TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
— Howard Zinn
Some people have pointed to a combination of ignorance, groupthink and irrationality as the root issues causing humanity’s problems, and believe more rational and logical thinking will save us. The Latin roots of animus reveal insight into the model of the rational mind as our savior. It seems that the strong guiding hands of the intellect and logic of “Big Daddy” must save us once again. But in the roots of animus, along with “the mind,” “intellect” and “rational soul in man,” we also encounter the animus of hostile dislike and enmity of the displeased — “Big Daddy,” an avatar of animosity, vehemence and wrath, and the source of piercing logical intellect. Maybe this is part of the reason we seem to worship intelligence. But we have all seen the cold, calculating intellect and its sometimes reptilian, sterile precision. We have all witnessed the battles between feelings and facts, logic and love, and intellect and emotion. We have all noted masculine and feminine styles of command and control, versus communication and cooperation. Yet, for some reason we always turn to the animus, the rational soul in man, for the answers, and we say, “if our rational mind and intelligence cannot save us, what can?”
Rationality alone cannot save us, and believing it can is just another mind trap. We will never “think” our way out of our troubles. We are not solely rational, logical beings, and never will be. We are like cells in a large organism, and we receive and process messages in the same way which is observable in cellular biology. Each cell in the body is being bombarded with thousands of messages at once, from other cells near and far, instructing the cell to divide, not divide or to commit suicide (apoptosis). Similarly, we are also continuously receiving messages from other people through the media, and through our community and families, and we must intuitively synthesize all of this ambient information in order to make personal decisions. How does a couple decide to have a child? They read many messages from the economy and world politics, to their local family and community support, and innumerable other variables. This is very similar to a cell deciding to divide. This colloidal, dynamic and intuitive communication process is complex to the point of being almost magical. We have always used the term “magic” to describe any phenomenon that the intellect can not explain. That is why the individual process of decision making may seem like magic, since it involves all perceptive parts of our total being and is much more than the narrow, so-called rational and logical process.
It is very important to learn to listen to yourself. Where do you get your messages from, your own inner-guide and voice of reason, or Madison Avenue? Is your original voice even yours, or was it branded into your soul through commercials between cartoons? Who are you, really? We must stop allowing propagandists to manipulate our emotions; the steering wheel of our total being. As an organism, your inner-intelligence knows how to keep you safe. As a being of mysterious complexity, listening to the essence of natural messengers will lead you in the right direction, but you must squelch out any external noise, if you wish to hear the sublime voice of reason within. Do not think of this as “spiritual” if you have a problem with that concept or term; just recognize these complex communications as something beyond our complete understanding, beyond science, and beyond full description. We can call it natural or nature (deeply connected to nurture), or we can simply call it being. How many times have you wished you would have listened to your intuition and inner voice? Do not let words, logic, and reason get in the way of your reliance upon this amazing inner awareness. There is enormous power and wisdom in intuition, and in simple, natural beingness.
The intuitive spirit-nature we all possess is a beautiful gift, but too often that gift is suppressed. In many ways people have been denatured and lost that magnificent gift. In the physical realm, the best athletes do not rely solely on knowing all the different technical aspects of their game. While technical knowledge is useful, it is only a small part of a true master’s brilliance. The master of any craft is first a master of self, cooperating with innate intelligence within. They detach themselves from the rote instructions and trust in instincts to emerge naturally to carry them forward to excellence. That is why you cannot create a champion athlete. All you can do is free the person to access their own innate potential. Knowledge works the same way. We already have everything that we need to know in our intuition and our instincts. It is pointless trying to absorb all the knowledge in the world. That is partly because we do not need so much of it, and partly because we can never achieve knowing everything in our lifetime. What we do need is to be open to what we already have within us.
Knowledge can be useful as a tool and reference point, but only as a beginning of a greater journey to something so much bigger, and yet so much more simple and liberating. People who seek after knowledge for knowledge’s sake become trapped in a process where the means becomes the end. That is so sad. They are like a crippled Beethoven forever learning how to compose, instead of simply writing down the beautiful music that is written into the fabric of their souls already. People like that become seekers for seeking’s sake, and they seldom experience the joy of knowledge as a state of consciousness. Instead, they spend their lives trying to learn everything that exists beyond them, in the hope of finding the truth that already lies within. This is the battle between the cunning human mind and the quiet, intuitive inner-self. Connecting with essential truth and knowing oneself is the only way. Surrender is the path to freedom through our unique authenticity, where we experience the flow of life not through the narrow lens of the mind, but through the vast refuge of the heart. As Joseph Campbell said, “follow your bliss.” This concept speaks to the ultimate path as humility and surrender. Nothing else is needed. Freedom is the realization that it is sufficient to simply be a human being.
