A lovely mid-summer day. Here by the bay we are pleasantly warm as opposed to hot, a condition I much appreciate. Our van is in the shop for servicing; in its absence I took the e-trike for a spin around the neighborhood which is abloom with June flowers. Just lovely.
Sometimes I get stuck fretting about the sheer meanness of folks. Of course, this is not very useful and always threatens to be a very deep rabbit hole.
The simple truth is that human nature is frequently unpleasant and often nasty. More accurately, our nature is a complex mixture of kindness, love, passion, avarice and wild territoriality. Most of our collective religious teachings try to address these attributes and curb our most dangerous impulses. Still, often individuals and groups act out in ways that are incongruous and near incomprehensibility.
I am reminded of a brilliant line from Tom Lehrer that goes something like, “Now I know there are those who do not love their fellow men and I hate people like that.”
Most of us hold multiple points of view about pretty much everything, frames based on our perceptive and cognitive perspectives from different ages, so, yes, we do fear, desire, love, and hate at the same time. It’s enough to set one’s head spinning.
Hopefully a healthy concern about consequences, if not some empathy, aids us in curtailing our worst impulses. The problem is, way too often these intense emotions get entangled in ideology, we lose any semblance of thoughtfulness, and events take on a life of their own. Only after much harm is done do we awaken from the dream and wonder what happened to us.
From a shamanic perspective there is also the problem of energy beings adding fuel to the proverbial fire in order to get their needs met. When this occurs events quickly escalate out of control, creating a kind of feeding frenzy for our emotions and those ravenous energy beings. This can happen in relationships, familes, communities and nations. None of us are immune and it takes much effort to resist the pull to turmoil.
I wonder about the power of ideology, religion, and the spirits and energy beings to either aid us in being thoughtful and kind, or embroil us in the worst of nightmares. I also wonder how sometimes we are able to risk harm and resist the pull of those chaotic dreams; then maybe miracles happen.
Today I am aware of the teenager I was, the one who wants to go out into the world and vanquish unjustness and evil. The elder within me knows things are complex and real change requires intention and action from many people, knows we can only do what we are able no matter how much we want to do more. The inner artist wants to live in creativity and build bridges. At times it seems as difficult to find common ground between the first two as between factions out in the “real” world.
I’m glad the teen keeps reminding me to dream big, have courage, and care deeply about the world. I’m pleased the elder tries to think things through and reminds me to remember there are limits to what anyone can do alone. The teen brings energy and passion to life while the elder knows he has limited time and energy; both want to build relationships that encourage and support a good dream. Maybe that is a place they can meet, eh? Maybe the artist within can help.