“The truth won’t set us free — until we develop the skills and the habit and the talent and the moral courage to use it.” ” We badly need people who are willing and able to speak out about problems they see and worries they have about the places where they live and where they work. The greatest disasters in our history are rarely secret or hidden. They’re right out in the open where everyone can see them — and everyone could do something about them. Before it’s too late.” Margaret Heffernan, Entrepreneur, CEO, Author
“The world is run by one million evil men, ten million stupid men, and a hundred million cowards,” . . . “And the hundred million cowards” . . . “they are the bureaucrats and paper shufflers and pen-pushers who permit the rule of evil men, and look the other way. They are the head of this department, and the secretary of that committee, and the president of the other association. They are the managers, officials, and mayors, and officers of the court. They always defend themselves by saying that they are just following orders, or just doing their job, and it’s nothing personal, and if they don’t do it someone else surely will. They are the hundred million cowards who know what is going on, but say nothing, while they sign the paper that puts one man before the firing squad, or condemns one million men to the slower death of famine.” Gregory David Roberts, from the novel “Shantaram”
Fear and desire rule us, motivate us, and imprison us almost from start to finish. Fear abounds when we pursue an image-based self that can never have any stability. Will our insecurity be found out? The images never really stay the same and need constant attention. Deferred maintenance can trigger depression and anxiety. Our fellow human beings also, are tied into this falseness and the rush to nowhere permanent or fulfilling, is a race we run everyday. But where are we going? We think we are on the right path because everyone else seems to be on it as well.
We accumulate goods and display our pieces of gold as if they confer the status we ‘think’ we seek. There is this compliance of desperation to nowhere, where fulfillment is promised but not achieved. But more insidious than the pointlessness of all that activity, is the underlying premise. We are not good enough. We have to get more stuff, get more done, achieve more status, outpace our neighbors and impress our friends. We have reduced ourselves to rats in a maze. Our souls are sold cheaply and our integrity is convenient. What have we done? Where have we gone?
When we try to be who we already are, we immediately defeat ourselves at the very start. The ‘pushing’ towards fulfillment, happiness, contentment, is a direct ‘pushing’ away from what already Is. When we do not see the Way, we start looking outside of ourselves. The Way Is an inside job that is already done. The ‘me’ is always pushing because that is how the ‘me’ is defined. Without ‘pushing’, ‘me’ vaporizes. “Me’ or the ‘I’ness, is the artificial separation of self. It is the root and subsequent denial of who we really are. All this occurs outside of the true Moment. It abides in the false reality of past or future.
But why do we limit ourselves to a reduced frequency of Oneness? We are not able to ‘let’ go enough to ‘Be’ any further, depending on the degree of holding on to what we ‘think’ we can afford. This sticking point is still the remnant of the false self and it’s limitations. The false self compares and judges and contracts “What Is”, with the modality of thoughts. Love and compassion cannot fully flow when the restriction starts and ends with the false self.
We say, “I can only do so much and my family is first. This I will do, but no further.” The holy grail of mentioning ‘family’, is our get out of Seeing and continue living blindly ‘card’. We appeal to our guilt to provide for a standard of minimal commitment to our fictitious self-interests, while ‘copping out’ on the gross global separation, we just threw under the bus. This separateness is inorganic and does a disservice to the unity inherent in the diversity of life itself. It is not nuanced, is grossly popular, and undermines and polarizes us into a paleolithic existence (sorry troglodytes).
The challenge is a liberation from egoic living, not a monastic abandonment of responsibilities. The opacity of this egoic-thinking should be a clue to it’s corrosiveness of goodwill to all humankind. The argument contends mutually exclusive outcomes. “I can’t let go because I have to provide for my family.” “My commitment will diminish if I let go of this dear attachment.” “Everyone else can fend for themselves.” Such sacred cows!? What is abandoned in the above example, is the ability to see the artificial separateness and the obfuscation of Reality. If we stop clinging to ‘things’, ideas, projections, we may feel as if we are trading in for a lesser vehicle and the fear, that ‘everything’ will be downgraded and eventually lost. This is the delusion. As we evolve, our responsibility becomes more dharmic not less.