The answer to so many of our problems is simple balance. The answer is intelligent compassion. The answer is love. The self-revolution of greater individual consciousness is the absolute path to humanity’s next great step forward. All revolution begins with self. How can you create something pure, when you are yourself an unnatural creation? True creation requires authority and authenticity. When you are not free, you are not creating; you are being created. If you are a creation of conditioning, then part of your new creations really comes from what created you. So, in this sense, revolution is really about a personal revolution of consciousness
If you want to be successful at anything you do, it will help you to first be a successful human. Since human life is a social life, becoming a successful human means being there for other people. No time is better spent than that spent in the service of your fellow man. We are here to spend ourselves on others; for each person is a great treasure. Success does not just mean happiness, success means doing the right thing — and this ultimately leads to happiness. The rewards of doing the right thing are usually much deeper and painful. The greatest happiness comes from feeling and expressing our love for other people, and particularly our families. If you think about it, we love most those who we serve most, whether it be children, employees, friends or our communities. And this means that we can bring about a greater love for one another, though a life of simple, but meaningful service.
There is a great indelible interconnectedness of humanity. When we fail our friends and neighbors, and even the stranger down the way, through our vanity, selfishness, greed, envy, fear, indifference, or complacency, something dies in us all. When we fail to even know about, or acknowledge someone’s suffering, which is in obvious sight, much less attempt to ease it, the world is made a darker place. The failure of that individual to act represents an atomic failure of humanity itself. The world markets of optimism and hope can plummet because of the actions or inactions of a single person. The upside to this is that the good works of even one person can represent the whole of humanity’s triumph through that sole heroic act. In reality, one person can make a difference, and a difference that can move through the masses as a seismic wave, transforming an entire ethos overnight. Look at the enormous impact the frail-bodied Gandhi had on two violently clashing cultures, with his simple spiritual exercises of defiance, selflessness, loving other people and valuing human life. And that was even without the power of media to move his ideas around quickly. Like a cultural or emotional butterfly effect, one person really can make a difference. Each person is the revolution.
There are many types of currency, not the least of which is a system of emotional and trust economics that govern societies, both primitive and modern. These economics govern every relationship, whether it be between individuals or nations. In fact, money as we know it does not really exist. Money is a thought-form. Money is just a piece of paper, and outside of our dynamic and collective consent it has no value beyond the value of the paper it is printed on. The only reason money has value is because we all agree that it does. So, ironically, money could be seen as a placeholder for trust. We trust that when we go to redeem that worthless piece of paper (or its digital representation in an account) the recipient will honor its value with real-world goods and services at a fair exchange. In a relationship, when trust is lost, everything is lost. We are all in a relationship with one another. We can become emotionally bankrupt, or even in debt. And this is why it is important that we invest in people with our personal currency of service, restoring those whose personal accounts of hope and optimism are low. There are so many people in need, who are quietly hovering near the abysmal edges of emotional bankruptcy. Life is dynamic, and it can be ugly. Thomas Hobbes wrote in Leviathan that life was, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” And Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden that, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Too many people are living those lives of quiet desperation. This is one of the reasons so many people anesthetize themselves with a never-ending, gluttonous consumption of mass entertainment, television, technology and fruitless consumerism. The rise of technology, corporatism and consumerism has slowly smothered out a way of relating to the world that seems to be almost lost forever — analogue and in-person. Along with the rise of technology has come a very strange arrogance. There are so many disillusioned and disconnected people out there prancing around because of the powerful technology they use, but what do they really use it for? We have all these shiny, almost magical things, but are we really happier, or wiser? While much of the technology we are senselessly addicted to promises us greater connectedness, people are more isolated, disconnected and lonely, than ever before in history.
People feel more and more insignificant, cut-off and powerless than ever before. We are buried in a mountain of information, technology, gadgets, goods and manufactured complexities. We are lost and rendered nearly invisible in a digital snowstorm of super-connectivity. It is a form of anonymity through mass-connection. True community has been nearly eviscerated, and a tactile-less mockery of community has been put in its place. Houses and apartments have become cubical prison-tombs, where millions of screen-irradiated mummies hide from the sunlight, nature, and genuine social interaction. People have social anxiety because of their lack of experience relating to humans in person. At airports and restaurants people eat alone, and strangers seldom talk. Everyone is texting, emailing, rushing, surfing and being connection-entertained with social media, and yet somehow, we are tragically ALONE.
