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4:29 pm in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

What's The Rush ?

What’s The Rush ? – Flicker Creative Commons
Wisdom is to see that there is nothing to search for. If you live with a difficult person, that’s nirvana. Perfect. If you’re miserable, that’s it. And I’m not saying to be passive, not to take action; then you would be trying to hold nirvana as a fixed state. It’s never fixed, but always changing. There is no implication of ‘doing nothing.’ But deeds done that are born of this understanding are free of anger and judgment. No expectation, just pure and compassionate action.- Charlotte Joko Beck died last year at the age of 94.

She was the head of the San Diego ZEN Center and then began her own school of ZEN practice. The Ordinary Mind School.

My introduction to ZEN came from reading her books. Everyday ZEN and Nothing Special. I started to read them when I was in therapy.  What surprised me the most is the message that I got from them was exactly the same one I was getting from my therapist.  That what I needed to change the most was my attitude. The way I looked at the world.

Change…we all look for it but the mistake we make the most often is wanting other people or other places or other situations to change.  Rarely do we want to change ourselves. We want reality to change so we can be comfortable in it. So we change jobs, location, relationships, cars, houses and on and on.

We don’t want to change ourselves. So we blame and point fingers and explain how our misery and misfortune is always someone else’s fault and we had no part in it. But as anyone who has attended any 12 Step groups for any length of time can tell you, we always have a part. Or as a well know AA saying goes, “If you have a problem and you cannot find a solution to the problem – you maybe the problem.”

I love Google maps. Especially Street view. For someone who gets lost easily, it gives me a way to check out the area before I go there and get some land marks.  You can even use it with some foreign countries.  I have been using it to get a look at central France. It’s only on a few of the more major roads and streets on the smaller towns and cities. But is kind of cool to cruse from my desk top.

I think I would like to actually go there sometime but it is not now my reality. My reality is where I am living now. I have particular things I need to deal with here and changing where I am – even for a short period of time – will not change that. These are here and now my teaching moments.

I look at the houses and shops and buildings on the Av. Du President Wilson in Reully Centre France and they are exactly the way they should be. And my life here is the way it should be.

Here is the catch. In order to be able for me to make any changes, take any action without anger or judgement, I must first accept and own my current situation.  This is not a repression of ones emotional state but the total acceptance of it and learning from it.

We put so much time and energy and resources into trying avoid and change reality. Just think what we could do if we instead accepted our reality and put this time and energy into improving our and everyone else’s situation. Our uncomfortableness and disappointments and our pain and our misery are our life lessons.

OWS: To Change the Country, We Just Might Have to Change Ourselves

8:29 am in Uncategorized by cmaukonen

A Lot Of Lightbulbs (Photo: b-tal, flickr)

A Lot Of Lightbulbs (Photo: b-tal, flickr)

There is an old Light Bulb Joke that goes “How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb ? A: One. But it really has to want to change.”  Don Hazen in this Alternet article points out why we – as progressives – have not been very (it at all) successful at getting the change we need.  And why we need to learn rather than preach to OWS. To be the disciple.

For decades, we progressive Boomers (I am one) and Gen Xers have continued doing things the way we always have, believing that if we only organized a little better, raised more money, were a little smarter, tweaked the message just so, success would be ours. But we could not discover how to make a dent in the political hegemony of banks and corporations, in the political corruption, in unjust laws that protect the powerful. Life in the social and economic realms has declined over the past decades — for the working class, poor people, people of color, students, and increasingly the middle class. Meanwhile, more and more corporate money is invested to game the system. The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United was the last nail in the coffin, giving yet more influence over our “democracy” to the 1 percent.

Oh we have tried working within the system using the system’s rule and failed. There were also those who insisted on tearing the system down and replacing it. But this would be akin to an alcoholic blowing up every bar in town in order to get sober. Only to build another one themselves and continue to get drunk.

While millions suffer with joblessness, underwater mortgages and student debt, many in the progressive establishment are well-paid and thriving, fighting a battle on many fronts that it seems we are doomed to continue to lose. Why? Perhaps it is because our system and way of doing things mirrors the oppressive system in many ways. There is nothing revolutionary about movement professionals trying to negotiate with the Obama administration to tweak one policy or another. Or spending time convincing Americans to sign another petition or offer financial support — things I personally promote, so I do not write this from a place of any superiority, nor do I have an immediate clear idea of how to change it, except that we must try.

This is the heart of the matter.  That for change to occur we ourselves have to change. Read the rest of this entry →