For as long as humans have existed on this Earth our species has been studying the stars, planets, galaxies, and other astrological bodies, as well as their (and our) home - the universe. It is so immense that no one actually knows where it begins or ends. In fact...there isn't a person alive who can be certain that it has a beginning or an end, or...if there aren't other universes. Perhaps we live in a cosmos of multiverses.
Yet, there is one thing that I am sure of - you, my blog reading friend, are most certainly the center of your universe. Okay, you may not be the center of MY universe, but...I can tell you this - without you, your universe wouldn't exist.
You see, everything is relative. No one knows what another person's view of reality is. Nor can we be able to fully understand what goes on in another human's (or for that matter, any other living thing's) mind. So, without you, your universe wouldn't exist. It would cease to be. Or, as Monty Python might (also) say..."It is no more."
Just as the age old question asks, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" the same holds true for everything else, including our "universal concepts." In other words...the universe exists for you only because you are in it, can observe or detect it, use your senses to identify it, and call on your (and others') knowledge to "verify" that it is an actual entity.
However, what happens when you're gone? Once YOU'VE ceased to be...does the universe, as you now know it, continue to be "real." A philosophical conundrum? Indeed! But - one that will never be fully answered because of who must answer it.
As we go through life, we are constantly swimming through a sea of concepts and constructs. Many of which are believed by most, some of them believed by many, and a few of them believed by a small number - perhaps just one. So...before you make absolute statements, think about the dilemma each of us faces on a continuous basis, and even then - you may only be right for yourself.
Have fun dissecting things my friends...it certainly is an invigorating exercise - at least it is for one person I know...me!
The world has been going through a perceived crises for some time now. Unemployment rates are high around the globe and here in the United States the economy and jobs have been a pressing issue for the last decade.
During last November's elections there was a cry, by some folks, to elect people who will help the "job creators" - whatever that means. Never overly specific as to how those jobs would be created, the proponents of the "job creators" always tend to believe that giving economic breaks to, and loosening government regulations on, businesses will ultimately create those elusive jobs. But, I have a better idea! I've mentioned this in class many times to my university business students.
Here it is: do away with ALL government regulations on businesses. They can pollute as much as they want, ruin our water, air, and ground, to whatever extent they choose. They can also pay whatever wages they want as well...minimum wage laws would be done away with, totally. Soon, people would be hired in droves.
Plus, because there would be so much pollution, new companies would be formed to clean up all the mess our now non-regulated businesses would create. Ah...entrepreneurial ingenuity! Employment would boom! There would probably be more jobs than people to fill them.
Of course, there are MAJOR drawbacks. No one would be able to breathe clean air and respiratory sicknesses would skyrocket even further than they are now (the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries would then...need more employees too), our water would be a mess and unhealthy to drink unless heavily filtered, the plants grown in our ground would be contaminated (as would be the ground itself), the animals that ate the plants would, most likely, become less healthy (including us), and our overall health rates would deteriorate quicker than they are today (the U.S. is ranked 51st among nations of the world in life expectancy).
It is very, very, unlikely that the cleaner-uppers would be able to make our environment clean enough to negate the constant pollution emitted by the messer-uppers. And - most of us, and our children, and their children, and their children, would have an extremely tough time existing in such an environment, let alone have the money to buy much more than basic necessities.
But...people would have their precious "jobs."
It is interesting to me that people put jobs on a higher pedestal than quality of life. To paraphrase a Native-American Chief who was addressing the "White Man" about work and jobs - his words are so very prophetic: "What is this thing you call work? Everything you need is right here."
So, be careful what you wish for, strive for, and desire. Unless you fully think it through and attempt to make sure that it enhances the quality of life for everyone (including, of course, yourself), and everything, on this Earth...it can wind up being the cause of your own demise.
Inner peace seems to be what we are all in search of. Some humans realize it, others don't. Many people mask their desire for inner peace by overcompensating with and/or about other things. Often the material world becomes their substitute for inner peace. It brings them a costume, a form of self deception that hides their inner being, or so they think. However, those who recognize the depth and reality of inner peace are not taken by the mask, they know that the material only covers the nakedness of the soul.