Absent the vital lessons attained through simple face-to-face community interactions, and tainted by the identity propaganda being mass-ejected out of the media weapons for the highest bidders, people soon become observers of life rather than participants. They begin seeing the “good life” as something to attain through goods, services, and external providers, and forget that the so-called Kingdom of Heaven is within. It is almost as though people are suffering from dissociative personality disorder, where the constructed consumer-self has no close relationships, except with need providers. Even our life partners can become just another external need provider. Modern consumer life is like a mass dissociative disorder which prevents people from experiencing essential truth, real-life community, universal rites of passage and even an acceptable and reasonable death. Consumer life is essentially a social psychology framework, which seeks to keep your consciousness plugged into their head-end of ideals and created needs, for profit. The result of this assault is a growing culture of fear-subdued, disconnected, isolated and mass-distracted people who feel powerless.
Giving yourself is the ultimate revolution!
Most people do not isolate and anesthetize themselves because they are happily living life; they participate in this self-abuse because they are hiding from life. They are trying to fill an emptiness within. If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in poor company, and many people are poor in the deepest and most internal sense. They will do anything to avoid being left alone with their thoughts, being left alone to Thoreau’s quiet desperation, or worn down by the unforgiving and brutish world described by Hobbes. They are teetering on emotional bankruptcy and, though they do not realize it, they are living with the haunting but quiet realization that they are not answering the calls for help from those in need. They have a nagging feeling that they have not yet experienced all of what life has to offer. They want more in their relationships; more money and more success. They try to force these things, and when they do not materialize, they become negative and pessimistic. The harder they try, the further away the things they want seem to move. They do not realize that all success comes through other people. It can seem counterintuitive when you learn that you get most things in life not by taking, but by giving. Giving is the key to all success in all applications of human life. The act of true giving is indistinguishable from receiving. Giving yourself is the ultimate revolution! Giving is not a physical action; giving is a philosophy, and a way of living life. There are endless opportunities to give the smallest things that cost us nothing, but have great value to other people. Money and time are not the only things we can give. We can give others appreciation, patience, compassion, courtesy, kindness, dependability, friendship, forgiveness, gratitude, honesty, loyalty, respect, tolerance and, of course — love.
Courtesy is such a powerful and amazing gift to give. Courtesy is a silver lining around the dark clouds of civilization; it is the best part of refinement and, in many ways, an art of heroic beauty in the vast gallery of man’s cruelty and baseness. Good manners are appreciated as much as bad manners are abhorred, and a polite enemy is just as difficult to discredit, as a rude friend is to protect. Mastering courtesy alone will enhance your life and the lives of others. We can give a tired clerk a kind and understanding glance. We can give a frustrated driver a spot in line on the road. We can give a hopeful passerby a kind smile and wave. We can speak to people at all stations of life with respectful and polite words and tones. We can wait with one item in the grocery line behind someone with a full cart with a gentle smile, and body language that makes their day better. When we want to talk, we can instead listen, and let our attentiveness to another’s need to speak be our silent statement. All of these simple but powerful gifts have immense value to the person receiving them, and all are examples of an overarching philosophy of giving and service that we can each apply in our lives every day. Simply by thinking about something other than ourselves, and by monitoring our behaviors with a pure and selfless intent of making the lives of other people better, we have the privileged opportunity to change them for the better.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have a debt to the society in which we live. If we want to succeed in society at anything, we must first pay our debt to society. But here is the most important part; our debt never ends. We must pay it each and every day for the rest of our lives. Once you realize this, no matter your philosophical or religious framework, whether it be the golden rule of Christianity, the view of biochemical inducement of self-preservation through the sociological laws of reciprocity, the “Mystical Law” of Karma (the universal law of ethical causation), Confucian Shu reciprocity, good old horse sense of the law of the harvest, or any other world-view construct of the same concept, life will start working for you rather than against you. Life has a way of shining on people who stand in the sunshine of kind actions. But you can’t fake it. It has to come from the heart, with a true spirit of giving and selflessness. A talent is no talent, unless it is used for the benefit of other people. Even if you consider your talents a blessing, they may work against you if you do not properly use your precious gifts for the benefit of others. For a moment in this brief existence, we have the privilege to share time with other people, and serve them and their needs. The greatest joys in life are found not only in what we do and feel, but also in our quiet hopes and labors for others. The trees which are pruned, watered and nurtured by caring hands bear the greatest fruits; it is the same with people. It is critical to know that service heals the recipient and the giver. If you have not been served personally by caring hands in your own life, do not be bitter, but instead, ask yourself who you can now serve. If you have had some tough times in life, now more than ever is the time to make someone else’s life better. Reject the role of the victim and become the healer and teacher. How we treat other people changes them, but even more so, how we treat other people changes us. This is the wondrous gift of giving; through this act, we receive an important part of our own identity. A person is defined by their actions and intent, and being social creatures, outside of our own useless self-image, the only proof that we exist resides in the minds of other people we change with our actions. So, ask yourself, “How do I change people?” Seek to change people for the better, and and have your existence proved by the raised hands of the people you have served, who will say without doubt that you have cared.
