even within the illusion the heart can never justify the death of one innocent being as “acceptable collateral damage”.

The ends do not justify the means in the heart only in the mind. And so a man or woman might very well see that the only way to defend what he or she believes in their hearts is to defend it with their lives. But, at no time will the heart defend its truth with someone else’s life. A noble battle is fought with honor by the one whose belief is being defended. Jesus did not send anyone else to the cross for him. And so, although we will not end conflict by coming from our hearts, we will end dishonor, and find our way to God. We will all emerge from the wilderness with the heart of a true warrior.

Finding Peace, Finding Heaven, by feeling middle C

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. “ Genesis 1:6-8

Faith is knowledge, far greater than belief, it is the knowledge that we are no alone; that we are never  vulnerable, and that there exists no adversity greater than the power we have behind and within us to overcome.  This knowledge is imprinted in the soul.  It is the power that causes everything on earth to grow up, despite the enormous pull of gravity to prevent that.  Faith is the core of the soul.  Fear, is the knowledge of the ego that it is temporary, that it dies to the dreamer when the dreamer awakens.  The ego is not a bad thing, its connection with the material world keeps the body alive.

The soul does not fear nonexistence, because it knows that whether it is has solid form like ice, or flows like water, or even dissipates into the air, like steam, it always is itself.  The soul knows only faith, the ego knows only fear.  And we come in as vessels to learn from the interplay of both.  Every light, peaceful, steady, uplifting emotion emanates from faith; love emanates from faith.  Every painful, hateful, heavy emotion, including greed, judgment, selfishness and bigotry, comes from the survival mechanism of the ego which is fear.

We incarnate (enter meat) in a physical body with physical needs and physical proof that we will not be here long if we do not meet the needs of the physical vehicle.  Faith is intangible,

I know so many people who live their lives in a state of anguish. Drowning in emotions, in fear of never being happy, in sadness when life disappoints seeing disappointment as a sign that happiness is not to be hoped for. Most of the people I love are prisoners living behind invisible bars that no one can see. The bars consist of open wounds, which no one can see. Life is like an ocean, sometimes calm, and other times the waves are relentless.

Ocean waves

For many life feels like a walk at the edge of this ocean while it looks so beautiful,  the reality of it is more like waves of salt water on invisible open wounds . Those who live with these wounds, feel them to be safe. Just as a person who has spent most of his or her life in prison, finds it safe, becoming repeat offenders committing crimes to return to prison. A place others might find to be the equivalent of hell. They find safe because it is the hell that they know.

There is something else about emotional pain, it creates a strange sense of being fully alive. Living is feeling. Feeling reminds us that we exist. It really does not matter what we feel, but as long as we feel, whatever we feel, we know that we are alive. When I lost my store I went into the abyss of depression. I felt abandoned by everyone I had been there for. I felt alone, unloved, unimportant, and most of all invisible. The only thing that surrounded me, and in the strangest way, validated my existence was my suffering, and I grew to need my suffering. I forgot that I did not have to suffer to exist. I had not realized that I did not need to crumble under the weight of my life to be worthy enough, deserving enough…of help.

So, when Prozac came out, many people who lived in constant suffering whether it was sadness or anger took this miracle medication and initially felt thrilled that the dark cloud that seemed to hover over them was gone. Yet, eventually they missed that ability to feel. Some people called it their “edge”, others just felt numb. They did not really feel alive anymore. This made them stop the Prozac and eventually re-enter the depression battle. The thing with that antidepressant is that it veils the emotions in this dense fog. And frankly, when I thought about the middle way discussed by Buddhism, about being in the world and not of it,as mentioned in the Bible, I thought of Prozac. I thought of being without feelings.

Now, I have realized that the middle road does not mask feelings. I asked for something that I could equate it to, and what came to me was, the middle C on the piano, the “do” in, “do, re, ,me, fa, so, la ti” which has always been, to me, the richest note on the piano.  It is rich because it is where all the notes, all the feelings are equal in power, and equal in intensity. It is the point where high and low meet, even touch, but neither consumes the space. It is the point of pure balance. It is where sunrise and sunset are one., where the light sits on the deep.

At the lowest end of the keyboard, it is deep yet there is something unsteady about the notes, something rough.  At the highest end the notes are tinny they are weak.  The middle path, is full; it is not rising or falling, but knowing both.  It is walking on water not drowning in it, while still feeling the light of the Sun.  It is experiencing life while still being firmly planted in the Self.  It is middle C, where we begin and where we return.

Today we live in turbulent times, and they are not going to change.  We can allow ourselves to be thrown to and fro by the the rising and falling waves, or we can plant our feet firmly in the sand and allow the waves of life to pass through us, breathing them in and releasing them back out.  Life is out of our control, but living is not.  If we want to find joy, it is middle C.  We must travel the firmament – The Way, The Tao:

When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.
She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

Tao Te Ching