That does not mean that one can't have material things, wealth, physical desires, and inner peace as well. It's only when the physical/material world is so pervasive in one's mind that their soul is lost in the process.
I am only an individual like you. One who has had his ups and downs and has dealt with health, happiness, sickness, and death. Through it all I have learned that inner peace can come by way of a long process or enter one's life as an epiphany. It arrives from knowledge and the wisdom of using one's mind in a cognitive way. By not being led except by one's self. It is derived through questioning...everything - and accepting nothing until all pertinent information has be deciphered. It means having an open mind and not being judgmental. The paradox comes when you finally know that you may never know. When you can flow with the energy of life as if it is a river. And...when you can enjoy the beauty of life for its own sake.
The calmness of inner peace is unveiled when one understands that a cloudy day presents its magnificence in a different, yet no less incredible, way as a day when the sun is brilliant and sheds it light on all that can be seen - like a blanket covering the Earth with a golden hue that cannot be matched by the greatest of artists. Inner peace comes when the sound of children laughing soothes one's soul like the music of a philharmonic. And...when all the things of life are viewed as a huge fabric textured by every nuance that each day brings - that is when one is engulfed by the realization that inner peace is a continuum.
With that, I have listed 7 steps that may help in one's discovery of inner peace. They are as follow:
1. Love all: Every being on this Earth desires love, including one's self. It is hard to give love when a person does not love himself, or herself, first. Be loving to yourself. That also means to forgive yourself and others so that your love is unencumbered.
2. Help many: No one can help everyone. That's impossible. But...each one of us can help a lot of people in a lot of different ways. Whether you give of your time, your money, your effort, or your advice...it doesn't matter. It is the act itself that counts.
3. Care kindly: Many people will care for others in a begrudging way. It may be their job, profession, or...they may feel that it's their obligation. The caregiver who gives without kindness is not giving care at all, but just performing a function. Kindness makes care a caring service.
4. Enjoy others: Each of us needs enjoyment. We all have to laugh. As I often say, "Laughter is the nectar of the soul." Laughter and smiling, fun and enjoyment, are all emotionally and physically beneficial and makes everyone feel better and calmer about themselves.
5. Choose wisely: Life is filled with choices - constantly. We choose every action, everyday. Think about how your choices affect your life and the lives of others. The peaceful individual realizes that his or her energy and actions can create havoc or harmony, for themselves and others. Choose harmony.
6. Want little: The pursuit of material things often produces feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, distrust, greed, and many other emotions that take one's being away from peace. The most important things we have are ourselves, each other, our Earthly home, and time. The more time and energy you spend chasing a fabricated need for an over abundance of the material, the less time you will have to enjoy the peace and tranquility of life.
7. Need only yourself: Ultimately we only have ourselves on this trip called life. Of course, each one of us has other people and animals that we care about, love, and desire to be close with and to. Yet, when all is said and done...we are alone within the multitude. No one should ever be totally dependent on another person. Knowing how to be calm and relaxed in solitude is a wonderful experience. It frees us to realize that true peace materializes when we can be at peace with ourselves first. Then...one can begin to know the beauty of inner peace.
If you take the time to dissect human behavior, especially over the last few hundred year, you'll notice a marked propensity to think that we "own" the Earth and everything in and on it. And...that somehow we are apart from nature and not an integral ingredient of it.
However, if you step back and take a broad view of what's around you...you'll see a beautiful tapestry of life that includes us. We certainly are part of the texture of our world. So many different types of people, each one its own special self. The same holds true for all the other beings, plants, and elements that make up life.
Instead of wanting to control everything around us, perhaps humans would be better off rejoicing in the fact that we live in a wonderful and wondrous environment that should be embraced. All the other beings have their needs too. Like us - they need to have sustenance, propagate their species, and have security and shelter. Yes, many of them prey on others in order to eat (just as humans do). But...that's part of the cycle of life. Yet, there isn't a mad desire to control every other species around them. Or...a "need" to "rape" our planet to extract elements that only have value because we say they do.
