As They Are, Judgements, and Lebrón Brothers
Call upon the wisdom within, dear friend. Take things as they are. This is the essence of the wisdom traditions from all over the world. Pared down. No frills. No pomp or pageantry. Devoid of metaphysical, or mystical, or mythical language. Without the concepts that are so laden with baggage, and suffering, and human created schemes of separateness, what exists is wordless and complete. Yet human beings are compelled to struggle, against our own best interest, to divorce ourselves from the cosmic forces from whence we came. The fabric with which we bind ourselves to struggle, the sages say, is ignorance. Rest assured, though, that our bondage is temporary, is not who we are, and is also what will ultimately deliver us from struggle into peace. The grave challenges of our time are an ever-present reality for some, or a backdrop for others, but we are all immersed in the same collective atmosphere. Technically speaking, anyone that believes that their life is immune to the collective social, political, economic, or environmental conditions is completely deluded. We are all living on the same tiny speck of stardust whirling around boundless space in a galaxy among countless others. Whatever effects one small sliver of this planet's population, be they human or otherwise, impacts us all. Our current world health condition is evidence enough that borders, names, and languages mean nothing to the forces of nature to which we are all bound. Metaphorically speaking, the cosmic container that houses all of existence has room for everything, is not capable of wasting anything, and is organized in a way that is beyond the scrutiny of human intelligence. Humanity, like every wisp of multi-dimensional string that makes up the web of interrelated subatomic and galactic forces, is just another piece of the furniture in the cosmos. There is nothing particularly extraordinary or remarkable that distinctly separates us from every other arrangement of particles or waves (depending on who is watching). It is the dogged insistence that any thoughts, feelings, or ideas we have about existence are accurate and beyond questioning that causes us to righteously believe our own stories. Granted, our stories are fairly useful; the story of how to make airplanes fly, or the story of how 0's and 1's can represent complex sets of information make our lives much more comfortable and less brutal. What is required is a keen awareness of when our judgment is accurate or just a reflection of our cultural, historical, or personal conditioning. Judgment in and of itself is absolutely vital to survival and cooperation with the world around us. For example, judging height, distance, or depth is essential for everyday activities like standing, walking, or sitting. We do those things "automatically" or without active awareness. Other judgments, like our self-assessment or how we categorize the worthiness or value of others, are clearly not so neutral. The distortion of judgments, both "positive" and "negative," creates a distance between self and other that denies both from experiencing the fullness of the deeper nature of existence that unites us all. Judgments often mask a need that is unexpressed or unacknowledged. Understanding what those needs are, how to meet them, and having the courage and vulnerability and humility to engage with them is a process of which we have very few cultural examples. Having those deeper needs met is of service to all being. Evaluating existence as though "I," personally, know how things should be, or "my" imagination of how things should be is more legitimate than what is actually happening is arrogance. That kind of arrogance is what has kept humanity stuck in a cycle of struggle after bloody struggle all over the world. We are the inheritors of survivors of awful periods in human history, and we have the chance to choose an alternative. As Sri Ramana Maharshi reminds us, no coercion or violence will help us live in tune with the principles that unite us and allow for us all to have our needs met. He says, "It will all come right in the end. There is a steady impulse of your determination that sets you on your feet again after every downfall and breakdown. Gradually all obstacles are overcome and your current becomes stronger. Everything comes right in the end. Steady determination is what is required." When we face the incomprehensible intelligence of the cosmos with humility, aware that every atom is exactly as it must be, and every moment is absolutely in perfect arrangement with the unwavering flow of time, we begin to recognize our own nature. There was a wisdom that was present that caused us to interact with life as though we needed to experience separateness. It is the same wisdom that caused us to harm each other which allows us to value and love each other. We are in an experience, within conditions that are so mysterious and complex, that we could not hope to fully comprehend. We have lived on this planet with the attitude of the lyrics that the Lebrón Brothers put in their lyrics: "Fight to survive. Gotta keep on pushing." Now we can choose to do more than Survive.