To be of value to us all, our highest ideals need to be made real in the world. We should speak to protect the ideals of goodness, and act to make them real in the world. The first proves a consummate mind, the second a valorous heart. True progress for humanity is anything that takes us closer to supporting one another. Small acts of kindness between you and the individuals around you are the germination that springs into being something as mysterious as life itself, and what may in fact be humanity’s greatest accomplishment — compassion for others. Let us all strive to cultivate a deeper and more meaningful desire to ease the burdens of others. Every person is a precious gift, and we are all like little children who yearn for acceptance, safety, and unconditional love. Let us all reach out with a hope that we could each bring some degree of happiness to other human beings. Let each of us lead a revolution of support in the lives of others.
Many people are now sensing that something important is happening in the world. People are talking, and they “feel” something; they are picking up on something they cannot articulate, but they know it is there. Let’s define it before it gets here. Let us enjoin our energy with the good-spirited people around the world in our deepest and most sincere desire to share our own unique gifts, where our greatest achievements are counted as the simple acts that touch, heal and elevate the world for the greater good of all.
Declaring our intentions for a safer and kinder world
Declaring our intentions for a safer and kinder world is the obvious first step toward attaining those goals. Every journey begins with the first step of articulating the intention, and then becoming the intention. We may not be able to change the world overnight, and there is no need for fantasies of creating a utopia, but have faith that we can make some difference in the lives of others. It is possible to advance together, and no matter how slight that advancement is, it will be a resounding triumph for humanity! What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? As Victor Hugo once wrote, “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” The time is each moment called now. Every life is precious. Let us subdue the ravages of the baser-self, and aspire to the higher calling of exalting joy through compassion, for that is the one true purpose of humanity. The change is as simple as changing your mind, and upon that intent the course is set. Start with yourself, and focus on your desires. You cannot change another person’s mind or educate them; this they must do themselves. Your own clear intention is what is important. Intention is the foundation of all inner and outer institutions of humanity. It is the basis of legal and judicial systems, all human contracts, and rests at the root of all innovation and progress.
Your intentions define you. People are more than just selfish response to stimuli. Many people have sacrificed themselves to fates that clearly were not based on self-interest by possessing intentions to serve something greater in scope than the self. Thus, deterministic or divine, intention is the seed-germ of all change, and can defy all environments. According to many theologians, the judgment of “the intentions of our hearts” by God, upon our very soul, is predicated upon our innermost intentions. According to philosophers and now even scientists, intention is the foundation of numerous quantum physical and metaphysical universal laws. Intention is the primary concern of all individuals, the collective, the state, and all judgements worldly and purportedly beyond. Prayer, meditation, mantra and affirmation are explicit forms of accessing the power of intention. In short, intention is the only pathway to the future we will likely ever know. We can use this powerful intention.
Many people feel powerless. But one freedom that no influence, power, city, state, government, group, consequence or intimidation can reach to gird, is a free soul’s ability to think, and consequently react to the situations of life. The elemental root of our thoughts, the underlying structure upon which our complex ideals and knowledge stands, is our basic intention. Propagandists, research scientists and consumer psychologists work steadily to pry into “black box” of free agency and thought, but thankfully free thought and the indomitable will of the individual have not yet been bridled, or entirely broken, and we still have relatively free minds, if we so choose. As individuals, it may seem we are not able to control or change the world, but through our willful intentions we may at least escape the culpability of our own complicit minds and hearts. When we oppose oppression, we lift our hands from the collective reins that empower such oppressions. We have the power to oppose, and therefore, not be party to what we see as injustice, even if we belong to a collective that perpetuates the injustice. This is the liberating and defining power of intention. Through our intentions, a place no power can influence, we have the power to oppose. The terrible atrocities in the world require more from each of us than a regret-filled acknowledgment they exist; they require our most earnest intentions be focused on their immediate eradication. To do this we must first have conscious awareness that it must change. Once our clear intention is set, and we no longer “accept,” we will in time begin to see the change the collective will creates. The one and only true freedom we ALL possess is what we think; and our intentions govern what we think.