Imagine a world that only had humans as its inhabitants. It would be a pretty stark place. Not very interesting or exceedingly exciting. Our other "partners" on the Earth give us the pleasure of their company. Perhaps we should take the time to return the favor and make life as pleasant for them as possible. And...in the process, make it better for us as well!
Einstein's theory of relativity said in best: e=mc2. Or, to put it in English...energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.
What does that mean? To put it another way...we're all just energy. However, for this period of time we manifest as matter. And - that matter happens to be the people we are when we look in the mirror. But, if we could travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) squared (geez...wouldn't that be somethin'?), we'd turn into energy.
The fact is - that before we're born, the energy of the universe is what it is. The unborn us being a part of it. When we die...(as much as you may not want to think about it) we decompose and become energy again. Of course, during our time as matter, we're still giving off and taking in energy too. So - when people say that he or she is a "ball of energy," that expression is really true!
As we go through life we should think about how our energy affects others (and their energy), since we're all connected through the energy constant we call the universe. Since the energy of the universe is constant, we're only who we are as part of the continuation of the different forms that energy takes. Meaning...stars are stars for a finite amount of time, then they turn into another form of energy. Your computer is in the form of a computer for "x" amount of time and then...it too will turn into energy, as - you will (as I mentioned before) as well.
Now that we recognize that we're all made up of the same thing...how 'bout we work at getting along with each other and everything else on planet Earth, and in the universe, so that we can make this time of being matter...matter!
Today we celebrate "Our Mother." The ceremonies, at least the ones associated with this specific day - and the week preceding it, started in 1970. Back then, I was a twenty-two year old who was very familiar with the Be-Ins that were held on Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. I attended them regularly and this time was no exception. It was not unusual to see thousands upon thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) of people gathered to listen to some of the most popular bands in rock-n-roll perform at no cost to the attendees. There was always a feeling of camaraderie there and, besides the enjoyment of music, a purpose - whether it was about ending the Vietnam War, or protesting prejudice and supporting civil/equal rights. But on this day, there was a different agenda, another goal of awareness, and a new call to action.
It was as much a Teach-In as it was a Be-In. Sure, there was lots of music, but there were also speeches about the destruction of our environment, the polluting of our rivers, stream, oceans, air and lungs. We were learning, or reinforcing, the realization that our penchant for "progress" was killing us. Humans, for some bizarre reason, have this self-sabotaging behavior of wanting to destroy our home. We will do whatever it takes to take whatever we want...regardless of the consequences to our planet, ourselves, or future generations.
The speeches that day by Senators Edmund Muskie and Hugh Scott, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, poet Allen Ginsberg, and many others, were calls to stop the madness and to enable us have our home become the pristine place it was not that very long ago.
That first Earth Day has morphed into a tradition and a movement. And, while some "believe" that climate change doesn't exist. Or...that pollution is somehow a result of "progress," with byproducts (like carbon dioxide) that should be taxed or traded. I, sadly, see that we haven't exhibited very much love for "Our Mother" or ourselves in the last forty-two years. Yes, we've made some progress in correcting pollution. But not enough. For every step we take to correct our problems we also add new ones. Our food is now "modified," our water comes in plastic bottles, or taps need filters to clean out what was originally clean, and our clothes contain toxins.
So...what have we learned since, at least, 30,000 people attended that event in 1970? Perhaps we're more aware of how we're poisoning ourselves, "Our Home," and our children. Maybe we've altered our behaviors and don't consume things that we know will destroy us. It's even possible that we're changing, in positive ways, as a global society. But - time is of the essence. Otherwise, it's entirely possible that someday in the future, they'll be no people left to celebrate "Earth Day." Be constantly vigilant. Because...there is only: one Earth, one atmosphere, and one species known as Homo sapiens. Let's all work to make sure they all exist in a healthy manner for a very long time.