The Truth is not to be found by talking about It. It is found by walking the proverbial path in a ‘real’ way. The individual beacons of civilization that are still esteemed today, for millennia, were individuals who saw beyond their little domains. We can call them saints, seers, masters, gurus, and enlightened bodhisattvas. Likewise, the selflessness of a good mother is not derided because she is unconditional in her love, yet we still argue for selfishness for ourselves and the justification of our egoic reactions. We may falsely conclude, that the noble residue and positive influence of saints, seers, selfless ones, iconoclasts (e.g. Joan Of Arc), and incarnations of light, is an unreachable goal. We may think we are just an unworthy common individual. Realization is seeing the unity in the diversity, not the prevailing view of separateness.
“Willful Blindness” (a la Margaret Heffernan), is an option for approaching change on our paths in our particular lives. Heffernan estimates that only about 15% of us would not go along with the revelations of systemic failures that reach our desk in our jobs. Most of us (85%), will blindly follow the herd, ending up like lemmings with little understanding of what had actually happened. We would possibly react with: “I don’t know what I did that was wrong. Everyone else seemed to think it was fine.”
Heffernan states that change can begin at any level. Not just at the top. As a matter of fact, families, corporations, governments and countries, all have vulnerabilities that are exploited by our collective silence. Child abuse, pay-to-play, ethics, various forms of abuse, and even denying and lying about torture and extra-judicial killing, plagues all of us. Everyone has an ability to input unspoken considerations, e.g. bad news; up the chain of command. The villains in our society would not have caused so much harm and disharmony if someone in their midst, would have spoken up sooner than later. And more often than not, it is the meter reader who was not professionally trained, the mother who did not have the best access, the secretary who had her little job to lose, that paves the way for profound change to take place, by challenging the false premise of going along, because everyone else has institutionalized the behavior.
All this is to say that we all have a clear responsibility to protect the dharma i.e. a duty to act on adharmic behavior that is in our purview and is not being regulated appropriately. When we interact with organizations to include our own families, we have a responsibility to speak out when we see injustices. Additionally, we have an equal responsibility to address ourselves, in particular, our own disparities of character. We have our own personal dharma to clearly see the consequences of our behavior, to ideally cause as little harm as possible. This is always a good starting point before we begin cleaning someone else’s house.
When we can speak up with a greater level of awareness and compassion for our own and others’ miseries, perceptions, and erroneous conclusions of spiritual shortcomings, we can better bring the clarity of Being and light beyond our little selves. When we start with the misidentification of who we are, our prurient interests may take over our intentions and dharmic causes. Adding the trance of our unconsciousness to the general malaise of the world, we can get overwhelmed with the task of our own evolution.
To break out of our own disempowering belief systems first, allows a boldness to move through the institutional sticking points that have evaded others. When we stop defining ourselves through amorphous images and vacuous thoughts, we access a greater amount of the fullness of the Universe. The level of contraction of the ego from Awareness, proportionately allows/disallows a proportional access to the fullness of Being. Evolving ourselves isevolving the whole community of humanity. The differences fade and the realization is made that ‘you’ are ‘me’. Separateness is now an old dualistic paradigm. The collective consciousness is now empowered. Now literally everyone has standing to Be. Our interests become everyone’s interest due to no separation.
The Real Get is the allowance of more and more light to stream through the cracks we see in the facade of what we ’think’. Taking the example of a salt shaker, the screw-on cover is full of small holes. The salt can only stream relative to the allowance of the size of the holes. Analogous to the salt, the Light can only stream through us to the degree we have not restricted the output. Expanding the stream of consciousness is removing our obfuscation of the fictitious self. In other words, by opening the holes to the point where the cover is completely blown off, we have enlightenment. This level of ‘no restriction’ is having no over-clocking mind, no false self, no nagging desires, and no errant and dominating thoughts, to impede the Oneness we are always, anyway.
Walking the path is taking and utilizing the gift of the Moment right now. There are no lines, there is no waiting, the Moment is Now. Waiting, is waiting for struggle. Our Moment is Now because we are good enough without any added content whatsoever, unless we ’think’ we need something else. Adding time to the Eternal Now is ridiculous. Following the Dharma, is being the Dharma.
The gift of the Moment is Us, both plural and singular.