We all feel that we cannot change the world alone, but as free thinking people we can express our intentions to not live in a world where some humans have, in fact, been reduced to nothing more than mere vessels of pain. We do not have to be victimized by the ugliness in the world any longer. An incubus of ignorance, fear, hunger, oppression and intolerance haunts large regions of the world, and we must have no delusions that we are immune. We must refuse to forget that we too are human, that we too are frail, that we all are subject to such miseries, and in time, we shall all be subject to frailty and suffering. But, we can take our power back, merely by acknowledging our power. Acknowledge that everything we have created in the world started as a tiny intention. We carry within us the enormity of possibility that gave birth to everything that has been made in the world. Let us now yearn for the possibility of building a happiness in every heart. Let us now build inward a new world of hope, a world of limitless possibilities for the children of tomorrow, where each soul can reach the heights of their potential to love and to be loved.
We have the power to set our intentions on the betterment of our world. The very “least” among us has the enormous power to effect change through small acts of determination and will. We can each immediately liberate ourselves as victims in the world, through solidifying an intent to act; intent to forgive; intent to love; intent to be caring, polite and empathetic. Then, with that clear intention set into motion through the simplest first actions, we will begin to liberate ourselves from victimization, thereby creating an entirely new perspective and future. It all starts with how you look at the world, and forgiveness and love are integral to the process of healing. There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. The conflicts we have with the outside world are often conflicts we have within ourselves. If you do not like a certain behavior in others, look within yourself to find the roots of what discomforts you. Every soul is beautiful and precious; is worthy of dignity and respect, and deserving of peace, joy and love. You will be a beautiful person, as long as you see the beauty in others. This is how you change everything. To have our needs met, to love, to be loved, to feel safe in this world and to each know our purpose, is a simple matter of creating those blessings for others. We have the power to choose these virtues, rather than choosing violence, rage, anger, revenge, greed and other base impulses of the lower-self. We may know our true purpose in life, because we may choose our purpose in life. Our purpose is to be there for one-another. Giving is the master key to success, in all applications of human life.
In each of us exists a gift which has blessed the world with hope time after time. Each person carries within their core the birthright of creative freedom, which, when organized and orchestrated, is the most awesome force on earth. It is a force that can send a human to the moon or send her voice around the world in an instant. It is a power that collectively has always, even after mistakes, re-centered, and inevitably fought for freedom and rights. It is that kernel of promise within each of us which we must harness and responsibly share. You begin by expressing your highest intentions and by declaring your purpose which will be — and is now at this very moment being fulfilled — to rise above any indifference, and irrevocably declare that you too have true, heartfelt compassion and empathy for all who suffer. Through our intentions, we shall stand erect, defiant and without shame, and declare that IT IS POSSIBLE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
The most powerful tools of revolution through intention are humility and consciousness. Humility and full consciousness are inseparable. Once you become fully conscious and self-aware, or awake, you are immediately humble. Only unconscious people, and “sleep-walkers,” who do not know themselves and what they really are can lack humility. True humility is greatness. Humility and greatness are not exclusive to one-another, but are fully compatible. Seek to be both great and good, through reclaiming your authenticity. The authentic human has the might of compassion and the creative power to do any manner of good. Humility is not weak. Not being great is a form of extreme arrogance, while being great is an act of true humility. It is arrogant to not be the great and marvelous being you were intended to be. It is supremely neglectful and insulting to the heart of creation to squander your divine birthright. It takes an act of absolute humility to accept the mantle of greatness, which was written into each of our destinies. All strength and greatness comes from humility. We must all be humble enough to be great, and to allow that greatness to carry us through hard times, to better days.
People are in desperate need of your belief in them, and your vision and will for betterment. Vast regions of the world are now human slaughter houses, where deserving and once bright and hopeful eyes, now stare blankly toward the last hiding places deep within. Each of these worthy souls have been robbed by poverty, fear and grotesque apathy. They exist as former humans, who should be delightfully moving through the sacrosanct journey of life with dignity, but are instead reduced to mere vessels of pain; they exist each relentless moment as vessels of pure misery. Cynicism is one of the terrible obstacles to progress. Please lay down your cynicism, and believe in the transformational power of love. Dare to believe that good things are possible when you follow your heart. Your oath and intention are so powerful. Your personal declaration of will is the first step in a seemingly impossible journey. Now is the time for all humble, good-spirited servants, who believe that through love the world can be transformed into a sanctuary of abundance for all, to work together. The time has come. The beginning of all change starts with your intention the very moment you choose to no longer accept the “reality” you see before you. Do not underestimate the power in an individual’s commitment to harness the power of their intention, which is a way for all people to be powerful. Express your intentions now, and become the powerful change the world needs to be healed.