just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

What’s Workin’ You?

Published on 16/10/11
by randy

This is a common phrase in Appalachia that gets more to the point than, “How you doing?”.  We usually answer the ‘doin’ question with an automatic affirmative response, even when we’re swimming in the negative.  ‘What’s working you’ gives an opening to really explore the current situation of your world.  Most of our responses may better be analyzed not from ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’, but from ‘peace’ vs. ‘restless’.  We could also respond from a sense of ‘being supported’ or ‘belonging’ vs. a sense of ‘not being supported’ or ‘alone’.  Given the accelerating nature of the universe, we all seem to be getting worked more now than we did in what appeared to be a stable time.  The platform seems less stable as uncertainty seems to grow.

I’m now in my ’60’s and what’s working me is much different than what was working me a few years ago.  I used to be very concerned about others’ good opinion of me.  I used to aim for more ‘stuff’, and I used to think success in life was about personal achievements and accumulation.  It seems more and more that my work is to cultivate gratitude for this gift of life, even in the face of an apparent lack of response from others.  It seems that intention to ‘not cause harm’ and ‘to reduce others’ suffering’ fosters a better sense of place, a deeper cultivation of belonging.

While the first ten years of life were about moving from nothing to a sense of somebody, this decade seems to beg a humble response as we learn to let go our need to be defined by others.  It’s a time to diminish the illusion of two, of me here and you there; a time to cultivate the felt sense of our Oneness, of our interdependence on one another outside notions of separateness.  It’s a time to cultivate a sense of grounding, of a Ground of Being, that’s always there, even in the most turbulent of times.  This is a time to once again visit the deeply curious mind, relishing the mystery.  This is what’s working me.

In America today it’s fascinating to watch the political contrasts. The Tea Party stands up to their perceived loss of freedom from what they think is a government grown too big. The Occupy Wall Street movement stands up to their perceived loss of freedom from what they think is private enterprise run amuck from lack of conscience.  Both sides would seem to agree that the system is broken, primarily from money’s influence in the political arena.  The Occupy Wall Street people are calling out greed, claiming the top 1% of the people who control 40% of the wealth of this country have invested heavily in their own self interests at the expense of the country and planet’s health.  Both would agree that it takes being in the 1% or heavy affiliation with that 1% to get elected, hence our broken system.

Abe Lincoln once noted that the Republican party was always known for taking better care of man and his money, noting that with conscience, man was always before money.  He also noted that the country’s demise would come from extremes in wealth distribution.  Today the bottom 80% control about 10% of the nation’s wealth.  Abe did credit the Republican party with always putting man before money, however.  Somewhere, this got lost.  Today, as we try to implement budget cuts at great harm to many of our citizens, we’re placing the power of money over the care of our citizenry.  More and more people are now against the wall with no hope.  When ‘life and death’ programs are called optional ‘entitlement’ programs, people’s survival skills kick in.  What was apathy turns to anger.  That’s what’s working a lot of folks around the world today.

So how do we move to a more ‘common sense’ approach?  How about by listening to each other to better determine what we have in common?  How about stopping the whine and exploring what we’d agree on for the health of one another?  How about exploring policies from ‘best for all, with harm to none’ intention rather than the heavily backed self interest lobbying that’s broken the system today?  How about diminishing the poisons of greed, fear and ignorance to our global interdependence, and increasing our generosity, gratitude, hope, faith, and compassion for one another?

The bottom 99% will never be able to ‘steal’ the wealth of the top 1%?  But can’t we compassionately explore their deeper suffering from hoarding wealth in full knowledge to the massive suffering in the world?  If we truly are here to ‘reduce suffering’, it’s no wonder we eventually meet deep pain as we end our time in these bodies, knowing our fear and greed kept us from loving others.  All spiritual traditions promote a life of moderation.  A simple life gives us more space to cultivate our ‘great fullness’ for what we have.  The more stuff we have to worry about, the less space we have.  It’s why those in third world countries smile much more than those in the top 1% of this country.

When we look at life as the pursuit of happiness, peace, and joy, we can see our grasping, restless mind is our biggest obstacle.  We’re heavily trained to feel thirsty for the next advertised thing, bombarded by advertisements through multiple media channels.  We’re told we can’t be at peace until we ‘achieve this thing’ or ‘purchase that thing’.  Yet, our happiness is grounded in cultivating appreciation for what’s been given rather than feeding our never-ending desire for what we’ve been trained to think we want.  Our lasting happiness is found in grounding to joy for the opportunity to just be.  It’s grounded in knowing we did what we could to not harm others.  We did what we could to alleviate the suffering of others.  We cultivated the truth of awareness to being each other.  We walked in humble confidence to the beat of our heart’s knowing, committed to show up, pay attention, tell the truth, and softly hold our vulnerability in not controlling the outcome.  Hopefully, we’ve come into our integrity, better knowing when to stand up, when to hold silence and when to step forward.

I think what’s really working us in our ‘knowing’ we’re all One, yet our acting like we’re two.  The upcoming 11/11/11 event is a symbolic reminder that we’re all One.  We can continue our dysfunctional ways or we can wake up to this.  It’s in hope, faith and love that I stand in gratitude to more and more of us waking up to this truth.  For effective leadership, we need those who live from One, outside the illusions of ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’.  We need leaders who can take the shift to collaboration, deeper listening, and momentum to a higher vibration.  Our political debates need to be turned to dialogs.  Our candidates need to be tested for active listening skill and for their understanding of all spiritual traditions.  We need to end the pointless rhetoric and violent persuasion and test our candidates with hypothetical situations. We need to know how they’d handle them based on their spiritual background and world view.  We need to explore their deeper wisdom.

Dysfunctional government run from the influence of money over people’s interests will eventually fall.  Corporations without a moral conscience, aimed solely at profit and pleasing shareholders, will eventually fall.  The health of our family, community, nation, and planet will depend upon our capacity to love one another as ourselves, to steward a deeper care for the impacts of our thoughts, words, emotions and actions.  If our policies and political rant clearly show potential to harm others, it’s time to pull back and cultivate deeper ground.  It’s time for our real spiritual leaders to call out the poisons of greed, self interest, fear, and the temptation to ignore our interdependence upon one another.  It’s time for us to all pause, to ask what we’re here for, and to let this be what’s really, really working us.

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